Romania offers $450m to the contractor who’ll finish its road to nowhere

Romania’s National Company for Highways is looking for a contractor to finish the 60km section of the A3 Transylvanian highway that was left half finished by Bechtel last year.

I said this: let us close this contract, because obviously it does not work and is extremely expensive– Dan Sova, head of National Company for Highways

The American engineer had been engaged to complete a 415km road network that would run from the city of Bors near the north-western border with Hungary to the capital Bucharest in the south. Work began in 2007, but after continual revisions and renegotiations of the contract, the Romanian government paid about half of the contract sum of $3bn, mostly in penalties, for which it received 52km of finished, half-finished or barely begun motorway.

At present the A3 motorway is one of the most expensive roads in history, having cost the Romanian government $1.5bn for 52km of partially completed carriageway. However, the road it becomes in the south is even more bizarre: the Transfagarasan

Dan Sova, the head of the highways company told Romanian website Revista 22: "I had a meeting Bechtel and the American chargé d’affairs and  I explained that  the Romanian state had no money in the budget to even finish the Suplacu to Bors section, which would require an additional €250m ($340m) for 62 km to be done, in addition to the €250m we have already paid. I said this: let us close this contract, because obviously it does not work and it’s extremely expensive."

However, the national highways company last week offered to pay $450m to have the 60km section of the road completed between Suplacu and Bors. Contractors who are interested can submit their offers by 9 July. The road is to be finished two years after signing of the contract.

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