Highway D8 delayed for 15 years: a 17-kilometre section from Lovosice to Rehlovice remains unfinished
PRESS RELEASE on Audit No. 15/29 – June 13, 2016
The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) performed an audit of the D8 highway’s construction and scrutinized the State budget funds used by the Ministry of Transport, the Road and Highway Directorate, and the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure within the period from 2009 to 2016. Auditors aimed at investments in the construction as well as the compliance with the development timeframe. The construction of the unfinished 90-kilometre long highway started already in 1984.
In contradiction with the original schedule, the construction of the highway D8 has been delayed for 15 years. In the remaining section from Lovosice to Rehlovice, more than half of planned constructions were not built and with 46 objects, the construction works had not even started before the beginning of 2016, for instance the bridge between tunnels near the village of Dobkovicky. According to the original plans, the D8 highway should have been opened in 2002.
The remaining unfinished section of the highway has been under risks of landslides and required much better preparations. The Road and Highway Directorate could not prove that necessary measurements had been taken, which would have decreased the risk of landslides. Auditors were repeatedly ensured that the Directorate had kept all legislative, regulatory and administrative provisions when the construction was planned. In 2013, half a kilometre long strip of land fell down near the village of Dobkovicky, which damaged the highway construction as well as the railway tracks. The Government approved a new plan, according to which the redevelopment works should have been finished at the end of 2014/early 2015, but the deadline was not respected.
The Ministry of Transport waited for two and a half years before ordering an analysis of the landslide’s causes. Already in 2013, the Road and Highway Directorate had documentation at their disposal, concluding that the waste waters flowing from the quarry area near Dobkovicky were mainly responsible for the landslide. During the auditing operation, the SAO informed the Directorate about the approaching deadline for bringing an action for damages and costs of redevelopment. The Directorate confirmed that the action had been brought before a court and claimed for compensations from the quarry operator, which amounted to some hundreds of million CZK.
Rising unit prices of the highway construction also illustrate that the preparation works were insufficient. In 2004, the Ministry of Transport estimated that the construction would cost CZK 120 million per one kilometre (without bridges or tunnels), while in 2008, the price was nearly three times more (CZK 345 million). As the highway is 27.5 metres wide in the section from Lovosice to Rehlovice, the Ministry re-estimated the costs at CZK 12,500 per one square metre of highway without bridges or tunnels.
Among the reasons of the delays with the D8 highway section from Lovosice to Rehlovice were poor preparation, unstable area, slow rate of redevelopment works as well as a seven years long litigation that terminated in 2010. The court had to decide whether a previous decision regarding construction’s location was legal. The administrative authority that had approved the construction provided the court with fragmentary documentation as the other documents had been lost. Regional Court in Usti nad Labem annulled the decision concerning the location of the construction because it was not possible to examine the situation. The court proceedings also delayed the construction’s completion and thus impacted the entire highway development’s schedule.
All the delays affected the construction costs. In 1993, the construction costs of the highway section from Lovosice to Rehlovice were estimated at CZK 3,000 million, while in 2007, the Road and Highway Directorate opened a price competition and the estimated price was CZK 9,900 million. So far, the construction costs exceeded CZK 14,000 million. In 2010, experts from the Czech Technical University in Prague calculated that a loss of CZK 680 million is generated each year because the D8 highway was not servicing.
Supreme Audit Office