Still no date on when Almanzora motorworks will resume

Another snag has hit the abandoned Almanzora motorway – the company that’s supposed to be building it has basically gone under, so works can’t resume.

That’s the explanation of the Junta for why works haven’t started, despite the fact that cash has been made available in the 2014 budget.

Work on the Almanzora motorway was abandoned in 2011 when the Junta ran out of cash. They tried to do a civil-public partnership, but no-one was interested. So it sat there, quietly mouldering.

In 2013, according to the Junta, they paid out eight million euros in expropriating land to continue building the motorway. Opposition parties point out that this was actually overdue compensation for land they’ve already expropriated, so it doesn’t count.

Now, in theory, this was going to be the year the work started afresh. Except it hasn’t.

José Luis Sánchez Teruel, regional PSOE head, asked the Junta recently to “get its skates on” and ask for an EU grant.

Encarna Caparrós, head of Fomento in Almería and the woman in charge of the project, has finally responded to questions.

It seems the Junta is ready to go ahead, but the construction company building the motorway had shut down during the long pause. It’s now having trouble starting up again (unpaid wages, I expect).

Now, the company in charge of building the motorway was a “UTE”, a temporary company created for a specific project by several investors. So when the work dried up, everyone got fired, the machinery was returned to the leasing company, and the investors sat back and received a monthly cheque from the Junta for contract infringement. Meaning it’s just a shell company, with maybe two or three old boys employed to check the postbox and make sure the half built bridges haven’t fallen down.

And starting up this shell company takes some time. You’ve got to find workers, lease the machinery, clean the sparrows out of the empty building huts, etc.

But the Junta doesn’t want to put the contract out to tender again, as this would delay proceeding even more. So they have to wait for the construction company to get its act together.

Work “might start” says Encarna Caparrós “after Easter”.

By then it will be summer…. so autumn? Maybe?

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