A3 motorway (Romania)

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A3 motorway shield}}

A3 motorway
Autostrada A3
Route information
Maintained by Compania Națională de Autostrăzi și Drumuri Naționale din România
Length137.6 km (85.5 mi)
590 km (370 mi) planned
45.2 km (28.1 mi) under construction
Major junctions
South endBucharest
North endBorș (planned to merge with the M4 at the border with Hungary)
CountiesIlfov, Prahova, Brașov, Sibiu, Mureș, Cluj, Sălaj, Bihor
Major citiesBucharest, Ploiești, Brașov, Făgăraș, Sighișoara, Târgu Mureș, Cluj-Napoca, Zalău, Oradea
Highway system
Motorways in Romania

The A3 motorway (Romanian: Autostrada A3) is a partially built (approx. 23%) motorway in Romania, planned to connect Bucharest with the Transylvania region and the north-western part of the country. It will be 603 km long and will run along the route: Ploiești, Brașov, Făgăraș, Sighișoara, Târgu Mureș, Cluj-Napoca, Zalău and Oradea, connecting with Hungary's M4 motorway near Borș.[1]

As of December 2018, there are roughly 138 km in service: the BucharestPloiești motorway (62.5 km), the Câmpia TurziiNădășelu segment (61.2 km) and the Iernut – Ungheni segment (13.7 km).[2][3]

In January 2015, the motorway section between Câmpia Turzii and Târgu Mureș was awarded for construction. It was divided into two segments, with a total of five lots, which sum up to 56.5 km.[4] After the opening of the Iernut – Ungheni segment (13.7 km), there are 38.1 km remaining under construction.

Additional works on the NădășeluBorș section (approx. 153 km, in total) were auctioned between 2018 and 2019, with one constructor awarded for the Biharia − Borș segment (5.4 km) and the winners of the other bids still pending.

Furthermore, construction works are being performed on a 6.3 km segment between Râșnov − Cristian, part of the Comarnic − Brașov section.

Bucharest – Brașov section[edit]

A3 motorway between Bucharest and Ploiești
Construction of the Motorway Bucharest–Brașov
Section Length Period of construction Contractor Total cost Financier Status
BucharestMoara Vlăsiei 19.5 km May 2008 – August 2017 Impresa Pizzarotti and Tirrena Scavi 673.7 m lei State budget In service
Moara Vlăsiei – Ploiești 43.0 km July 2007 – August 2012 Spedition UMB, Pa&Co Internațional, Euroconstruct '98, Com-Axa 883.7 m lei State budget In service
Ploiești – Comarnic 48.6 km 379.4 m Euro (est.) planned
Comarnic – Brașov 58 km State budget broken into lots; tendering restarted

This motorway section (also called the "Snow Motorway") will cross the Carpathian Mountains along the Prahova Valley (the ComarnicBrașov segment is considered the most difficult section to be built). It will also provide access to the future Terminal 2 of the Henri Coandă Airport and to the future Bucharest – Chișinău motorway, via the Ploiești South-East/Dumbrava interchange.

It was split into three segments: the BucharestPloiești segment (62 km), the PloieștiComarnic segment (48.6 km) and the ComarnicBrașov segment (58 km).

Works on the BucharestPloiești section started on 15 March 2007 and were due to be completed by October 2012.[5] The first segment, from Bucharest to Moara Vlăsiei, is built as a six-lane set of carriageways to accommodate commuting and holiday surplus traffic. It was built by the Italian joint venture between Impresa Pizzarotti and Tirrena Scavi, while the second segment, from Moara Vlăsiei to Ploiești, was built by the Romanian companies Spedition UMB, Pa&Co Internațional and Euroconstruct '98. Total construction cost of this section was estimated at 450 million euro.[6] The section between the Bucharest Ring Road and Ploiești (55.5 km) was opened on 19 July 2012, while the rest of the section towards downtown Bucharest remained to be completed.[7]

A3 motorway near Snagov. The section between Bucharest and Moara Vlăsiei is the only motorway in Romania that currently has three lanes in each direction.

