Tuesday 1 September 2015
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Croatia: HŽ Infrastruktura to construct a new faster railway line to connect Zagreb and Bjelovar

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The contract on the construction of the new 12.2 km long non-electrified single-track railway line on section Gradec – Sveti Ivan Žabno was signed at the Headquarters of HŽ Infrastruktura on 26 August 2015. The value of the project amounts to HRK 203.4 million (around 26.8 million euros), and the project comprises the execution and supervision of works on the construction of the new railway line. Based on the grant contract signed in June 2015 by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure and by HŽ Infrastruktura, the project is to be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, which will provide 85% of the project value, with 15% coming from national funds.

The commencement of works is planned for autumn 2015, and all works should be completed by the end of 2017.

HŽ Infrastruktura signed the works contract with the consortium consisting of Comsa of Spain and Wiebe of Germany, while the supervision contract was signed with the consortium comprised of the Croatian companies SGS Adriatica and Investinženjering, and the Swiss company SGS.

Mr Zoran Milanović, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Mr Branko Grčić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and EU funds, and Mr Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure graced us with their presence at the signing ceremony.

The Prime Minister of Croatia, Mr Milanović, mentioned comparative ecological advantages of the railway compared to road transport: “Obsession with cars bears with it a cost to the environment, because CO2 emissions are much higher for every kilometre of a journey that one undertakes by car, rather than by rail. Ecology and environment protection are a global issue and are beyond any borders. We should start considering this matter more actively in Croatia, raise our awareness and live our lives accordingly. For several tens of thousands of inhabitants of the city or Bjelovar and the surrounding areas, it is not the same whether their journey by train will last even 50 minutes or an hour. Our country is small, sparsely populated, with population concentrated in several centres, therefore it is not realistic to expect people to travel in large numbers from Zagreb to Split by rail, and not even to Rijeka, but to the cities around Zagreb this is the case. Therefore, I would like to congratulate you on a job well done. There are also other projects in the pipeline, they are being prepared and are almost completed, more specifically Dugo Selo – Križevci, which means much higher investments. Even those 30 million euros, which are invested in 12.5 kilometres of this line, might not make the highest investment in Croatia, but are of great symbolic significance. I would like to wish you good luck during the process of purchasing plots of land, and for you to be successful, but efficient negotiators, for the job to be completed within the given deadline; and I have no doubt that the contractors are competent and professional.”

The contracts were signed by Ms Renata Suša, President of the Management Board, on behalf of HŽ Infrastruktura, who on that occasion said: “We are very pleased that these contracts have been signed and we are now looking forward to the beginning of works. The construction of the new railway line will enable a faster and better commuting experience, and the journey time from Bjelovar to Zagreb will be reduced from the current 105 minutes to 60 minutes once the line is constructed.

In addition to a new railway line, in just over two years from now, we will have three entirely new railway stops with shelters and car parks. The building of the Gradec stop and Sveti Ivan Žabno railway station will be refurbished, and the station building will be reconstructed.”

On this occasion, Mr Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, the line Minister, stressed that one of the priorities of the transport policy of this Government is the development of the railway sector by means of investment in infrastructure development and renewal of the rolling stock of the national operator. “It is logical that EU funds are used as a main source of financing, from which HRK 7.5 billion have been made available to Croatia for investments in railways. Nowadays, after nearly 50 years, we are constructing new kilometres of this line in order to provide a faster connection of three counties, Bjelovar and Bilogora, Koprivnica and Križevci and Zagreb county, to the city of Zagreb. As one of the major beneficiaries of European funds, HŽ Infrastruktura has so far successfully completed projects amounting to almost a billion Croatian kuna. The tender for a large investment Dugo Selo-Križevci has been opened, in the amount of HRK 1.5 billion, and the tenders for investments in the lines between Vinkovci – Vukovar and Zaprešić – Zabok are being prepared. All of the mentioned projects are to provide multiple benefits to our citizens, and by making them come about we are also enabling better services for our economy, since investments like these foster the creation of new jobs.”

On behalf of the works contract consortium, the attendees were addressed by the President of the Management Board of the company Comsa, Mr José Miarnau Montserrat: “On behalf of the Comsa Wiebe Joint Venture, I would like to express my gratitude for giving us the opportunity to participate in the development of the railway network in Croatia. Railway infrastructure is of crucial importance for the growth of countries, since they branch out routes and, at the same time, bring destinations together.

The construction of the new Gradec – Sveti Ivan Žabno railway line marks the beginning of a phase of future projects, which will certainly improve and develop the railway network in Croatia bringing it in line with the rest of the country’s infrastructure.

Endorsed by an extensive international experience, Comsa and Wiebe are committed to providing quality and developing the best infrastructures in any work they perform.

I am convinced that this project will be the start of a long and successful collaboration with the Croatian authorities.

I would also like to use this opportunity to say that we appreciate the confidence shown by HŽ Infrastruktura in awarding this contract to Comsa Wiebe Joint Venture. Our strong intention is to continue participating in future projects in Croatia.

Deputy Managing Director of SGS Adriatica d.o.o., Mr Drago Goić addressed the audience on behalf of the works supervision consortium: “We would like to thank HŽI for selecting our consortium SGS – Investinženjering as a partner for this significant project. It is our great privilege to contribute to this project with expertise in construction supervision and to be a part of a client’s consultant team.

In SGS, a world leader in inspection, verification, testing and certification services, we believe a consortium combination of international and local knowledge will ensure that the project’s goals are met and the project is delivered to the client’s satisfaction.

Participating in this important railway project we hope to set up a foundation for future projects and long term cooperation.

Thank you once more for your confidence and we are positive we will justify it through our commitment and hard work.”

(Source: HŽ Infrastruktura)

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