Sibiu – Orăştie, Romania's “gift” for 2013

The motorway segment Sibiu-Orăştie, part of the Pan European motorway, will be finally built by the Austrian company Strabag for 166 million Euros. The 24 kilometers entrusted to the Austrian constructions company were a real apple of discord, due to the many contestations of the other bidders.

The works on this segment should have started last year but contestations against the National Company of Motorways and National roads, and implicitly Strabag, delayed them by a year. In this way it is estimated for the construction to be finalized in 2013. The new motorway is financed by the European Union, offering funds for the construction already since 2004.

The construction is of maximum importance for Europe, as it is part of the Pan European corridor IV, starting in Germany (Nürnberg) and transiting other European chief towns: Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, going on though Romania: Nădlac, Arad, Deva, Orăştie, Sibiu, Bucureşti, Feteşti and Constanţa. The motorway goes on up to Istanbul.


Seven million Euros for one kilometer


Works in Romania, on the other motorway segments, are in different stages of evolution, so the segment Bucureşti-Cernavodă is finalized and the segments Arad-Timişoara and Cernavodă-Constanţa are still in construction.

The part of the motorway from Orăştie to Sibiu is also some cheaper then the European Union initial estimation. If, in the first stage, the experts estimated one kilometer to cost 10 million Euros, in practice one kilometer costs only 7 million Euros.


Counselors for the motorway


Along with the European standards road, it seems that the motorway brings also other advantages. To start with, Strasbourg ascertained that the majority of workers will be Romanians, solving another problem in the area of Hunedoara: unemployment. So that the workers won’t waste time, and the constructions company will meet the dead-line, five companies were employed as “supervisors”, for 18 million Euros.

Their task is to counsel the Romanian State, as a beneficiary, in taking the best decisions related to the ongoing project. Employing such companies was not an initiative of the Romanian authorities but of the European Union, prescribing project managers and counselors in order to avoid additional expenses.

The measures taken by the Ministry of transports are legitimate, mostly by the size of the works, as the project is equipped with 21 bridges and passages. The most important bridge in this project is the one over Mureş, the largest in the country: 720 meters long. The road in construction brings another premiere: the first motorway tunnel in Romania.

Slightly more expensive then the viaduct initially projected, the tunnel is more “environmentally friendly”.

The segment bid by Strabag is particularly important as it is a railway junction in the area, to Orăştie, Simeria and Deva.


The motorway asks sacrifices: 160.000 m² cleared and 4.400 expropriated


Beyond linking neighboring cities, the motorway is likely to consider also the comfort of the inhabitants in the transited towns, therefore approximately 3 meters high photo absorbent boards will be installed and some areas will be reforested. Paradoxical or not, some areas are reforested while other, totaling more then 160.000 m² will be cleared.

As the forrest could not escape clearing, some homes and buildings could not stay in the way of the constructions either. More then 4.400 real estate, meaning over 725 hectares, were expropriated. To compensate owners, the Minsitry of Transports and Infrastructure, took 200 million RON out of the budgetary pocket.

Large amount, but insufficient, as the Ministry of Transports has barely maded it trough the scandal of constestations, but is facing the one of owners discontent for being offered less compensations then the actual value of the land owned. In the areas in question, the price of land is somwhere around 15 Euros for one square meter, and the State offers less then one Euro for one square meter.


Confort in traffic will be paid for


The State cannot, and will not, loose under any circumstances, so immediately after the motorway will be ready access will take place only after paying a tax. The National Motorway and National Roads Company cannot estimate yet the exact cost of a motorway ticket, this being a task for the JASPERS experts, whom are to decide what tax should be appropriate for Romanian motorways.

Despite taxes and long construction time, the Sibiu-Oraştie segment is advantageous for Romania for several reasons. The first would be macroeconomic: fluidization of traffic in the DN7 area, an extremely agglomerated road. This should generate a double benefit: drivers loose less time and commercial operations are faster.

Besides increasing comfort in traffic, the problem of unused or completely unproductive land in the transited areas is solved. Providing easy traffic leads to growing business in the area, infrastructure being a good way to attract new investors.