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Austrian firm appeals against Chinese consortium winning Croatian bridge project

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-01-23 14:12

ZAGREB - Austrian construction firm Strabag has appealed against Croatia's selection of a Chinese consortium to build Peljesac bridge, the State Commission for Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures announced on its website Monday evening.

Croatian daily newspaper Jutarnji list reported that Strabag was complaining about Chinese consortium's "dumping prices".

The appeal is submitted ten days after Croatian state-owned highway operator Hrvatske Ceste (Croatian Roads) decided to award one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the country's history to a Chinese consortium led by China Road and Bridge Corporation.

"Of the three bids submitted for the award of a public procurement contract, the bidding community was selected - China Road and Bridge Corporation, CCCC Highway Consultants, CCCC Second Highway Engineering and CCCC Second Harbor Engineering with a bid price of 2.08 billion kuna (around $340 million) without VAT and the construction period of 36 months," Croatian Roads announced on Jan 12.

Strabag and a consortium of Italian Astaldi and Turkish IC Ictas were the other two bidders. The Austrian contractor's offer was 2.62 billion kuna (about $432 million), the most expansive of all three.

The Peljesac bridge, which was opened for bidding in September 2017, will be 55 meters high and 2.4 kilometers long with four lanes. Its estimated cost is over 400 million euros ($485 million), 85 percent of which will be covered by European Union fund.

It is a significant project for Croatia because the bridge would connect the Croatian coast with the southern Peljesac peninsula, allowing road traffic to bypass a short strip of neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina's coast that interrupts the continuity of Croatian territory.

The appeal will inevitably extend the public competition procedure and postpone the signing of the contract and the start of the bridge construction, which is expected during the spring of this year.

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