From 2013 to 2018 only 7 of 35 A-road construction projects were completed on time, with preparatory work alone taking 12 years on average.
Press release on Audit No. 18/21 - 18 November 2019
The Supreme Audit Office scrutinised CZK 24.6 billion in funds spent on the construction and modernization of A-roads between 2013 and 2018.
In 2018, there were 69 A-roads in the Czech Republic (around 5 800 km in total). The 2014-2020 Transportation Policy and Transportation Strategy, identified 35 high priority roads and defined a construction schedule and estimated costs. However, only seven out of 35 works were completed on time, and six of those completed were already under construction when the schedule was established. The main reason for delays and interruptions was spending cuts following the economic crisis. In some cases contracts had already been concluded with suppliers, to whom the Road and Motorway Directorate (RMD) had to pay more than CZK 125 million in compensation.
Works were carried out not in order of their importance but according to the speed of preparatory work, which took 12 years on average. Delays in preparation were caused by difficulties in securing planning decisions, construction permits and land purchases. In some cases delays were much longer - for example a road diversion near Nové Město nad Metují was still in its initial stages after 22 years, with citizen’s objections and difficulties with noise abatement measures contributing to delays. Later, the Ministry of Transport completely removed the construction schedule from the updated 2017 Transport Strategy.
Measures such as the amendment of the Construction Act or the Act On Speeding Up the Construction of Infrastructure should help to speed up the construction of roads, but these came into force too recently for their impact to be felt. The RMD has also sought to shorten the time of preparation works by requesting a building permit before the acquisition of land was complete. However, this did not speed things up and the problem just moved to the construction proceedings.
The audit also found continuing problems with the transfer of ownership of A-roads to counties and municipalities, which is mandatory when a motorway or an A-road diversion is built in parallel with an A-road. Regions and municipalities have declined to take over these roads (182 km in total) because they lack funds to maintain them. Funding of maintenance and repair of B and C roads is not systematically dealt with.
On the positive side, in the audited period costs of construction were 30% lower than the RMD had assumed in tenders for suppliers, and the number of tenderers (usually 8-12) was higher.
Supreme Audit Office