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Construction of North Transylvania motorway to continue

The US firm Bechtel building the motorway in North Transylvania, Romania, and Romania's transport ministry have agreed that the construction work will go on from early autumn on the 64-km section from Bors to Supalcu de Barcau, Bihor County, business weekly Capital has learnt.

Transport ministry officials only confirmed that agreement had been reached between Bechtel and the Romanian state-owned motorway management company, and the agreement still awaits approval from the government.

No details have been officially published, but Capital said that Bechtel agreed to limit the construction costs to € 7 million per 1km of motorway, which is 35% less than the target cost was. On the other hand, the state must pay all the accumulated debt owed to Bechtel - reaching € 200 million - by mid autumn.

It is not yet clear whether Bechtel will construct the entire 415 kms of motorway or only the section connecting the Hungarian border with Tirgu Mures. Transport ministry officials earlier threatened the company with terminating the contract and calling a public procurement tender for the Tirgu Mures-Brasov section.

Prime Minister Emil Boc earlier assured the public that the construction of the motorway will continue this year.

Construction of the Bors-Brasov road started in 2004, but only 52 kms have so far been completed between Gilau and Campia Turzii, though  more than € 1 billion of government funds have been spent.

Costs were originally estimated to amount to € 2.2 billion, but it became clear that the road will cost at least twice as much as it was planned burdening Romania's state budget alone.

Romanian media sources suggest that the motorway might become the most expensive in the world in spite of the cost reduction resulting from this agreement.