Comment: Romania’s almost hidden highway work or how the Transport Ministry should PR for its projects

I always hear people complaining about Romania’s bad roads, and countless times I’ve complained myself. Our car god only knows how many times! A lot of people complain of the slow pace of highway work in Romania, and of how much the country ends up spending to build only small portions of highways. That is a shame indeed, and there should be no excuses.

But guess what? Somewhere in this country, some people are actually building new roads, and until you see it with your own eyes, you almost don’t believe anything is being done in this country in respect to road infrastructure. Sure, authorities and politicians send press releases and talk about kilometers here and a few kilometers there- but how is that supposed to convince us? Show me, don’t just tell me!

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I believe the Romanian Government and especially the Transport Ministry should have a much better organized campaign for promoting the investments they make in Romania’s infrastructure. What they do is send some press releases, then delays happen, the media writes about it, everyone is left with a bad impression, and in the end when the highway/road is finished, the pictures they send to the media involve a bunch of politicians and a ribbon that needs to be cut. I, as a citizen, am not painted the picture of the hard road work behind that inauguration, and I think that would create a better image for those politicians than their pictures while cutting the ribbon. I heard that on the opening of the Calafat – Vidin bridge – which was a joint Romania-Bulgaria project – journalists were not even taken to the actual bridge, because the ‘ceremony’ and the speeches happened somewhere else – close by, but not that close – where a stage was improvised.

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I recently went on a trip to Transylvania and I got to see for a couple of kilometers, even if from afar, people working on the highway from Sibiu to Orastie. And despite all the talks about the slow pace of work on a highway, I was moved by the work happening there, as I realized what a hard thing it is to build a highway, cutting through hills, leveling up, building large bridges. As it was almost parallel and at times quite close to the existing road, I could see the state of work, and then I realized a lot of people only get to see these images if they happen to drive by.

If I were the Transport Ministry, I would ether hire an agency or instruct my internal team to push, in a professional way,all these projects, and not just random shots here and there, but an intelligent campaign, giving journalists the info they need, and this would definitely improved Romania’s image. Something even earlier to do: The Transport Ministry should send the media status updates on work on the projects it runs, but they should have pictures, they must send pictures, that would be essential. So I decided to check what sort of pictures they do have. But what do I see when I open the website of the Ministry of Transport? I see a huge picture of the Minister signing a document – the privatization of CFR Marfa. If they featured instead a few very good shots from several construction sites, plus maybe a story of how that project came to life, what a change of image! Focusing on something being done for the people of Romania, rather than on creating an image for a politician. In many cases, construction companies which work on such projects are better at PR-ing projects like these than the authorities are. A good campaign showing the actual progress of work in this sensitive area for Romania would help shift the image we have, of a highway snail.

I took a few pictures of the work being done on the highway I mentioned earlier, and I hope to see a lot of these going on in Romania (and finalized as well ) so that I can, at least once in my lifetime, cross Romania from all sides only by using highways!

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Corina Chirileasa, [email protected]

(photos: Corina Chirileasa/Romania-Insider.com)

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