Croatia picks Chinese consortium to build controversial Peljesac bridge

Croatia picks Chinese consortium to build controversial Peljesac bridge
By Carmen Simion in Bucharest January 14, 2018

A consortium of companies led by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has won the tender to build the Peljesac bridge in Croatia for HRK2.08bn (€274.4mn), the Croatian road operator Hrvatske Ceste (HC) announced on January 12.

The 2.4km Peljesac bridge will connect the Croatian mainland with the Peljesac peninsula, giving Croatia a continuous land link that bypasses Bosnian territory. The infrastructure project has been an ongoing topic of dispute between Bosnia and Croatia since 2007, when the construction of the bridge was first announced. 

Croatia wants to build the bridge so its citizens can reach the south of the country without crossing into Bosnia. On the other hand, Bosnia has protested that the bridge would prevent large ships from entering the port of Neum.

The winning consortium consists also of CCCC Highway Consultants Co. Ltd., CCCC Second Highway Engineering Co. Ltd. and CCCC Second Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd, the Croatian road company said.

"The offer was evaluated according to the criteria as the most economically advantageous and amounts to 2,081,608,270.72 kuna (excluding VAT)," HC added. The completion deadline is 36 months.

In June, the European Commission (EC) allocated €357mn of Cohesion Policy funds for the construction of the bridge.

Three months later, the lower chamber of Bosnia’s parliament adopted a declaration against the construction of Peljesac bridge. The deputy speakers of the Bosnian parliament’s two chambers, Sefik Dzaferovic and Safet Softic, had previously sent a letter to European parliament speaker Antonio Tajani, asking him to demand the halt of the planned construction of the bridge. In November, the main committee of the Bosniak ruling Party of Democratic Action (SDA) adopted a resolution demanding that neighbouring Croatia to stop all activities on the planned Peljesac bridge until an international border is established.

Croatia's public roads company received three bids for the construction of the first phase of the bridge: from Italy’s Astaldi together with Turkey’s IC ICTAS, Germany’s Strabag and the Chinese consortium led by China Road and Bridge Cooperation, Hina news agency has reported. The value of works in the first phase, including access roads, has been estimated at HRK1.8bn.