New Kaunas arena faces unexpected delays

As with the Ignalina containment unit, Vėtrūna is also dragging its feet on the Kaunas arena. Photo by Paulius.

KAUNAS, Lithuania — Delays in the construction of a new basketball arena in Kaunas has FIBA threatening to strike Lithuania’s second-largest city from the list of 2011 Eurobasket tournament host venues.

The new Žalgiris Arena, being built by the Vėtrūna construction company was supposed to be completed by October, but now the building has been given a new deadline of Jan. 1. FIBA Secretary General Nar Zanolin said this week that if Kaunas does not have the arena ready by Feb. 1, the championship game of 2011 Eurobasket will be held elsewhere which would mean the city’s hospitality industry would lose a major business opportunity.

The fact that the Telšiai-based Vėtrūna is completing the project late shouldn’t come as a surprise given the firm’s track record this year — a disagreement between Nukem Technologies and Vėtrūna has delayed the construction of a nuclear waste containment unit at Ignalina five years to 2013. It was supposed to be complete in 2008.

If the project is not finished by Jan. 1, Vėtrūna will likely be fined 0.01 percent of the total cost of the project, 10 million litai.

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