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VOAK: the “great battle” for the contracts of the new Crete motorway

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After the completion of the tender for line 4 of the Athens Metro, the biggest bet for the dominant construction groups in the country is the project of VOAK. The project that was divided by a triple competition is today the “holy grail” for the Greek construction.

The project’s budget exceeds 1.8 billion euros and the race to win the contracts has begun. Given that the tenders will have matured in 2021 as the Environmental Studies have been submitted to RIS for approval, we go to the final stage of the tender, the submission of financial bids.

The battle of Crete

All the groups have entered the fray and it is the ultimate goal as the breadth of the object will make the contractor dominant within the borders. GEK TERNA with the expected acquisition of Egnatia Odos has dominated the landscape of highways. AKTOR and AVAX with a strong presence and the big weapon called Attiki Odos are also claimants. INTRAKAT and Mytilineos will want to break the current status quo and get a big project.

VOAK, due to its peculiarities (low traffic, seasonality, short distance traffic), “broke” into three sections with respective competitions to be able to be implemented. This means that we can potentially have up to 3 different contractors in this large project.

The first section, the main section of the highway, is from Chania to the Hersonissos, 157.5 km long. It connects Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion and will have the largest daily traffic. The tender is in the form of a concession for 25 years and has a budget of 1.32 billion euros.

Today we are in the 2nd phase of the competition with 4 schemes: 1. AKTOR CONCESSIONS, 2. TERNA, 3. AVAX, 4. VINCI, 5. K / X MYTILINEOS-INTERTOLL. The EIA as mentioned has been submitted and is currently in the consultation phase.

In the second section from Hersonissos to Napoli, 22.5 km long, the PPP method with a duration of 30 years was chosen. Its cost reaches 360 million euros. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has also been submitted and its approval is pending. In the 2nd phase of the competition have passed: 1. AKTOR CONCESSIONS, 2. TERNA, 3. AVAX (with the Marguerite fund), 4. K / X MYTILINEOS-INTERTOLL.

The third section Neapoli-Agios Nikolaos will be auctioned as a public project probably by the beginning of 2022. The project that completes the main body of VOAK has an estimated cost of 145 million euros. For the project, its extension to the west up to Kissamos and east to Sitia has been announced.

Project funding is the big bet. 427 million euros were secured from the Recovery Fund for the entire length of the highway, ie about 25-30% of the required funds. The remaining funds will be covered by joining the NSRF 2021-2027 and with the participation of private funds.

The anatomy of VOAK

The project includes the construction of a closed highway with 2 + 2 lanes in each direction and LEA. It will also have a central island with a safety railing.

According to the available information, VOAK will have 46 Level Nodes, 15 Tunnels with a length of 14.5 km and 40 Bridges with a length of 8.67 km. This is a large project that will remind many of the construction of Olympia Odos since a large part of the projects will involve the widening of the existing axis.

The projects also envisage the upgrading of the existing uneven junctions in Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion.

The identity per section

Kissamos-Chania (option in the concession contract):

-Length of highway: 37.5 km.

-The standard section of the highway has a road width of 21.5 meters with 2 lanes of traffic in each direction with LEA and central island. Estimated cost 180 million euros.

Chania-Heraklion (Hersonissos):

-Length of highway: 157.5 km and side / vertical network approximately 150 km.

-The standard section of the highway has a road width of 21.5 meters from 12.50 today with 2 traffic lanes in each direction with LEA.

-26 single branch tunnels with a total length of approximately 34 km.

-10.80 km new bridges, 23 of which exceed 100 meters in length.

-20 new uneven junctions and upgrading of the existing 18 uneven junctions in the bypasses of Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion.

Hersonissos-Neapoli

-Length of highway: 22.5 km.

-3 tunnels 4.3 km long

-5 uneven junctions (Hersonissos, Stalis, Malia, Sisi, Selinari)

-5 bridges 1.3 km long.

Neapoli-Agios Nikolaos

-Length of highway: 14.5 km while it also includes 11.2 km of side network.

-The standard section of the highway will have a road width of 21.5 meters with 2 traffic lanes in each direction with LEA.

-4 new uneven junctions in Neapoli, Limnes, Lakkonia and Agios Nikolaos.

-6 bridges 865 meters long.

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