The Bucharest – Bucharest Ring Road segment is part of the Bucharest – Moara Vlăsiei section and is currently under construction. It starts with a roundabout at the junction between the Fabrica de Glucoză and the Petricani Street (near 44°28′43″N 26°07′31″E / 44.47861°N 26.12528°E / 44.47861; 26.12528), crosses over the Balta Saulei Lake, intersects the Gherghiței Street with a second roundabout (near 44°28′43″N 26°08′16″E / 44.47861°N 26.13778°E / 44.47861; 26.13778), then continues northbound, crossing over the CFR Line 800, the Popasului Street (in Voluntari, where it has a diamond interchange near 44°29′33″N 26°08′57″E / 44.49250°N 26.14917°E / 44.49250; 26.14917) and the Bucharest Ring Road, as well as the railroad again.

On the Popasului Street (Voluntari) – Bucharest Ring Road segment (4 km) works have started in April 2012. On the Petricani Street (Bucharest) – Popasului Street (Voluntari) segment (2.5 km) works have constantly been delayed, partly because of remaining unfinished expropriations,[8] until the contract was finally terminated.[9] In December 2015, the construction works of the first 3.3 km of the motorway, the Bucharest Ring Road junction and the still under construction Moara Vlăsiei exit were awarded to the joint-venture between Aktor and EuroConstruct Trading 98, for a cost of 129.2 million lei.[9] They were planned to be completed by 2018, but the progress remained slow as of June that year.[10] The entire segment from the Petricani Street to the Bucharest Ring Road was opened on 14 December 2018. The media has highlighted the facts that the motorway ends with a stoplight and it has a roundabout on its route, something unique in Romania, and widely regarded this section as an "urban motorway".[11]

The PloieștiComarnic section has been in pre-feasibility phase and its profitability is being considered.[12] It is complemented by a relatively settlement-free section of the parallel national road DN1.

Comarnic – Brașov section[edit]

Construction of the section Comarnic–Brașov
Section Length[nb 1] Period of construction Contractor Total cost Financier Status
Section 1: Comarnic Sud – Comarnic Nord 3.4 km[13] Tender cancelled
Section 2: Comarnic Nord – Bușteni 16.3 km[13] Feasibility studies
Section 3: Bușteni – Predeal 12.8 km[13] Feasibility studies
Section 4: Predeal – Râșnov 15.2 km[13] Feasibility studies
Section 5: Râșnov – Cristian 5.4 km[13] Contract signed

Works on the ComarnicBrașov section, the most difficult segment of the motorway, were due to begin in 2010 and take around four years to complete,[14] but the FrenchGreek consortium VinciAktor denounced the contract and construction was canceled.[15] Total construction cost of this section was estimated at 1.2 billion euro.[16]

The segment was re-tendered as a concession contract in February 2013.[17] It has been awarded in December 2013 to the joint venture between Vinci, Strabag and Aktor,[18] for a period of 29 years,[19] with an estimated construction cost of 1.8 billion euro.[20] This section of the motorway would have three twin tunnels, with a total length of 19.4 km,[21][22] at Sinaia, Bușteni and Predeal,[23] and four interchanges, at Comarnic, Bușteni, Predeal and Râșnov.[24] The route would follow the river valley until Posada,[24] where it would cross on the opposite side of the river and would run along the mountain range until Sinaia, from where it would then run nearly straight until Azuga, crossing through two twin tunnels that would bypass Sinaia and Bușteni, before crossing again to the eastern side of the river.[25] According to media reports, works were expected to begin in April 2014,[19] but they were still pending, due to financial arrangements and the environmental certificate.[26] According to the same reports, they had to be finalized in 2017.[27]

As of 19 June 2015, the concession had been canceled.[28]

