The coronavirus epidemic and the ensuing restrictive measures have slowed down progress on major infrastructural projects in Slovenia. Operations on the second tube of the Karavanke motorway tunnel are down to a minimum and the rate of work on the new railway serving the port of Koper has been lowered, as STA Agency reports.
The national motorway company DARS said on Tuesday that the work on the tunnel had been adjusted to the situation. Major works have been suspended because of disruptions in the supply of material and difficulties in securing proper accommodation for workers.
The Turkish contractor Cengiz has informed DARS that work has been hampered and reduced to a minimum.
“When the situation gets back to normal, an analysis will be carried out around the impact on meeting the final deadline”, DARS announced, noting that construction on the Austrian side of the tunnel had been halted last week.
Meanwhile, the motorway operator continues only with the most essential maintenance works on the motorway network.
Furthermore, construction continues on the new railway line between the port of Koper and the Divača hub, currently the largest infrastructural project in the country, albeit at a lower intensity.
2TDK, the state-owned company in charge of the project, stated that the contractors were sticking to the instructions and were following the preventive measures. Meanwhile, archaeologists exploring the sites on the access roads have suspended their operations.
The company stated that the contractors were facing labour shortages as many foreign workers had not been able to return to Slovenia in time before borders shut down to contain the spread of the pandemic.
While the government decree limiting commercial activity does not affect work on construction sites, 2TDK notes that a possible decision to suspend construction work altogether would depend on the objective circumstances and the additional government measures.
It adds that a short suspension of work on access roads, if necessary, would not result in the loss of EU funds, as the planned works would be finalized by the end of the year.
“The impact and magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic cannot be predicted at the moment”, 2TDK explained, adding that consequences for the broader society caused by the slowdown of the project could nonetheless not be avoided.
At the same time, the Slovenske Železnice national railway operator announced that, while passenger transport was on hold, other services would continue without disruptions.
Work on the railway infrastructure is conducted as planned, as workers have been properly supplied with protective gear and are following the Authorities’ guidelines, notes Slovenske Železnice, while announcing that it would be providing holiday homes in its ownership for those from the staff who are the most exposed to the epidemic.
“The holiday facilities will be made available to persons who are not able to return to their homes due to the disease, as well as and for the temporary accommodation of workers who support the functioning of the state”. /ibna