The construction works for the new Žeželj rail-road bridge over the Danube in Novi Sad are stagnating, with approximately 27% of the project being carried out so far. According to the local press, construction works are running late mainly due to disputes between Serbian Railways and the contractor – the consortium made up of AZVI & Horta Coslada from Spain and Italian Tadei, part of Edimo Gruppe. The contract worth €45.3 million stipulated that the consortium was to finish building the bridge in 32 months, including accessing communication tracks by the end of 2013.
Though the construction contract was signed between the Government of Vojvodina and the Spanish-Italian consortium in January 2011, preparatory works began in April 2012, after all the necessary licenses were obtained.
The project is co-financed by the European Union (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, IPA, with EUR 26.2 million), the Government of Vojvodina and the City of Novi Sad (EUR 19.1 million), while the Serbian Railways have assumed the rights and responsibilities of the investor on behalf of the Republic of Serbia.
The bridge is built on the foundations of the old Žeželj Bridge which was torn down during the NATO bombing in 1999. The bridge is 474 meters long with two connected steel arch of 180 and 220 meters. According to the preliminary design, the width of the bridge is 31.6 meters and has two rail tracks, two road lanes and two pedestrian-bicycle lanes.
The new bridge will restore full road and rail traffic across the Danube in Novi Sad as part of the Belgrade-Subotica-Budapest segment of Corridor Xb of the TEN-T network. According to the preliminary analysis, Novi Sad was identified as one of the future intermodal transport centres in the Republic of Serbia.
Last year the consortium has submitted a EUR 5.4 million claim for compensation to state railway company Zeleznice Srbije for overhead, lost profit, delays in the release of retained amounts and late payments, according to the local press. The consortium has requested that the deadline for completing the works be pushed back 248 days for the period before the construction started, and 325 days due to unforeseen events during construction.