As of 15 October 2015, section 1 (4.0 km) and section 5 (6.3 km, plus a connecting road) at the ends of the Comarnic – Brașov section were separately tendered. For section 1, a bid by Spedition UMB and Tehnostrade remained the only one, while the other tender was leaning towards a consortium led by the Spanish construction company Copisa.[29][30] However, as of December 2017, after the termination of challenge procedures,[31] only the Râșnov – Cristian segment was awarded for construction, to the Cypriot company Alpenside.[32] The bid for the Comarnic Sud – Comarnic Nord section had been canceled by February 2017, as the only bid was not in accordance with the terms.[31]

On 16 October 2018, the motorway Ploiești – Comarnic – Brașov (around 100 km) was once again tendered, as a public–private partnership, that would take 24 years and has an estimated cost of 1.36 billion euro. The Romanian state would contribute with 25%, while the private partner would contribute with 75%.[33] As of 17 December 2018, the tender's deadline, there were five companies or joint-venture interested.[34] The project received criticism from the NGO called Asociația Pro Infrastructură for lacking details of major importance.[34]

Brașov – Oradea section[edit]

A3 motorway between Gilău and Turda
A3 motorway near Cheile Turului
Suplacu de Barcău Viaduct under construction

This motorway segment, known as the Transylvania Motorway (Romanian: Autostrada Transilvania), was split into three parts, with several subsections: the Brașov (Cristian) – Târgu Mureș (Ogra) segment (160.1 km), the Târgu Mureș (Ogra) – Cluj-Napoca West (Gilău) segment (89.7 km) and the Cluj-Napoca West (Gilău) – Oradea West (Borș) segment (165.5 km).[35]

Of this section, only the Câmpia TurziiCluj-Napoca West (Gilău) segment (51.7 km) is completed and opened for traffic, since November 2010. The Suplacu de BarcăuBorș segment (64.5 km) has been under construction since 2004, but the contract was terminated in May 2013,[36] with the construction progress around 50%.[37]

In June 2014, new tenders were announced for several segments: Târgu MureșOgra (14.6 km)[38] and OgraCâmpia Turzii (37.2 km),[39] as well as for the remaining works on the Suplacu de BarcăuBorș segment (60.2 km).[40]

In the autumn of 2014, the GilăuNădășelu segment (8.7 km) was set to begin construction.[37]

Bechtel controversy[edit]

The entire section was originally scheduled to be built by the American company Bechtel Corporation together with its regional partner Enka of Turkey. The contract was awarded in 2004 to the Bechtel Corporation by the Social Democrat Prime-Minister Adrian Năstase without an open bidding process, invoking "national security" as an excuse.[41] The estimated construction cost was 2.8 billion € in 2003 and it rose to 4.7 billion € in a 2007 estimate.[42] Although officially the deadline was set for 2013, the final cost and finalization date remained unknown.[43]

As per the Romanian ministry of transportation, Anca Boagiu, the original contract was highly disadvantageous to the Romanian side.[citation needed] Following the contract renegotiation that occurred in June–July 2011,[44] Bechtel agreed to lower the building cost per kilometer by 50% down to 6.9 million euro.[45] Also it was decided that the American company will build only two segments (BorșSuplacu de Barcău and GilăuCâmpia Turzii), leaving all the other segments of the motorway open for tendering.[46]

Construction progress[edit]

Câmpia Turzii – Nădășelu section[edit]

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the Transylvania Motorway was held near the village of Vălișoara on 16 June 2004. On 1 December 2009, the TurdaGilău segment (42 km) was opened for traffic, followed on 13 November 2010, by the Câmpia TurziiTurda segment (10 km). As of January 2012, works were being performed only on the Suplacu de Barcău – Oradea West (Borș) segment,[47] with 17 km planned to be opened on 15 November 2012 and other 18 km on 30 August 2013.[48] However, not much progress was visible on this section by August 2012,[49] and the bridge across the Someșul Mic river, part of the Câmpia Turzii – Cluj-Napoca West (Gilău) segment, was also yet to be built.[50] In May 2013, the contract with the Bechtel Corporation was terminated through mutual agreement.[36] The construction status of the Suplacu de Barcău – Borș segment is reportedly at 50%.[37]

