19 bids for Elin Pelin – Kostenets rail tender

Bulgarian Ministry of Transport announced that a total of 19 bids were submitted for the three Lots for the modernisation of Elin Pelin – Kostenets railway line, which requires an investment of over EUR 511 million (BGN 1 billion). The deadline for review of the bids by the Committee is four months, when the winner will be announced (by the end of November).
“The investment in the section goes over 1 billion leva, making it the largest railway project within this program period of OP Transport and Transport Infrastructure,” Deputy Minister Velik Zantchev said.
The project “Modernization of the railway line Elin Pelin – Kostenets” is financed under OP Transport and Transport Infrastructure 2014-2020 and amounts to EUR 511.3 million (BGN 1 billion). In February, the EC announced that EUR 471.5 million from the Cohesion Fund will be allotted for the modernisation of Elin Pelin – Kostenets line.
The section has a length of 51 km, of which 20 km of tunnels, and 23 bridges and viaducts will be constructed within the project, and the level crossings will be removed. After works will be completed, trains will be able to run at speeds of 160 km/h.
Elin Pelin – Kostenets offers rail links in the western part of Bulgaria and is part of the Sofia- Plovdiv mainline, situated on Orient/East Med corridor.
The Deputy Minister said that within tendering processes, there are legal problems which delay projects’ implementation. For example, Elin Pelin – Kostenets project faced delays due to the claims in the past 10 months and to set things right, measures will be undertaken to speed up the work of the committees and the subcontractors. “The claims made by companies without a significant legal interest jeopardize strategic projects and may result in loss of EU financing. Thus, MTITC [the Ministry] and NRIC [the railway infrastructure manager] proposed numerous amendments to the Public Procurement Act to limit unscrupulous claims”, the Deputy Minister commented.
Part of the proposal have already been included in the draft amendments. “Under the new PPA [Public Procurement Act], companies have to prove their legal interest when filing a claim for a specific project and the “temporary suspension” measure will be imposed only after legal proceedings are initiated by the Commission for Protection of Competition. Up until now, companies with minimum capital could claim million-leva tender procedures [over EUR 500 thousand] and the law allowed for suspension of the procedure once there was a claim filed at the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC).

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