Slovakia’s government spending watchdog has questioned the value-for-money of the planned Karpaty Tunnel near the capital Bratislava which could cost between €1 billion and €1.7 billion.
The ministry of finance’s Value for Money Unit said the business case for excavating the 11.7km tunnel within the Lesser Carpathian Mountains – an environmentally protected area - has not been demonstrated.
A study published by the country’s National Motorway Company published from 2009 is outdated and does not show a clear need to complete the D4 motorway project of which the tunnel is part.
The D4 would run from the D2 motorway southwest of Bratislava and head eastward and northward, eventually re-connecting with the D2. The route is effectively an eastern by-pass of Bratislava. Karpaty Tunnel is expected to be by far the longest tunnel in Slovakia and more than 4km longer than the Višňové Tunnel, part of the D1 motorway near the northern city of Žilina .
However, in December, the interior ministry gave its final opinion on the tunnel project, setting out the route and estimating the cost at €1bn. Eva Žgravčáková, a spokesperson for NDS, said in January that the agency is waiting for the final Environmental Impact Assessment report from the environment ministry.
Meanwhile, residents of Bratislava’s Záhorská Bystrica district and the village of Marianka fear increased noise levels from the motorway, despite highway planners promising a noise barrier running 600m along the route.