The A3 motorway (Romanian: Autostrada A3) is a partially built (approx. 18%) 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.
As of July 2012, there are two separate segments in service totalizing 107 km: the Bucharest – Ploiești motorway (55 km) and the Câmpia Turzii – Gilău segment (52 km).
A short segment (6.5 km) between the Bucharest Ring Road and the Bucharest downtown remains under construction, while an 8.7 km segment between Gilău and Nădășelu (in the Cluj County) is under construction since the summer of 2014.
In January 2015, the motorway section between Câmpia Turzii and Târgu Mureş was awarded for construction. It is divided into two segments, with a total of five lots, which sum up to 56.5 km.
The remaining works on the Suplacu de Barcău – Borș segment (64.5 km) were also awarded for construction in April 2015, but no progress had been recorded as of January 2016.
This motorway section (also called the "Snow Motorway") will cross the Carpathian Mountains along the Prahova Valley (the Comarnic – Brașov 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 Bucharest – Ploiești segment (62 km), the Ploiești – Comarnic segment (48.6 km) and the Comarnic – Brașov segment (58 km).
Works on the Bucharest – Ploiești section started on 15 March 2007 and were due to be completed by October 2012. 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 is 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. 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.
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), crosses over the Balta Saulei Lake, intersects the Gherghiței Street with a second roundabout (near 44°28′43″N 26°08′16″E), 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) and the Bucharest Ring Road.
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 not started yet because of remaining unfinished expropriations and should take at least one year and a half to complete.
The Ploiești – Comarnic section has been in pre-feasibility phase and its profitability is being considered. It is complemented by a relatively settlement-free section of the parallel national road DN1.
Works on the Comarnic – Brașov section, the most difficult segment of the motorway, were due to begin in 2010 and take around four years to complete, but the French–Greek consortium Vinci–Aktor denounced the contract and construction was canceled. Total construction cost of this section was estimated at 1.2 billion euro.
The segment was re-tendered as a concession contract in February 2013. It has been awarded in December 2013 to the joint venture between Vinci, Strabag and Aktor, for a period of 29 years, with an estimated construction cost of 1.8 billion euro. This section of the motorway will have three twin tunnels, with a total length of 19.4 km, at Sinaia, Bușteni and Predeal, and four interchanges, at Comarnic, Bușteni, Predeal and Râșnov. The route will follow the river valley until Posada, where it will cross on the opposite side of the river and will run along the mountain range until Sinaia, from where it will run nearly straight until Azuga, crossing through two twin tunnels that will bypass Sinaia and Bușteni, before crossing again to the eastern side of the river. According to media reports, works were expected to begin in April 2014, but they are currently pending, due to financial arrangements and the environmental certificate. According to the same reports, they shall be finalized in 2017.
As of 19 June 2015, the concession has been canceled.
As of 15 October 2015, section 1 (3.4 km) and section 5 (5.4 km) at the ends of the Ploiesti – Brasov section were separately tendered. For section 1, a bid by Spedition UMB and Tehnostrade remained the only one, while the other tender was won by a consortium led by Spanish construction company Copisa.
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).
Of this section, only the Câmpia Turzii – Cluj-Napoca West (Gilău) segment (51.7 km) is completed and opened for traffic, since November 2010. The Suplacu de Barcău – Borș segment (64.5 km) has been under construction since 2004, but the contract was terminated in May 2013, with the construction progress around 50%.
In June 2014, new tenders were announced for several segments: Târgu Mureș – Ogra (14.6 km) and Ogra – Câmpia Turzii (37.2 km), as well as for the remaining works on the Suplacu de Barcău – Borș segment (60.2 km).
In the autumn of 2014, the Gilău – Nădășelu segment (8.7 km) was set to begin construction.
The entire section was originally scheduled to be built by the American company Bechtel Corporation together with its regional partner Enka A.Ş. 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. The estimated construction cost was 2.8 billion € in 2003 and it rose to 4.7 billion € in a 2007 estimate. Although officially the deadline was set for 2013, the final cost and finalization date remained unknown.
As per the Romanian ministry of transportation, Anca Boagiu, the original contract was highly disadvantageous to the Romanian side. Following the contract renegotiation that occurred in June–July 2011, Bechtel agreed to lower the building cost per kilometer by 50% down to 6.9 million euro. Also it was decided that the American company will build only two segments (Borș – Suplacu de Barcău and Gilău – Câmpia Turzii), leaving all the other segments of the motorway open for tendering.
The official groundbreaking ceremony for the Transylvania Motorway was held near the village of Vălișoara on 16 June 2004. On 1 December 2009, the Turda – Gilău segment (42 km) was opened for traffic, followed on 13 November 2010, by the Câmpia Turzii – Turda segment (10 km). As of January 2012, works were being performed only on the Suplacu de Barcău – Oradea West (Borș) segment, with 17 km planned to be opened on 15 November 2012 and other 18 km on 30 August 2013. However, not much progress was visible on this section by August 2012, and the bridge across the Someșul Mic river, part of the Câmpia Turzii – Cluj-Napoca West (Gilău) segment, is also yet to be built. In May 2013, the contract with the Bechtel Corporation was terminated through mutual agreement. The construction status of the Suplacu de Barcău – Borș segment is reportedly at 50%.
An additional 8.7 km segment, between Gilău and Nădășelu, was tendered in August 2012, and awarded to the joint venture between Spedition UMB and Tehnostrade. 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. 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. The contract was reportedly terminated in June 2013, before any construction works started, but works began in the summer of 2014, with an expected opening date in April 2016.
The Section 2A from Targu Mures via Ogra to Campia Turzii, with a length of 52 km, was tendered in 2014, and for four out of five lots, contracts have been signed at the end of February and early March 2015. Construction is set to take between 12 and 16 months, depending on the lot.Turda – Gilău segment (42 km) opened for traffic on 1 December 2009 and it currently serves as a motorway bypass for the city of Cluj-Napoca.
Câmpia Turzii – Turda segment (10 km) opened on 13 November 2010 and it currently serves as a motorway bypass for both these cities.
Bucharest Ring Road – Ploiești segment (55 km) opened on 19 July 2012.
Next scheduled opening: Bucharest-Popasului Street - Bucharest Ring Road segment (4 km) in January 2017.