Renovation of D1 Motorway: Road and Motorway Directorate still considered options after works in the first four sections had already started

PRESS RELEASE on Audit No. 16/06 – January 30, 2017

The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) scrutinized the State budget and EU funds used within the period from 2012 to 2016 for the renovation of D1 Motorway. By the end of June 2016, the expenses amounted to CZK 3,500 million and according to the estimates, work costs with the selected first renovated section, which is 161 kilometres long, should amount to CZK 20,500 million. In the audit conclusion, auditors highlighted the fact that expenses were significantly lower in the first four renovated sections than under other road renovation projects in the Czech Republic. However, errors made during the preparation stage resulted in at least two-year delay of the works’ completion. In addition, the Road and Motorway Directorate decided for specific plans without having compared more options.

Works in the first four of 21 sections of D1 Motorway determined for the renovation started in 2013. These works cost less than later renovated sections. The prices also differed from the tender prices given in the project documentation as they were 35 % lower than the original offers. The Road and Motorway Directorate did not try to identify reasons for such a difference between tender and offered prices.

With other five sections of D1 Motorway, where the renovation works started in 2015 and 2016, the average renovation prices per 1 kilometre increased by 73 % compared to the above mentioned sections – from CZK 74 million to 128 million. According to the project documentation, financial needs of the later works only rose by 25 %. Prices outlined in the project documentation corresponded with the tender prices, which were only 5 % lower. The average prices of 1 square kilometre of renovated roads – costs of wastewater systems, bridges, or road signs not included – increased from CZK 1,748 to CZK 2,504. Costs of the later works corresponded to costs of other projects implemented in the period from 2012 to 2014, which were aiming at D1 and D3 Motorways’ constructions, where the average prices of 1 square kilometre made CZK 2,724.

In the context of rising work costs in the period 2013–2016, the SAO recommends that the Road and Motorway Directorate analyse the cause of the differences between prices estimated in project documentations and the actual tender prices. The outcome of such an analysis should be taken into account in further developing of motorways.

Auditors also aimed at the pace of the D1 Motorway renovation. With 19 out of 21 renovation projects, there were delays because of problems during the preparations. For example, due to insufficient geological surveys, there was an increase in costs of four buildings by nearly CZK 130 million and one-year delay with other two buildings. With five other projects related to D1 Motorway renovation, the Road and Motorway Directorate had project documentation done two years before making the decision about actual plans and had to up-date the documentation twice with additional costs of CZK 12 million. Because of unclear technical details, project documentations of five other projects were finished 19 months after the due date. The renovation of D1 Motorway was originally supposed to be completed in 2018, but according to recent estimates, the works are not expected to be done before 2020 and a section called Smejkalka Bridge is due in 2022.

Auditors also found errors in the planning of renovation ways. In 2005, the Road and Motorway Directorate began to prepare plans for a six-lane motorway, but in 2009, new plans were developed, which included maintaining the existing four lanes plus a 75-centimetre extension in each direction. The Road and Motorway Directorate failed to assess whether the new plans represented the most effective way in terms of socio-economic concerns. In 2012, after five sections had already been renovated, the Road and Motorway Directorate had an analysis of economic efficiency done, which unfortunately did not compare the existing plans with different renovation options. As late as in 2013, the Road and Motorway Directorate ordered an analysis of various renovation methods and a comparison of options while four sections had already been under renovation works. The SAO criticized that such an analysis should have been produced before the Road and Motorway Directorate decided for one particular option. The produced analysis omitted a comparison of maintenance costs that are related to various road coverages. Costs of various renovations options are non-comparable. The analysis also omitted a comparison of economic benefits of individual renovation options.

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

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