Ersek: Motorway from Bratislava to Kosice Might Be Completed by 2025

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Transport Minister Ersek on motorway construction (photo by TASR)

Motorway from Bratislava to Kosice might be completed by 2025, or by 2026, Transport and Construction Minister Arpad Ersek (Most-Hid) said on RTVS’s politics programme ‘Sobotne dialogy’ (Saturday Dialogues).

Opposition MP Eduard Heger (OLaNO-NOVA), who also appeared on the show, reminded Ersek of the fact although the 2020 deadline for completion of the motorway eastwards is included in the Government Manifesto, the 2023 deadline was recently mentioned.
Ersek said that construction of the Bratislava bypass is being blocked by 10 landowners.

“There is a need to say we have already bought out 99.5 percent of all plots of land that should be a part of R7 expressway and D4 motorway. As many as 11,000 contracts have already been signed. However, there is 10 people we are unable to agree with, since their claims are unacceptable to us with regards to contracts that have already been signed. For example, most people obtained €40 per a square meter, while the aforementioned 10 owners want €120 per a square meter,” said Ersek while explaining a need for legislative changes concerning land expropriation for highway construction that are being currently discussed within a fast-track legislative procedure in the Parliament.

Heger stated that the state pays too much in land buyout, since it is buying plots from their owners as ground plots, while these are mostly fields, i.e. plots of arable land. He noted that the land should have been bought out already by the end of 2015, anyway.

“A chaos is originating at the Transport Ministry, reminding me of the one with energy bills that Slovakia experienced in January,” underlined the Opposition MP, adding that responsibility should be drawn at the ministry for the chaos.

Meanwhile, Ersek maintains these are ground plots of land that are being bought out for the Bratislava bypass, as authorities are issuing construction permits on them.

Ersek said he is unable to guarantee that the government amendment to the law on one-off extraordinary measures in preparation of some highway construction sections won’t contradict the Constitution. Nevertheless, he tasked lawyers who participated in the amendment’s creation with preparing an amendment that “would be eventually passable by the Constitutional Court and would not violate ownership rights of citizens”.

The Transport Minister said that a lack of money for big investments, chiefly those in road and railway network, after the EU funds have been exhausted, is a reason for controlled changes in the debt brake’s setting.

Heger argued that the money for this network must be searched there where it is. He recommended Ersek to reduce preparatory work on all motorway sections in Slovakia, which would bring in a saving of about €1.5 billion. “Let’s limit the construction to important sections, which will release the money for it,” added Heger.