An additional 8.7 km segment, between Gilău and Nădășelu, was tendered in August 2012,[51] and awarded to the joint venture between Spedition UMB and Tehnostrade in April 2013.[52] Works on this segment were scheduled to begin as late as six months after signing the contract and take one year and a half to complete.[53] The segment would act as a bypass for Cluj-Napoca, the second most populous city in the country, on the route towards Zalău and Baia Mare.[54] The contract was reportedly terminated in June 2013, before any construction works started,[55] but works began in the summer of 2014, with an expected opening date in April 2016.[37][56] As of April 2017, the segment was largely completed, but unusable due to the fact that the bridge across the Someșul Mic river connecting with the Câmpia Turzii – Cluj-Napoca West (Gilău) segment was not completed.[57] A contract for the remaining works to this bridge was signed in September 2017, and they were expected to be completed by August 2018.[58] The works were finally completed in September 2018.[3] The contractor was the Italian company Tirrena Scavi.

Târgu Mureș – Câmpia Turzii section[edit]

The Section 2A from Târgu Mureș, via Ogra, to Câmpia Turzii, with a length of 52 km, was tendered in 2014,[59] and for four out of five lots, contracts have been signed at the end of February and early March 2015. Construction was set to take between 12 and 16 months, depending on the lot. The Târgu Mureș – Ogra lot 1 (between Târgu Mureș – Ungheni, 4.5 km of motorway and 4.7 km of connecting road) was awarded to the joint-venture Lemacons - Vega 93 - Arcada Company, for a cost of 179.8 million lei (excluding VAT). The Târgu Mureș – Ogra lot 2 (between Ungheni – Ogra, 10.1 km) was awarded to the joint-venture between Strabag and Straco Grup, for a cost of 251.3 million lei (excluding VAT). The Ogra – Câmpia Turzii lot 1 (between Ogra – Iernut, 3.6 km) was awarded to the joint-venture Geiger Transilvania - Wilhelm Geiger GmbH & Co. KG, for a cost of 55.8 million lei (excluding VAT). The Ogra – Câmpia Turzii lot 2 (between Iernut – Chețani, 17.9 km) was awarded to the joint-venture between Astaldi and Max Bögl, for a cost of 379.7 million lei (excluding VAT). The Ogra – Câmpia Turzii lot 3 (between Chețani – Câmpia Turzii, 15.7 km) was awarded to the joint venture Straco Grup - Specialist Consulting - Total Road, for a cost of 279.7 million lei (excluding VAT).

The contract for the Târgu Mureș – Ungheni section (lot 1) was terminated in April 2016, due to delays in pre-construction arrangements by the CNADNR,[60] and was awarded again in November 2017, to the Austrian company Strabag.[61] However, the bid was challenged in court and, as of April 2019, it is still pending.[62]

As of November 2018, two lots of the five on the Târgu Mureș – Câmpia Turzii sector were close to completion[63] and they should have been opened until the end of the year.[64]

On 12 December 2018, the Târgu Mureș – Ogra lot 2 and the Ogra – Câmpia Turzii lot 1 opened to traffic for a continuous motorway segment of 13.7 km between Ungheni and Iernut.[65]

Cluj-Napoca West – Borș section[edit]

The section is divided into three subsections: Cluj-Napoca West (Gilău) – Mihăiești, Mihăiești – Suplacu de Barcău and Suplacu de Barcău – Borș.[66]

The remaining works on the Suplacu de BarcăuBorș subsection (64.5 km) were awarded for construction in April 2015 (to the joint-venture of Corsán and Corviam Construcción),[67] but no progress had been recorded as of January 2016.[68] In November 2016, the contract was reportedly close to being terminated.[69]

