None of the 15 planned highways had been constructed by autumn 2017 due to problems with preparation

Press release for audit No 17/05 – 29. 1. 2018

The Supreme Audit Office performed an audit of construction, modernization, and reconstruction of highways between 2013 and 2017. The auditors examined the Ministry of Transport, the Road and Motorway Directorate, and the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure. They focused, for example, on issues such as what the costs of highways construction were, how construction was prepared and whether the goals related to the construction of highways were achieved. The audit showed that the pace of highways construction was very slow and - compared to previous SAO audits - it was even slower in some phases of preparation. The costs of construction of highways fell on average by 55 per cent.

On average, only 16 kilometres of highways were opened per year in 2013 – 2017. At the time of the audit, none of the planned 15 constructions commenced. There were no indicators that the pace would accelerate in the future. In 2018 - 2020, the Ministry will probably open only seven constructions of 52 kilometres, on average 17 km per year. The road network was originally due to be finished fully in 2010. The Ministry postponed this term several times and it is now set for 2050. However, the current pace of the construction is not sufficient to achieve this goal – it is needed to build 833 kilometres of the 2 073 kilometres planned. To make it happen, the Ministry would have to open approximately 25 km of highways every year.

Problems in the preparation of constructions, mainly connected with the zoning and building permits, were the main reason for the slow pace of construction of highways. The preparation phase of highway construction from obtaining the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to issuing the building permit took 13 years on average. Such a long period was caused by repeated attacks and appeals of participants in both the zoning and building proceedings, by addressing exceptions as regards protected plant and animal species, and by long property settlement. In contrast to the previous SAO audit No 12/18 published in 2013, this preparatory phase was extended by four years.

An example of the problems described above is the D1 construction in the Říkovice - Přerov section, where the EIA was issued in 2000. However, seventeen years after, the property settlement was not completed in relation to this section. In addition, due to the change in the shape of an extra-level intersection, the Road and Motorway Directorate requested a change in the zoning permit in 2017, but an exception regarding the protection of the protected species was needed. One of the parties appealed against the exception and the construction that was planned for 2018 - 2021 would most likely take another delay.

On the basis of the previous audit of the SAO (audit No 12/18), the Ministry adopted measures to accelerate the preparation of highways. However, the measures taken have not shortened the construction time of highways so far.

The audit also showed that the costs of highways construction fell. The construction of one kilometre of a highway cost CZK 152 million on average between 2013 and 2017. This is about CZK 190 million less than what it was built for between 2008 and 2012, as emerged from the previous audit of the SAO. Auditors also found out that the average price of 1m2 of a highway construction was CZK 6,900, which is almost the same price as the average price of 1m2 of highways in Germany, Greece, Poland, and Spain, as shown in the European Court of Auditors' audit no. 5/2013. The costs of highway blacktop ranged from approximately CZK 2,400 to CZK 3,500 per 1m2. The costs of highway bridges ranged from CZK 18,500 to CZK 33,000 per 1m2. Total construction prices were not, apart from several exceptions, significantly overestimated or underestimated.

Enclosed to the audit conclusion there is a database of unit prices of construction works on highways in selected constructions that the SAO worked with during the audit.

Communication department
Supreme Audit Office

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