One of the largest infrastructure projects in Ukraine is being implemented by the Chinese company Sinohydro Corporation Limited. For € 42 million, the company is reconstructing the Kyiv-Lviv-Chop road, which connects Ukraine with EU countries.
The M-06 highway is the main transit corridor through Ukraine’s territory, providing access to Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. It’s part of the European route E40, international transport corridor # 3 and the Europe-Asia national corridor.
The work is funded by a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Sinohydro Corporation Limited won a tender held by the State Agency of Automobile Roads of Ukraine. 16 companies competed for this contract: 7 from Turkey, 3 from China, 2 from Azerbaijan, 2 from Poland, as well as one from Ukraine and Italy, the state agency reported.
The project includes the reconstruction of a 22.3 km long section of the road located in Zhytomyr region. The road will have four lanes with a 2 x 7.5m carriageway. Contractors have to construct 4 interchanges at different levels, 2 pedestrian bridges, reconstruct 3 existing railway overpasses, provide lighting and traffic safety facilities.
In November 2018, Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan said that for the first time Ukrainians will receive a first category concrete road with four lanes.
However, a scandal erupted. In September 2018, the Chinese company was accused of illegally extracting sand for road construction.
During a briefing in Parliament, MP Pavlo Dzublyk said that the Chinese company was mining sand in an illegal quarry in a village near Zhytomyr.
The deputy accused the company of stealing 160,000 cubic meters of sand. This is precisely the amount of project land reclamation used by illegal sand miners. The average cost per cubic meter of sand in Ukraine is UAH 300 ($ 11).
“There is a theft of minerals in order to build the road and not one hryvnia was paid to the budget of the village council for the use of their subsoil. It is impossible to build a new infrastructure project, the largest one to date in Ukraine, where minerals are being stolen,” the MP summarized.
Information on illegal sand mining was also confirmed by the police. According to data from the criminal case, during inspection the police recorded Chinese company transportation, which “carried out sandblasting outside the specified land areas”. Sand extraction was carried out on a land plot with a total area of 12.0126 ha and a length of 5.1 km. A pre-trial investigation also revealed that the Chinese have made a deal with the Ukrainian company LLC Bud Invest Company. The disputed land plots were owned by proxies.
The State Environmental Inspectorate noted that sand extraction at these sites may cause harm to the land and threatens nearby forests.
According to the chairman of the High United Territorial Community, after the scandal Sinohydro stopped sand mining in the illegal quarry, but its effects have not been eliminated. Land reclamation has not been carried out, the pit has not been filled. Trials are currently pending.
Journalists tried to get a comment from Sinohydro, but the company ignored the request.
The Chinese company also received complaints from its customer about the pace of construction works. The Highways Agency threatened to terminate the contract if the contractor doesn’t speed up construction in some sections of the road. Sinohydro Corporation Limited was forced to increase the number of technicians and workers.
The work is scheduled to be completed this year.
Sinohydro is a Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction company. In 2012, Engineering News-Record Top 225 Global Contractors ranked the company 14th by overall revenue and 6th among Chinese construction companies.
Sinohydro’s main profile is construction of hydraulic structures, hydroelectric power stations, as well as construction of roads and seaports. Most recent successful Sinohydro projects include the construction of a deepwater port in Sri Lanka (jointly with CHEC).
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