The heavyweights of the Romanian road construction industry managed to defeat prestigious foreigners in winning a tender for the construction of the Bucharest-Ploiesti highway, due to replace the current national road linking the two cities. A consortium formed of Euroconstruct, Spedition UMB, PA&CO International and Comaxa was chosen to run the project as they pushed the cheapest price offer.

The companies are controlled by known people in the Romanian industry and political circles: the owner of a Bucharest restaurant, Golden Blitz, where President Traian Basescu has been enjoying lots of meals, and Dorinel Umbrarescu, known as “the king of Romanian asphalt” and a sponsor of the main opposition party in Romania, the Social Democrats (PSD).

Transport minister Radu Berceanu announced on Friday the consortium won the bid partly because of its very low price offer, of some 200 million euro.

Construction works at the highway will cover some 40 kilometers. The total distance between the Romanian capital and Ploiesti in the north is 60 kilometers.

The tender lured major Western companies including Strabag of Austria, with an offer of 251 million euro, Vinci of France (273 million euro) and Vegyepszer of Hungary (231 million euro).

The Bucharest-Ploiesti highway is part of a longer project stretching to Brasov in Central Romania.