Olena Rotari, Kseniia Sitinska: Trukhanov’s overpriced bridge in Odesa

A company linked to Odesa Mayor Gennady Trukhanov built a bike and pedestrian bridge for more than double the planned cost. Altogether Odesa taxpayers paid $2.6 million for the overpriced and delayed project, after a different company originally won the bid.

On the 10th station of the Big Fountain in Odesa, a newly built bike and pedestrian bridge is finally complete.

Why finally?

Because it should have been ready back in 2018. The opening kept getting postponed and more money spent each time the date was pushed further. So why was the construction delayed and how much money was spent on this facility?

Here’s some history on one of the tenders.

Scandals haunted a new bike and pedestrian bridge of Odesa ever since the tender was announced. In the summer of 2017, the Odesa City Hall announced a competition of projects construction of a cycling track. It was supposed to connect the 8th and 10th stations of the Big Fountain, that is, the Health Track and Fontanskaya Embankment. Officials wanted to spend 32 million hryvnias, or $1.2 million, on this project.

In the beginning, three firms participated in the tender: Mostostroitelnoe Upravlenie No 1, Onur Construction International LLC, and Rostdorstroy LLC, well-known for its connections with Odesa’s Mayor Gennady Trukhanov, who refused comment for this article.

But the last bid did not win.

Instead, the winner was a company from Lviv called Mostostroitelnoe Upravlenie No 1. Since that went against what officials had planned, they decided to cancel the tender. Then, in a document, they declared that there was actually no need to build that bridge. Why? No one explained. All while the winner of the canceled tender offered to complete the work cheaper than Rostdorstroy LLC, which would ultimately cost 28.5 million hryvnias.

So why did Odesa’s officials turn down this proposal?

Andrii Urumian, the director of the Lviv-based company Mostostroitelnoe Upravlenie No. 1, which won the first tender, says the inconvenience of the tender’s legislation lies in the fact that the customer (in this case it’s Department of Road Facilities of Odesa City Council) never explained the reason behind the rejection. But according to the protocol decision, the tender was canceled “due to the lack of further demand.” However, a month later the tender was announced again. It was attended by the same participants as in the first competition. But this time, the winner was the Trukhanov company Rostdorstroy LLC, which offered a price for the construction of the overpass for 31.6 million hryvnias.

How much did it actually take to spend on building Odesa’s bike bridge?

In reality, that bicycle overpass cost the city’s budget much more. And the money from its construction was received by companies from Trukhanov’s orbit: LLC Rostdorstroy and LLC Derzhdorproekt.

According to ProZorro website, 1.3 million hryvnias from the city budget were spent only on project documentation. The officials held three tenders in which the same company took part and won.

Derzhdorproekt LLC received another 173,500 hryvnias from two tenders for field supervision. But the designers, obviously, did not take into account many nuances. During construction, the slope began to slide, which jeopardized the construction of the cycling track. Officials then complained that work had been suspended due to the construction of a private parking lot under the bridge. Then the head of the department of road facilities of the Odesa City Council, Andrii Shmahai, said he could not provide accurate information about what happened at the facility, because his department doesn’t get it too.

Meanwhile, officials did not lose time and held two additional tenders for the construction of a bike bridge. For another 24 million, slides and freeways were built, and then another 14.5 million hryvnias spent on “additional work.”

Guess who won?

The same LLC Rostdorstroy — a company associated with Odesa’s mayor earned another 38 million hryvnias on the townspeople.

How much Odesa’s bike and pedestrian bridge cost?

The bicycle route was opened two years later than promised. And they spent more money than planned. From the 32 million hryvnias, the cost of the overpass more than doubled – in general, all the work cost Odesa’s taxpayers 71 million hryvnias, or $2.6 million.

The overpass was planned as a great cycling route. But the first one immediately after its opening was not for cyclist, but rather, car drivers. And even after the construction was finished, the overpass doesn’t look completed, but rather resembles an abandoned site which lacked funding.

Olena Rotari and Kseniia Sitinska are journalists, and Daryna Sarhan is a translation editor, for Chanel 7 Odesa, owned by the KADORR Group, which also publishes the Kyiv Post. 

(C)KYIV POST 2020

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