A consortium led by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has won an international race to build the Peljesac bridge and its access roads, one of the largest infrastructure project in Croatian history.
The announcement was made by Croatian Roads, the client for the project, on Friday, 12 January. Other members of the consortium are three subsidiaries of China Communications Construction Company: CCCC Highway Consultants, CCCC Second Highway Engineering and CCCC Second Harbour Engineering.
The bridge will avoid detours into Bosnia (Creative Commons)
Croatian Roads said the decision was made on price. The Chinese team bid 2.6bn kuna including VAT, equal to about $431m.
The two other consortiums were led by Strabag of Austria, which bid 3.28bn kuna, roughly $544m, and a joint venture between Astaldi of Italy and IC Ictas of Turkey, which bid 3.19bn kuna, roughly $529m, local media reported (bid prices include VAT).
The 2.4km beam and cable-stayed bridge and its accompanying infrastructure has been declared a project of exceptional strategic importance for Croatia, because it will allow drivers to avoid a detour into Bosnia by connecting an isolated Croatian peninsula with the mainland. When complete, it will connect Split and Dubrovnik, and "greatly benefit tourism, trade and reinforce the territorial cohesion of the South Dalmatia region", according to the European Commission, which has allocated it €357m ($314m) in Cohesion Funds.
The scheme, which has been under discussion 20 years, attracted objections from Bosnia Herzegovina, which was concerned that it would restrict the size of ship entering Neum, its only seaport. As a result, the deck of the bridge was raised from 35m to 55m and the stanchions placed at least 200m apart.
Construction is expected to last 36 months.
Top image: A rendering of the completed project (Croatian Roads)
- Edited 24 January 2018 to standardise with-VAT bid prices.