In August 2018, the same subsection were auctioned for the third time,[67][70] with some of the winners of the bids still pending to be awarded. The section is divided into three lots: lot 1, Suplacu de Barcău – Chiribiș (26.3 km); lot 2, Chiribiș − Biharia (28.6 km), and lot 3, Biharia − Borș (5.4 km). In October 2018, the lot 2 was awarded to the Romanian company Trameco, part of the Selina Group,[71] but this was challenged and, as of April 2019, the final decision has not been reached yet. In December 2018, it was announced that the contract for the lot 3 was signed with a joint-venture led by the same company, Trameco.[72] The same month, the lot 1 was awarded to the same company, but the bid was challenged and the result is still expected.[62]

In March 2019, additional segments were tendered: Nădășelu – Mihăiești – Zimbor (30.1 km), Zimbor – Poarta Sălajului (12.2 km) and Nușfalău – Suplacu de Barcău (13.6 km).[62]

In June 2019, two more contracts were awarded: Suplacu de Barcău – Chiribiș (26.35 km) and Chiribiș – Biharia (28.55 km).[73]

Openings timeline[edit]

  • TurdaGilău segment (42 km) opened for traffic on 1 December 2009 and it currently serves as a motorway bypass for the city of Cluj-Napoca.[74]
  • Câmpia TurziiTurda segment (10 km) opened on 13 November 2010 and it currently serves as a motorway bypass for both these cities.[75]
  • Bucharest Ring RoadPloiești segment (55 km) opened on 19 July 2012.[7]
  • GilăuNădășelu segment (9.5 km, including the Someșul Mic viaduct) opened on 28 September 2018.[3]
  • Ungheni – Iernut segment (13.7 km) opened on 12 December 2018.
  • Bucharest (Petricani Street) – Bucharest Ring Road segment (6.5 km) opened on 14 December 2018.

Segments currently under construction[edit]

  • Iernut – Câmpia Turzii (33 km) is scheduled to be opened in late 2019.
  • Târgu Mureș – Ungheni (4.6 km) is scheduled to be completed in 2020.
  • Râsnov – Cristian segment (6.3 km) is scheduled for completion in 2020.
  • Suplacu de Barcau – Borș section (60 km) contracts have been awarded and the soonest opening (5.3 km) is scheduled for 2020.
  • Nadaselu - Suplacu de Barcau (55 of approx. 100 km) is currently being auctioned.

Exit list[edit]

Exits and buildings (Northbound)
Bucharest – Ploiești (62 km)
Motorway km 6 Gherghiței Street, Bucharest opened December 2018
Exit km 9 Popasului Street, Voluntari opened December 2018
Exit km 13 Bucharest Ring Road CB opened July 2012
Service area km 16 Parking opened
Service area km 23 Parking under construction
Exit km 25 Moara Vlăsiei DJ101 under construction
Service area km 26 Parking southbound only
Exit km 30 Snagov DC184 opened July 2012
Service area km 34 Parking under construction
Bridge km 38 Ialomița River opened July 2012
Service area km 41 Parking under construction
Exit km 43 Gherghița / Potigrafu DJ100B opened November 2015
Bridge km 47 Prahova River opened July 2012
Service area km 49 Parking under construction
Service area km 56 Parking under construction
Service area km 63 Parking under construction
Exit km 68 Ploiești South DN1 opened July 2012
Ungheni – Iernut (14 km)
Motorway km 0 Ungheni DN15 opened 2018
Exit km 14 Iernut DN15 opened 2018
Câmpia Turzii – Nădășelu (61 km)
Motorway km 0 Câmpia Turzii DN15 opened 2010
Exit km 9 Turda / Aiud DN1 opened 2009
Interchange km 9 Sebeș, Alba Iulia A10 opened July 2018
Service area km 10 Parking under construction
Bridge km 12 Arieș River opened 2009
Exit km 12 U-turn exit northbound only
Exit km 44 U-turn exit southbound only
Service area km 46 Parking under construction
Exit km 51 Cluj-Napoca West / Gilău DN1 opened 2009
Bridge km 52 Someșul Mic River opened Sept 2018
Exit km 61 Nădășelu DN1F DN1J opened Sept 2018

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lentgths displayed had been modified and are no longer accurate.


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