The government inaugurated the By Pass of Vlora last summer, while 15% of the works remained unfinished. A year after the inauguration ceremony, verifications show that the road has been amortized. The By Pass of Vlora lacks signage, the last layer of asphalt, the protection of escarpments and slopes from falling stones, as well as environmental rehabilitation. ARRSH says that the closure of the works in this segment will end in March 2024, but does not give reasons for their delay.
At dusk last July 7, the government inaugurated for the first time the completion of the By Pass of Vlora, a project co-financed by the European Union and the Albanian government.
"We are located in the By Pass of Vlora, today is the 7th of July and the entire section of the road has been completed." This is what the Minister of Infrastructure Belinda Balluku declared during the inauguration ceremony of the By Pass of Vlora last July.
After a detailed speech on the progress of the project, alongside Prime Minister Edi Rama, the director of the Albanian Road Authority Evis Berberi and a number of other representatives of the Socialist Party in the region of Vlora, Balluku told the head of the government:
'We are now ready to listen to the Prime Minister's remarks, what should we worry about?'
'Here, why are there no dividers here?', answered Rama, as he pointed out the lack of side barriers in a part of the By Pass.
Inauguration after inauguration...
A week later, alongside the European Union Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood, Olivér Várhelyi, the Prime Minister together with other officials returned to the By Pass of Vlora for another inauguration of the panoramic segment at dusk.
"We return here, as today it became possible for a valued friend, in addition to the European Commissioner for Enlargement, to come here, unable to be with us on the announced day of the opening of the bypass, on July 7, which which was related to the necessity to release the flow of cars, especially on weekends," said Rama.
The main By Pass works were completed on 30 June 2022. Although it was inaugurated twice the truth is that the road was unfinished.
"This is a road that has only a few works left that will not interfere with road traffic. We are mainly dealing with the works of escarpments...", emphasized the director of ARRSH Evis Berberi last summer.
But contrary to what Mr. Berberi claims, an official document from the Investment Fund for the Western Balkans shows that the By Pass of Vlora was opened for traffic without closing 15% of the works. And the escarpments are only one of several essential elements of the infrastructure project.
A year later
A year after the inauguration, the road remains unfinished and there is no sign of work on it. The delay of the final works has degraded the axis of 29 km.
Verifications in the field show that the road has been amortized and has suffered slips that make it look very far from an axle that is only 1 year old.
The By Pass lacks signage, while more than half of the segment still does not have the planned asphalt layers. On the other hand, one of the bridges is left with raised piles while the ceiling has not yet been made.
In these conditions, Faktoje addressed you with a request for information to the Albanian Road Authority. The institution admits that the By Pass still has unfinished works, listing them as follows:
"- Construction of intersections with the village of Kanina at km 9+100 and 12+100
– Completion of asphalt layers
– Protection of escarpments and slopes from falling stones
- Environmental rehabilitation", it is written in the response of ARRSH, as it is emphasized that the works are expected to be completed in March 2024.
The same term can be found in the list of public investments with foreign financing, detailed by the Ministry of Finance for the years 2023-2025.
Who is ARRSH lying to?
But otherwise, the deadline for the completion of the works has been given to the international partners. In a response to Faktoje, the Office of the Delegation of the European Union in Tirana says that ARRSH has informed them that the project is expected to be completed at the end of this year.
"The last information we have from the Albanian Road Authority (ARRSH), the implementing authority, is that the project is expected to be completed in December 2023," reads the EU Delegation's response, as it is emphasized that the bill for the remaining works belongs to the Albanian government. .
In total, the funds provided by the European Union for this project are calculated at the value of 56.16 million euros, of which 20.16 million are grants and the rest are loans from the European Investment Bank and EBRD.
The co-financiers have requested that ARRSH informs them in time, before the full completion of the project, so that a final inspection of the site can be done./ Faktoje.al