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Marsa flyover project goes to Turkey firm as Trinita JV loses appeal

Contractors vent frustration directly with Office of Prime Minister

Preparatory work under way on the Marsa flyover project. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Preparatory work under way on the Marsa flyover project. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Turkish firm Ayhanlar Yol Asfaltlama will be constructing one of the largest road projects in Malta – a seven-tier flyover in Marsa – after the Maltese consortium that bid for the lucrative project lost its appeal, Times of Malta is informed.

The decision to award the tender to the Turkish company was taken a few days ago by the Public Contracts Review Board (PCRB) after an appeal filed by Trinita JV said that the Turkish bid should have been excluded from the contract and the works given to the Maltese consortium.

Following a hearing last month, the PCRB dismissed all the claims made by the Maltese road builders – RM Construction Ltd, V&C Contractors Ltd and Schembri Barbros Ltd – and decided that Ayhanlar should be awarded the project for €38.8 million.

Originally, the government earmarked €50 million for the tender. Trinita JV has also lost a €50,000 deposit paid to the government in order to file its appeal.

A €50,000 deposit paid to the government to file the appeal was also lost

In its decision, the appeals board insisted there was no reason that the Turkish firm should not have been awarded the contract, as their offer was €500,000 cheaper than the rival bid.

Claims made by Trinita JV that the Turkish company lacked the necessary equipment in Malta to complete the mega project, particularly concrete batching and asphalt plants, the appeals board said they were not necessary according to the tender conditions, as Ayhanlar would be using mobile plants mounted on site.

Despite the fact that the Maltese companies claimed that such plants could not be operated without a Planning Authority permit, the appeals board dismissed the claim on advice given by Planning Authority executive chairman Johann Buttigieg, who insisted that no new permits were needed for the Turkish firm to install mobile batching and asphalt plants on site, as they were covered in the permit already issued for the road project to Transport Malta.

An artist’s impression of the Marsa flyover project.An artist’s impression of the Marsa flyover project.

Times of Malta reported “frustration and anger” among the Maltese companies when the results of the tender emerged announcing the Turkish firm as the winner.

Read: Anger as Marsa flyover awarded to Turkish firm

The consortium of Maltese road builders – among the most experienced on the island – took this decision as a vote of no confidence in their abilities by the government and argued that they should have been given the project.

Times of Malta is also informed that the contractors have vented their frustration directly with the Office of the Prime Minister, claiming that before the last election they were given the impression by senior government politicians that the project was theirs.

Government sources have dismissed this claim.

Aimed at easing the pressure in the notorious traffic congestion in the Santa Maria Addolorata Cemetery area, the project will include a seven-tier flyover distributing the 8,000 cars an hour which pass through the zone in different directions.

The project, which according to government plans, will cost a total of €70 million, is expected to take years to be completed and will include a new parking complex in front of Labour’s TV headquarters.

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