The Romanian government responds pretty sharpish to a plea/threat from Renault-owned Dacia Cars to finally build a motorway across the Carpathians to Western Europe.
Also, a quick look at the bridge to Ile de Re, France’s second longest. As series of major overnight road closures start in Germany next week as the A643 Mainz-Wiesbaden bridge re-opens. A split is revealed at the top of Dover-Calais operator MyFerryLink as it fights for its life in the appeal courts.
DACIA DEADLINE FOR ROMANIA A1
Hard decisions by 2020 if no trans-Carpathian motorway in place.
The future of the Renault-owned Dacia factory near Pitesti hangs on the still-unbuilt trans-Carpathian section of the A1 motorway.
Such a thing has been suggested before but this is the first time the threat has been made explicit.
In an interview this week with 0-100 Hotnews (via Romania-Insider.com), Dacia President Nicolas Maure says, ‘By 2020 if the section is not ready, I think we have to take some decisions. After then, nobody at Renault-Nissan will understand how there is no minimum highway system in Romania.’
The Pitesti factory is just south of the Carpathian mountain range, linked by existing stretches of the A1 to capital Bucharest and Black Sea port Constanta in the south.
The A1 in the north west of Romania, to the Hungarian border, is almost complete but the central stretch, across the mountains between Pitesti and Sibiu, is still on the drawing board.
It was included in the draft National Transport Plan published late last year as – cheaper and quicker to build – expressway but has since been restored to full motorway. Construction had been expected to start within two years but current plans are not clear.
Dacia workers held two demonstrations last year demanding the road be built and were supported by the now-ousted president.
The company itself distanced itself from the protests at the time but later said the lack of a direct motorway link to Western Europe cost €30 per car.
Last year the Pitesti factory manufactured 340,000 vehicles. It is currently the only place where Dacia builds cars from scratch but faces increasing competition from an assembly plant in Morocco and a Renault factory in Turkey.
According to Faure, two thousand trucks currently head across the mountains on the single lane road along the Olt River Valley towards Western Europe each week.
For whatever reason, Romania has consistently struggled to build fast roads, in marked contrast to neighbouring Bulgaria which now has an almost fully functioning basic, national motorway network.
The bright news for those wanting to drive the Transalpina and Transfagarasan mountain roads, either side of Sibiu, is that the western stretch of A1 should be completed this year.
Update 11 April: the stretch of A1 from Pitesti to Sibiu has ‘finally been designated as top priority’ reports the Independent Balkan News Agency today. A press release from the Ministry of Transport this week says the 120km section, including 20km through the mountains, will be built from 2017-20 at a cost of €1.6bn.
roundup: CROSSING THE CHANNEL. As if overturning the repeated competition authority rulings barring it from the Dover-Calais route was not hard enough, a dispute between the management and supervisory board of MyFerryLink sees them in court in Boulogne today reports IHS Maritime 360. The board apparently wants to oust the management despite the latter having the rock solid backing of Eurotunnel, owner of the company’s three ships, with whom they signed the operating contract. It seems the firm could fall apart even before the (likely final) Court of Appeal decision due mid-month. GERMANY. The A643 Schiersteiner Bridge across the Rhine from Mainz to Wiesbaden re-opens on Monday (13 April) for all vehicles except those 3.5t+ reports ADAC. Also, there are a number of road closures starting next week, mainly overnight. A3 Frankfurt-Cologne in Cologne closes between Lohmar-Nord and Rösrath between 22:00-05:00 Monday to Thursday for the next two weeks; A4 Aachen>Cologne between Eschweiler-East and Düren from Friday 17 April until Sunday 19 April, 22:00-22:00 and in the other direction for the weekend of Friday 17 April until 05:00 Monday morning; and, A8 Luxembourg>Saarlouis between Perl-Borg and Merzig-Schwemlingen from 07:00 Monday 13 April until 20:00 Saturday 18 April and in the other direction from 07:00 Monday 20 April until 20:00 Saturday 25 April.