Romania fails again to meet motorway building target

Another year, another failure for the state-owned road infrastructure management company CNAIR, which has yet again been unable to deliver the promised motorways. The target often mentioned by former Ministry of Transport Răzvan Cuc was 180 km for 2019 alone, but the harsh reality is that we’ve seen only 22 km completed so far. In other words, 158 km of Romanian motorway exist only on paper and in political statements. That, however, is useless for drivers on Romanian roads.

CNAIR set the target at 118 km early this year, but then Călin Popescu Tăriceanu (former President of the Senate of Romania) raised the bar to 180 km, something the former Ministry of Transport Răzvan Cuc kept on repeating in his press appearances. The false promises were quickly debunked by the president of Pro Infrastructure Association, Ionuț Ciurea, in an interview with TransylvaniaNOW. He then said that by end of the year, only 43 km of motorway will be ready in the country, seeing progress on some sections of the Lugoj-Deva highway. Ciurea’s best positive scenario put the total at 60 km, representing only a third of the promised 180 km.

In an interesting move around mid-year, Razvan Cuc announced that, well, hmm … he was misinformed by the head of CNAIR, and it is impossible to meet the 180 km target. However, he still promised to deliver 100 km of motorway by the end of 2019.

So far, the government has inaugurated 22 km of motorway, the section between Soimus and Ilia, Hunyad/Hunedoara County. The completion rate of 99% of the 21-km segment of the A1 motorway that connects Lugos/Lugoj with Déva/Deva didn’t stop the Romanian government from refusing to accept it due to quality reasons. Chances are that this segment will remain closed until next year, just like another segment measuring 17.9 km between Radnót/Iernut-Maroskece/Chetani, where construction company Astaldi has made serious progress.

So, at the end of the day, we expect only 22 km of new motorway to be opened to drivers this year. The silver lining is that 2020 looks brighter, with roughly 57 km of motorway planned to open next year.

Title image: map of Romanian motorways. Image source: 130km.ro

Author: István Fekete