The project to build a second bridge over the Danube River between Vidin in Bulgaria and Calafat in Romania has run into new snags, which may delay its completion, Dnevnik daily reported on July 3.
Rather than change the original design, Bulgaria's Transport Ministry has decided to carry out a new assessment whether the original design of the bridge will be robust enough to withstand the test of time and elements, the daily said.
The company picked to build the bridge and the adjoining infrastructure on the Bulgarian side, Spain's Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC), is still around four months behind schedule, but confident that it will meet its deadline to complete the bridge by end-2010, Bulgarian Transport Minister Petar Moutafchiev said, as quoted by Dnevnik.
Part of the delay was caused by the slow progress of geological surveys and expropriation of privately-owned land for the needs of the project, but also by the refusal of the project managers, the consortium between French Ingerop and British High-Point Rendel, to accept the Spanish company's design for the bridge.
The project would cost 226 million euro, with nearly two thirds of the funding provided by the European Union: 70 million euro under pre-accession aid programme Ispa and a further 70 million via a loan from the European Investment Bank.
However, with global commodity prices constantly rising, the costs of the project could well turn out higher than initially estimated, Dnevnik said.