The Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic on Thursday published conclusions of an audit of the Prague ring road. The results say that the construction of the road section between the D1 motorway and Slivenec that should divert part of the traffic from the southern part of the capital city will be delayed by approximately four months. HN found out, moreover, that the price of the whole ring road will rise by about CZK 18 billion.
“Prices have been developing dynamically. They cannot be compared with the prices set years ago,” said the director of the Road and Motorway Directorate, Alfred Brunclík.
Like in poker
Only in February 2001 the Czech cabinet decided that the ring road will be completed by 2008 and that it will cost some CZK 39 billion. Four years later the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) said that the ring road will be finished only in 2012 and that it will cost CZK 47.5 billion. Still the same year the price estimate rose to 53 billion.
The Transport Ministry has now presented some more figures. The completion of the planned sections of the ring road will cost almost CZK 71 billion and nobody is able to say when this will happen, according to the schedule of planned roads and railways that the government has modified in reaction to the financial crisis.
There is no money earmarked for the sections connecting the Brno and Hradec Králové motorways with the Mladá Boleslav road in 2010 and 2012, according to the cabinet plan. Not to mention the connection of the Ústí nad Labem and Slaný roads on the controversial route via Suchdol.
There are, moreover, other constructions in the Czech Republic that have gone up in prices. For example, two tunnels in Brno that should become part of the city ring road, were to cost CZK 5.5 billion. Now their price has risen to CZK 8.4 billion. The construction will be allegedly more expensive because of bad subsoil.
Also the Czech government’s National Economic Council (NERV) pointed out a few weeks ago that constructions financed from the state’s money are expensive. The economists used a Eurostat analysis comparing investments in private housing projects and public infrastructure commissions. The latter ones are by 62% more expensive than private orders.
People want expropriation
The delay in the construction of the southern part of the Prague ring road, which is one of the most important constructions in the country, is caused by complications in the purchase of lands from private owners, according to the Road and Motorway Directorate. “People want to be expropriated, because in that case they will get more money for their land. And that makes the whole process even longer. “We had to expropriate as many as 90% of land on the section no. 512 near the Brno motorway,” said Alfred Brunclík.
The new law on land expropriation that permitted construction even on lands that were the subject of legal disputes was to remedy the situation. Nevertheless, the lower house scrapped it. Also the then Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil was against the bill. He warned that it might be in contradiction with the Charter of fundamental rights and basic freedoms.
Three more examples showing how deadlines and budgets are(not) met in the Czech Republic:
Shortly before the elections in 2002 Miloš Zeman’s cabinet commissioned the Israeli consortium Housing and Construction without calling a tender to build a motorway connecting D1 and Ostrava for CZK 125 billion. New Transport Minister Milan Šimonovský cancelled the commission saying that the road will be built in phases for a sum not exceeding CZK 50 billion and will be completed by the end of 2008. Two sections of the motorway are still missing, the last deadline for its completion was set for 2011 and its costs should not exceed CZK 70 billion.
Mrázovka tunnel in Prague
The construction of the tunnel connecting Prague’s Radlice with the Smíchov tunnel began in 1999 and originally was to cost CZK 4.3 billion. Its total price eventually climbed to CZK 7 billion.
Dobrovský’s tunnels in Brno
Two tunnels, whose length totals 2.5 kilometers, should become part of the city ring road in 2014. The consortium of companies comprising OHL ŽS, Metrostav and Subterra won the commission in 2006 with the offered price of CZK 5.5 billion. Now the Road and Motorway directorate expects final costs to reach CZK 8.4 billion.