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Bulgaria inks Danube bridge infrastructure deal

Date: 27.10.2007

Bulgaria signed on Friday the deal with Spain's FCC Construccion to build the road and railway infrastructure on the Bulgarian side of the second bridge over Danube linking the EU's two newest member states.

The Spanish firm will have to build 15 kilometres of railway, complete with the electrical wiring, plus a cargo station and upgrade the existing passenger station.

FCC Construcction will have until end-2010 to complete the works and will be paid EUR 62,6 M for them. The firm won the EUR 100 M tender to build the bridge proper earlier this year.

The total costs of the project are estimated at EUR 236 M and will be funded largely with money from ISPA programmes of the EU, from the European Investment Bank and other international financial institutions.

British firm High-Point Rendel will be paid EUR 2,7 M to supervise the execution of the contract, Bulgarian deputy transport minister Vessela Gospodinova told reporters at the signing ceremony.

Bulgaria's cabinet hopes to complete the buyout of the land that will be used for the project by the end of the year, she added.

The bridge will link the Bulgarian Danube port of Vidin to the Romanian city of Calafat by road and rail. It is a key element of a European transport corridor from the German city of Dresden to Istanbul in Turkey.

The facility will be 1971 meter-long, including a road and a rail bridges with two lanes in each direction as well as one railway track.

Bulgaria and Romania, which both joined the European Union on January 1, signed an agreement to build the Vidin-Calafat bridge in 2000, but various obstacles delayed the project.

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