Ersek: Presov Bypass Far Too Important for Any Gambles

Transport and Construction Minister Arpad Ersek

Bratislava, February 13 (TASR) – The opinion expressed by the Finance Ministry’s ‘Value for Money’ team of analysts regarding the approach to addressing traffic woes in Presov is immaterial at this point, said Transport and Construction Minister Arpad Ersek (Most-Hid) at a press conference in Bratislava on Monday.

This is because the preparation work for the city’s bypass is now in its final stages, said the minister. Consequently, a new tender or a change in the route of the planned bypass would cause delays. In addition, around €50 million has already been spent on land purchases and project work in order to enable the bypass to go ahead as planned.

“I can’t take any gambles now because it’s an important section … it’s part of the D1 motorway,” said Ersek. That said, the ministry will seek to slash the cost of the Presov West-Presov South bypass, which emerged from a tender and amounts to €356.3 million excluding VAT, by around 6 percent. The possible lower cost of the venture has been calculated by the Forensic Engineering Institute.

Ersek said that he’s asked the Institute and the consortium that is to build the stretch to meet with a view to making the projected savings a reality. The consortium includes Eurovia SK, Eurovia CS, Doprastav, Metrostav and Metrostav Slovakia.

An environmental impact assessment study of the project is being conducted, and the contract is yet to be signed.

Under current plans, the aforementioned 7.8-kilometre stretch should be built first, followed by a 15-kilometre section of the R4 expressway’s northern bypass worth a projected €535 million.

In a break with these plans, the ‘Value for Money’ team has sent a letter to President Andrej Kiska, proposing that as much as €400 million could be saved within a comprehensive approach to addressing the traffic situation in Presov. The savings would be achieved by building an eastern bypass for €280 million before a new four-lane road for €150 million at most across the city would be constructed.

According to Ersek, however, the city’s land use plan makes no mention of an eastern bypass. Opting for the eastern bypass route would result in a delay of eight-nine years.

In addition, delays are out of the question because the venture is partly covered by EU funds intended for the years up to 2020, said Ersek, adding that analyses such as the one carried out by the Finance Ministry’s analysts need to be conducted earlier.