A joint venture led by Astaldi has been awarded a contract for the extension of the Bucharest underground network by Romanian transport authority Metrorex.

The Italian contractor's slice of the Line 5 project is worth € 215 million and represents 39% of the joint contract. Metrorex also commissioned Spanish contractor FCC and "two local companies" for the joint venture project linking the capital from East to West with 9 km of tunnels and 14 new stations.

Astaldi has been appointed to design and undertake structural works for Line 5 on a 6 km stretch of underground track linking Drumul Taberei in south-west Bucharest to Pantelimon in the south-east. The contractor will also build nine of the new stations.

Astaldi said work with a tunnel boring machine was scheduled to start at the end of the first half of 2011. It said its work on Line five would run for 25 months.

In November 2009, the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a loan contract totalling € 395 million to support the underground extension. The Romanian state is financing the remaining € 488 million of the estimated € 883 million total cost of modernising the Bucharest underground network - a figure which includes the purchase of new rolling stock.

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