Construction of the Kyiv bypass road: from promises to action
Pushkarenko Arsenii, People's Deputy of Ukraine
The President Big Construction Program revives confidence that the state can tackle large-scale strategic tasks. Zaporizhzhya and Kremenchug bridges, dozens of completed long-term construction projects throughout the country, thousands of kilometers of roads, hospitals, schools, kindergarten, stadiums. All the above represents successful stories.
Our task as people's deputies is to create conditions for successful realization of the program. The time has come for another long-term construction project and, more precisely the Kyiv bypass road. I am going to tell you why there is no betrayal and why it will no longer be possible to create hype around the Kyiv bypass road criticism.
Traffic jams in Kyiv annually take up to UAH 260 billion to cities and countries
The absence of a full-fledged bypass road in the capital of Ukraine is the historical mistake. Nowadays the residents and all other road users have to deal with the consequences of this mistake. The transit road transport, aiming to go from the left bank of the city to right one or vice versa, requires transit through the capital because of the shortage of bridges across the Dnipro River. And the absence of a bypass road means the entrance to the city center.
Up to 40% of transport in Kyiv is transit. On the level of traffic jams the Ukrainian capital has taken the 7th placein the Tom-Tom world rating-list. On average, Kyiv drivers spend about 9.5 days or 230 hours in traffic jams annually. In monetary terms, the average loss from standing in traffic jams for only 1 driver is about $ 490 per year. In total, according to various estimates, Kyiv loses from UAH 190 to 260 billion per year from traffic jams. And it’s a great deal of money.
The largest metropolitan area of the country without comfortable communication with the city center
According to various estimates, the population of the Kyiv agglomeration ranges from 4.2 to 5.5 millioninhabitants. The modern layout in the capital is designed for 900 thousand cars. Now this number in the city fluctuates between 1.2-1.5 million. Without a bypass road residents of the suburbs cannot comfortably use the basic infrastructure of the region: Zhuliany and Boryspil airports.
Conversations about a bypass / ring / alternative road in Kyiv go on for several decades. It is not surprising that any new initiative in this direction is perceived skeptical. The scale of the project and the complexity of its implementation seemed overwhelming for Ukraine. Nevertheless, eyes are afraid, but the hands are doing job. Last year the state began the long-awaited construction of the decade. The design of the first sections of the road has started. There are plans to build a 150-kilometer half-ring around the capital. It will be an autobahn with more than 20 transport interchanges and a new bridge across the Dnipro River.
How to find funds for one of the largest infrastructure projects of independent Ukraine?
The estimated cost of the project reaches UAH 85 billion, but these are only preliminary calculations. Even now, this amount is comparable to the annual budget of Ukravtodor. Focusing exclusively on budgetary funds, we risk pausing the restoration of roads and bridges in other areas. We cannot allow this.
On the other hand, postponing the implementation of the project means restraining the growth of the economy of the capital and the country as a whole. The solution is the funds of international investors. However, there is a problem. The current legislation, building standards and norms, pricing, all of those things hinder a large construction company with a powerful investor from entering the Ukrainian market. In turn, international investors expect from us an international competition with transparent conditions for participation and according to recognized international rules.
Nowadays some politicians are trying to manipulate this topic by merging the Prozorro system with the Law of Ukraine "On Public Procurement", but that’s different. In one case, it’s an IT product that can really be improved and into which new operating mechanisms can be implemented. And in another case, it’s a law with specific requirements and procedures that are designed exclusively for the budgetary sphere. We all believe in Prozorro and are confident that there will be opportunities for new forms of international contracts, but these changes will take years.
The Kyiv bypass road project does not have that much time. Since 2008, 11 memorandums have been signed on the Kyiv bypass road project with companies from 6 different countries, such as China, Germany, Lithuania, France, Turkey and Spain. However, large international companies do not want to work on the unreformed Ukrainian road market. Their main requirement is an open international competition for international standards FIDIC, CIPS, and the like.
What will happen to the construction tender of Kyiv bypass road?
On June 3, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted bill No. 5309, which amended the legislation accordingly. Immediately after that, a flurry of criticism rained down on parliament. But let's accept the way things really are.
Firstly, the amendment does not override the provisions of the Ukrainian legislation and all by-laws. State bodies (National anti-corruption bureau of Ukraine, National Agency on Corruption Prevention, Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, the State Treasury Service of Ukraine) continue to work and monitor this story at all stages.
Secondly, Prozorro is an e-procurement system. This is not a panacea. It has its own problems and disadvantages. The cases with the division of road sections by 40 meters or with tender trolls clearly confirm this.
Why do I believe in the success of this project? For me, the indicator is the reaction of the big business. Not long ago, the largest investment company in Ukraine Dragon Capital became the owner of an office and logistics complex with an area of more than 100 sq. m. in the village of Belogorodka. It is 6 km from the future Kyiv bypass road, between the M-06 Kiev - Chop and M-05 Kyiv - Odesa highways. By the way, this section is already being designed. As for me, this is a signal that construction will would begin.
Thirdly, our goal is to create a new practice of competitive selection process of contractors, taking into account international standards and norms. And the selection criteria should not be just the price, but the ability of the contractor to attract funding.
The Kyiv bypass road should not become a new long-term construction through an unreliable contractor or underfunding. The country should get comfortable routes for transit transport and additional investments, a powerful stimulus for the economy.
After amending the legislation, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passes the baton to the Ministry of InfrastructureUkraine. In its turn the Ministry of Infrastructure with the help of the world's best consultants has to develop a new flawless and transparent tender for international companies. Applicants will need experience in implementing large-scale infrastructure projects and the most cost-effective mechanism for attracting funding for the project.