Balluk's mega-affair, the 1.3 billion euro Lekaj-Fier road, the most expensive in the region

2022-12-05 19:59:18Fokus SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX
Belinda Balluku

One kilometer of road in Albania, those granted with a 35-year concession, costs more than in the countries of the European Union.

The Albanian government has recently granted a concession to the Lekaj-Fier road, which is an existing four-lane national road. In the 2022 budget, this road was designed at a cost of 320 million euros, for only 46 kilometers. It will cost Albanian citizens 7 million euros, not including the concessionaire's bank interests, just for the expansion of the road for the emergency lanes and overpasses in this road segment, while the feasibility studies are not public. After the maturity of the loans that the concessionaire will receive, the price for one kilometer of road can be doubled.

Meanwhile, an entirely cheaper example comes from neighboring Greece, which has built most of its national roads with pre-membership funds from the EU, while even now as a member of the Union, the Hellenic state is constantly seeking funds for the construction of highways. In 2020, the European Commission approved 300 million euros of funds for the construction of the northern part of the E65 highway from Trikala to Greneva, which does not exist. This part of the 70.5 km long road is calculated to be built with 442 million euros, 6.2 million euros per km, much cheaper than ours. But not everything ends here, this road will split the mountain unlike the project in Albania and has four tunnels in total.

The works to be built on this road are tunnels with a total length of 900 meters, 31 bridges / overpasses, six exit nodes, two Operation and Maintenance Centers, as well as a toll station. Meanwhile, parking and rest areas will be built along the entire length of the project, as well as a new secondary road network to serve neighboring areas. So more kilometers, more artwork and over 80% funded by the European Union.

While the Lekaj Fier road, according to those who have declared the leaders of the Ministry of Infrastructure, will be built new in only 3.2 kilometers, secondary roads will be added where they are missing and three or four underpasses will be made and of course points to collect the new fine for Albanians which will cost 1.3 billion euros in 35 years./ TCH