Austrian construction company Strabag confirmed on Monday it had filed a court complaint with an administrative court in Zagreb against the government tender to build the Peljesac Bridge which was awarded to the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).
"We confirm that we have filed a complaint against the decision in the tender for the Peljesac Bridge project today at the Administrative Court in Zagreb. We also filed a motion for a temporary court ban on the construction works to start. We also turned to the European Commission," Strabag said.
The Peljesac bridge is the largest planned infrastructure project in Croatia, intended to link the southernmost part of the country with the rest of its road network by circumventing a short strip of Bosnia and Herzegovina's coastal territory around the town of Neum, avoiding customs controls and improving the flow of road traffic during the summer tourist season.
The entire project is worth €420 million without VAT, with the EU funding 85 percent of the total cost, or €357 million. The government's tender to build the main part of the project, including the bridge itself and access roads, received three bids, and the winning bid, announced in January 2018 by the state-owned road management company Hrvatske Ceste, was by the CRBC, worth 2.08 billion kuna (€280.7 million).
The Jutarnji List daily reported this weekend that the two losing bidders - Strabag, and the consortium of the Italian company Astaldi and Turkey's IC Ictas Isaat Sanayi - would file a court complaint against the decision to award the tender to CRBC.
The Italian-Turkish consortium had asked 2.55 billion kuna to build the project in its bid, and Strabag's price was 2.62 billion kuna. Later in January, the state commission for procurement (DKOM) received appeals by the two losing bidders, and in March it dismissed them as unfounded.
According to legal experts quoted by Jutarnji List, the court complaint filed by Strabag, in which it blames CRBC for unfairly offering dumping prices, could significantly postpone the start of the actual construction, originally planned to begin in late 2018, by 4-6 months or even by two years.
(€1 = 7.41 kuna)