Fico: D1-motorway Construction Shows How Much EU Benefits Slovakia

Prime Minister Robert Fico (stock photo by TASR)

Hricovske Podhradie, July 12 (TASR) – The construction of the Hricovske Podhradie-Lietavska Lucka (Zilina region) D1-motorway section is further proof of how beneficial EU membership is for Slovakia, said Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) following his visit to the construction site of a bridge in Hricovske Podhradie on Tuesday.

“This motorway section worth a total of €430 million has been practically covered by European funds, with the state having just a small cofinancing role. Around 500 people are currently working on the construction project, making it one with huge influence on Slovakia’s economic growth and employment. I feel pleasure from the fact that the construction project as a whole, i.e. 11.3 kilometres, is proceeding within the scheduled time limit. We expect this section to be put in operation in 2018. Some geological hurdles might still surprise us, but construction developers are able to inform us in time concerning what yet needs to be done,” said Fico, praising construction workers who work on the sections in all weathers.

Construction project chief Rudolf Kimerling said that the bridge visited by Fico on Tuesday is 810 kilometres long. “It’s made up of two parts. Ejection technology is being used for building the first one, which is 510 kilometres long. Ejection technology is a special technology used for building bridges over rivers, railways and roads without traffic limitations,” added Kimerling.

The building work on the Hricovske Podhradie-Lietavska Lucka D1-motorway stretch includes 11 bridges and two tunnels – Ovciarsko (2,367 metres) and Zilina (687 metres). The stretch is being constructed by a consortium called ‘Ovciarsko’ made up of Doprastav, Strabag, Vahostav-SK and Metrostav. The cost of the construction work is €427 million. The work will take around nine months longer than expected due to problems in boring out the Zilina tunnel, said National Highway Company (NDS) general director Robert Auxt.

“The southern tube of the Ovciarsko tunnel will now be drilled out. Everything is going smoothly in the Ovciarsko tunnel, while bigger problems have occurred in the Zilina tunnel. The drilling is currently progressing at a speed of 20-25 metres per month. If geological conditions improve, it might go much faster,” added Auxt.