Contracts signed for Okucani-Novska rail upgrade

ZAGREB, 03.07.2012.
Representatives of the Croatian Railways (HZ) Infrastructure company and contractors on Tuesday signed two of three contracts for an upgrade of the Okucani-Novska railroad which is co-financed with funds from the European Union's Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).

HZ Infrastruktura management board chair Darko Pericic and representatives of Italy's SALCEF Costruzioni Edili e Ferroviarie signed a EUR 25.7 million contract for the upgrade.

The works will be supervised by Germany's DB International in consortium with the Croatian company Granova. A EUR 1.56 million contract was signed with representatives of the German company.

The Okucani-Novska railroad upgrade is worth about EUR 40 million, 85 per cent of which is financed from IPA and the rest by Croatia.

The section is 20 kilometres long but important, Pericic said, because it is part of the Novska-Tovarnik-state border railroad, which is on the Pan-European Corridor X - from Salzburg in Austria, across Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia, to Thessaloniki in Greece.

Works are expected to begin in August and last 16 months, the Italians said, adding that traffic on that section would not be interrupted during the works and that Croatian companies would be hired as subcontractors.

All upgrade works on the Okucani-Novska section should be completed by the end of 2014. They will give the HZ a section meeting the EU's corridor railroad requirements and reduce travel time, notably in passenger traffic, said Pericic.

The head of the EU Delegation to Croatia, Paul Vandoren, said the European transport policy promoted railways as eco-friendlier and safer. The Okucani-Novska project is our contribution to that goal, he said.

Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Branko Grcic said he was pleased with the contracts signed today, adding that in late 2013 the HZ could sign a contract for the Dugo Selo-Krizevci railroad, estimated at about EUR 200 million.

Noting that preparation of projects that could be financed with EU funds was late, Grcic said the government would actively participate and support all beneficiaries and institutions in project preparation.