The president of Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) has said that the renovation works on the National Road (EN) 125 between Olhão and Vila Real de Santo António, in the Algarve, “is subject to a decision ” of the courts.
During a hearing at the parliamentary committee on Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing, António Laranjo said that the works, which cover a 45-kilometre extension, can only proceed after “there is a decision by the arbitration court on the process brought by the sub-concessionaire” Rotas do Algarve Litoral (RAL).
"It is a process filed by the sub-concessionaire RAL with a claim for compensation amounting to €445 million, in addition to another process brought by the financing banks to the amount of €43 million", explained the president of IP.
In 2019, RAL communicated to IP its intention to terminate the contract of that road sub-concession, considering that the contract was unfeasible after the refusal of approval by the Court of Auditors (TdC) to the amendments made in 2017 to the document, signed in 2010.
"Until there is a decision by the arbitral court, IP cannot intervene to the full extent that it was intended to withdraw from the road sub-concession contract", stressed the official.
At the hearing, held at the Assembly of the Republic at the request of the PSD parliamentary group, António Laranjo added that, although the works to refurbish the road section between Olhão and Vila Real de Santo António "are subject to judicial restrictions", the maintenance of the road is ensured by RAL, in the context of an action in which IP was convicted.
“The court sentenced IP to an upfront payment of €30 million and the obligation to maintain another monthly payment of €1.2 million until the final decision, so that RAL can ensure the maintenance and operability of the entire route from Vila do Bispo to Vila Real de Santo António”, he noted.
António Laranjo said he is "optimistic" about the arbitration court issuing a decision in the process soon, as IP "has everything prepared to proceed with the tenders for the requalification of the road section on the eastern Algarve coast".
“IP is not going ahead with the tenders yet, because we don't know what the court's decision will be,” he argued.
However, the deputies defended that there is "no legal obstacle" for the requalification work of the section of the EN125 not to proceed, if IP were to comply with the various draft resolutions presented by parliamentary groups and approved in parliament.