“In order to minimise possible traffic disturbances, the phasing of the work was changed, with the conclusion of the work expected to be completed in the second half of 2021”, IP said, in a statement sent to Lusa agency.
The company indicated that, after overcoming the “initial difficulties, namely with regard to the type of technical solutions provided for in the project”, “the contractor consortium is responsible for recovering the pace of work and presenting a modified plan, with a new deadline for completion, if justified”.
With an estimated value of €12.6 million, the repair and conservation works of the 25 de Abril Bridge formally started on 19 December, 2018 and were scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.
According to IP, despite the postponement, the increase in the cost of the work is not under discussion.
“IP informs that the amount remains valid”, reads the same note.
The postponement of initial work deadlines was advanced by Visão magazine at the end of February.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, explained in a parliamentary hearing that the delay in the contract was due to “some technical understanding problems between IP and the group that won the construction consortium”.
According to the minister, this disagreement is due to the construction companies which, “to hold tenders, presented very low tenders, which raises problems in the execution of the work”.
Speaking to Lusa, the president of the Ordem dos Engenheiros, Carlos Alberto Mineiro Aires, considered that the “planning failed” and that “the delay will lead to inconveniences associated with traffic”.
“A very well-made schedule was announced, which had stops on certain nights of the week coinciding with operations and interventions, these stops suddenly ceased to exist, which means that something was going on,” warned the engineer.
For Carlos Alberto Mineiro Aires, it is bad that the schedule is not being followed and work will always need to be completed on the structure.
“The 25 de Abril Bridge is metallic, it will never stop being under construction. It is a bridge that is constantly observed and monitored. There are interventions that are part of everyday life, which must be done every day”, he stressed.
Aires also criticised Infrastructures of Portugal for lack of information about the contract, which, according to him, “is of the greatest interest”.
“[…] There is no information available on the website of Infraestruturas de Portugal in relation to this matter. There is no information available to taxpayers about the works that are in progress, about the schedule, about the investments, whether it is being carried out or not”, he concluded.