Source: Novosti | Tuesday, 16.03.2010.| 14:19
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Tender for construction of Progon tunnel to be announced again at World Bank's request

(Special machine for digging tunnels - "Mole")

Prior to May 1st, the Roads Institute will hand an alternative main project for construction of Progon tunnel on the bypass around Dimitrovgrad to the investor - Putevi Srbije. Additional geological survey, which was asked by the World Bank, the project creditor, are finished, and the alternative project documentation will enable drilling of the tunnel by classical method.

Tender for selection of contractors should be announced again in May and the procedure will last for three to four months, which means that the works on construction of this tunnel, worth about 30m EUR, may start in September.

Tunnel Progon, 1.1 km long, will have the full profile of a highway and two tunnel pipes. The main project was elaborated in June 2009.

The World Bank abolished the tender for selection of contractors two days before its closing and nearly four months have passed since then. The Bank expressed a doubt in geological characteristics of the land through which the tunnel was to be drilled, so that it asked for new survey, and then the question of the regularity of projected technology was raised. - The main project, which we submitted in June 2009, anticipates that the drilling works be carried out by means of tunnel machine, so-called "Mole" - Slobodan Savić, the main architect, told Novosti.

- As an architect, I sought technically the most regular and quickest solution for the drilling works and I did not think about whether the contractor would make bigger or smaller profit because I am not interested in that. The essence lies in the fact that the contractor makes smaller profit if it uses "Mole" because, in that case, there are very few unplanned positions, while classical drilling may require up to 30 or 40% additional works. I assume that smaller profit was one of the reasons for dissatisfaction. People in the Institute suspect that some foreign company that is interested in this job has a strong lobby in the World Bank and that that was the reason for abolishment of the tender. - "Mole" is the machine that none of the companies in Serbia have at the moment - says Savić.

WORLD BANK

People in the World Bank's Office in Belgrade claim that the tender was abolished because additional geological survey of the terrain was necessary because later determination of the method for drilling the tunnel depends on that. "Mole" may be stuck if it comes to the rock it can not break and then it can not move either forward or backward. That can be a big problem. The World Bank simply does not want to take chances.
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