By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]
Portugal’s court of auditors has rejected the concession permit for the Concessão Algarve Litoral, a 400 million euro project to redevelop the region’s EN125 road due to start by the end of this year.
According to Portuguese news agency, Lusa, a spokesman from Edifer, part of the consortium which was awarded the concession for the project, said that it had been rejected.
This is the fourth of five road concessions that have been rejected by the court of auditors, which is managed by Oliveira Martins.
Motorway projects in Trás-os-Montes, Northern Portugal, the Douro. Lower Alentejo and central west coast regions have also been refused by the court.
The government road management company Estradas de Portugal (EP) was notified of the rejection of preliminary permits by the court following a review of the projects proposed by the consortiums who were awarded the concessions.
The government has appealed against the court’s decision and is now waiting for a response on the future of these projects.
If the court’s decision is not favourable, the projects may have to be put to public tender again or new budgets submitted by the consortiums.
Work on the Concessão Algarve Litoral, which was announced by Portugal’s Prime Minister, José Sócrates, during a visit to the region in March 2008, was due to start by the end of the year, creating around 1,500 jobs.
This latest decision by the court has put yet another damper on the construction sector, which is already affected by severe job losses due to the economic crisis, especially in the Algarve region.
The concession for the redevelopment project was given to the Rotas do Algarve Litoral consortium, comprised of the companies Edifer, Iridium, Gragados, Tecnovia and Conduril in April 2009.
This concession includes the construction, maintenance and management of a number of national roads, namely the EN125, EN2, EN395 and EN270.
Meanwhile, socialist MP for the Algarve, Miguel de Freitas said earlier this month that the rejection does not directly jeopardise the work on the EN125, although it could affect the loan provider which is financing 80 per cent of the project.
“The work has not stopped, it continues,” said Miguel de Freitas, adding that expropriation of land for the construction of the by-pass to the north of Faro, which is included in the project and will help to divert traffic away from the centre of the city, is due to be finalised.
According to the Algarve Litoral concession website, the project for the EN125 covers a total of 187km, of which 29.5km of road will be built and 157.5km will be redeveloped, and is due to be completed within three years.
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