Contract signed for new Črni Kal-Koper rail section

Lipica – The contract for principal works on the Črni Kal-Koper section of the Divača-Koper rail track was signed on Wednesday with officials announcing the start of works in May.

“Today is a big day for the Slovenian economy, development of logistics and the port of Koper,” said Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec as the contract was being signed by Pavle Hevka, director-general of 2TDK, the company managing the Koper-Divača project, Iztok Černoša, a 2TDK director, and Kristjan Mugerli, CEO of builder Kolektor CPG.

Kolektor CPG will build the Črni Kal-Koper section of the second railway track that will connect the port in Koper with Divača in cooperation with Turkish companies Yapi Merkezi and Özaltin. They assessed the value of the project at EUR 224.7 million.

Hevka noted the contract was being signed five years since 2TDK was founded. He said no unnecessary annexes would be signed that would raise the price tag of the project.

The minister too said he would do everything in his power to make the project transparent and not overpaid.

He also pointed to the importance of cooperation with near-by countries that do not have access to the sea. “Luka Koper and the second track are not strategically important just for us but also for those countries,” he said.

“If we build the second track and push the countries from eastern and central Europe aside, we will not benefit much from the new connection,” he said.

Kolektor boss Mugerli said he was happy that Kolektor would be a part of what was currently the biggest and the most demanding infrastructural project in the country.

A project this size with a Slovenian contractor as the lead partner in a consortium will not only contribute to the recovery of the Slovenian economy after the Covid-19 pandemic but will also bring know-how, experience and a good reference to all those involved, he said.

The Črni Kal-Koper project envisages the construction of six tunnels in the total length of 7.7 kilometres and two railway viaducts in the length of 452 and 647 metres.

Turkish partner in the consortium Yapi Merkezi has the most experience in the construction of railway infrastructure. According to Kolektor, the company built the Eurasia Tunnel – connecting Europe and Asia underneath the Bosphorus strait – four years ago.

The other Turkish company, Özaltin, is also a leading builder in Turkey, building anything from dams, bridges, and motorways to factories and tourist facilities. In 2016, it finished the project of the 2,682-metre Osmangazi Bridge.

Mugerli said other Slovenian builders would also be involved, including Pomgrad, SŽ – Železniško Gradbeno Podjetje, and Kolektor Koling.

Kolektor CPG assesses that at least 350 construction experts and other experts will be involved in the project and over 250 heavy-duty vehicles and other machinery.

2TDK has also picked the same consortium of builders for the other section of the Divača-Koper project, the Divača-Črni Kal section, which is to cost EUR 403.6 million. However, the decision is being challenged by one of the bidders that were not picked, Strabag.

2TDK hopes the issue will be resolved soon and Hevka announced that the contract for that section would be signed soon.