Romania abandons €1.4bn Carpathian motorway PPP

The government of Romania has abandoned a plan to procure a €1.4bn toll motorway over the Carpathian mountains through a public-private partnership (PPP) with a Turkish-Chinese consortium.

According to Romanian business news site, Prime minister Viorica Dancila said on Sunday that she would ask the Romania’s Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) to declare the highway to be a project of national importance, which would enable it to be built using public money.

She said she and colleagues decided to cancel the Ploiesti-BraÅŸov highway PPP in order to start work as soon as possible.
In March, a joint venture between China Communications Construction Company and Istanbul-based contractor Makyol emerged as the sole bidder for the 110km scheme (see Further reading).

The highway is intended to connect the popular mountain resorts in the Prahova Valley and Poiana Brasov. It would also provide an alternative for route over the Carpathians and better access between Bucharest to the European highway network.

Four other consortiums had expressed an interest in what would have been Romania’s first PPP project: a Chinese team made up of Sinohydro and Power China Roadbridge; ERG Insaat Ticaret of Turkey and Sauerwein & Schaefer Bau of Switzerland; Austria’s Strabag and IC Ictas of Turkey; and Spanish duo Acciona Concesiones and FCC.

The Spanish bid was eliminated, and the remaining three declined to make an offer.

The provision of motorways has become an increasingly politicised issue in Romania. In March, a fast-food entrepreneur funded a one-metre-long highway near the town of Suceava to protest against the absence of a modern road network in the northeast of the country.

Image: The A3 motorway connects Ploiesti with Bucharest (Razvan Socol/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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