The bridge over Danube River that will link the Bulgarian town of Vidin and Calafat in Romania is still on track to meet its April 2010 deadline, Bulgaria's Transport Minister Petar Moutafchiev said on August 28 2008, as quoted by Focus news agency.
The project is currently six months behind the schedule, caused by additional geological and archaeological surveying that Spain's Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC), picked to build the bridge and the adjoining infrastructure on the Bulgarian side, had to carry out at the request of the project manager, Moutafchiev said.
FCC has vowed to make up for the delay, so that construction is completed on time, Focus quoted him as saying.
Asked to comment on recent media reports that FCC planned to ask that it was paid more for the construction of the bridge, due to the increasing costs of raw materials, Moutafchiev said that no such request has been filed yet.
"Projects such as Danube Bridge 2 can run at higher-than-estimated costs. The issue is that any request for more money has to have solid grounds," Moutafchiev said. "Any increase has to be within the boundaries negotiated and included in the contract."
Bulgaria's initial cost estimates for the project was 226 million euro, with the bulk coming from the European Union - 70 million euro under the bloc's Ispa pre-accession program and a further 70 million euro from the European Investment Bank. The Ispa funding has to be used by the end of 2010, which is also the target launch date for the bridge.
Reports in Bulgarian media in recent days suggested that FCC planned to ask for an additional 100 million euro, a figure Moutafchiev has rejected out of hand.