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Bulgarian Minister Accepts Lyulin Highway 20% Price Hike

Date: 05.03.2010

Bulgaria Minister of Regional Development Rosen Plevneliev has accepted that the price of the Lyulin Highway construction project will have to be increased.

Plevneliev estimated that "the increase in the cost of the Lyulin highway will be about 15-20%. We are fighting for every Lev," he stated in a television interview on Friday.

He explained that the Turkish consortium Mapa Cengiz, which is responsible for the construction, had submitted a list of 38 problem areas that had, according to them, contributed to delays in the project.

These included requests for additional funds because of changes in the geological studies of the terrain and the relocation of engineering networks.

The construction project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010, a target the contractors have stated will be met. Any delay beyond the deadline could see Bulgariato repay European funding committed to the project.

The Minister also revealed his estimates for other road projects for the year. A total of 50 kms of new highways would be completed in 2010, he said.

This includes the 19,2 kms of Lyulin Highway, and a further 32 kms of the Maritsa Highway.

Plevneliev stated that construction would begin of another 14 sections under the "Transit Roads 5" program, and another 22 under the Regional Development program, including major repairs to the Rish Pass, Balkan Mountains route that connects Shumen and Karnobat.

The Regional Development Minister repeated his wish for both his ministry and the Roads Infrastructure Agency to pay off their debts to construction companies by the end of March.

"For sure, I want to pay every Lev by the end of March. If there is any delay, then there will be advance payments to all. Any delay would be only a matter of days," he said. According to him, the outstanding obligations total some BGN 140-150 M.

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