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Giant German Machine Begins Work at Bulgaria's Capital Metro

Date: 07.04.2010

The German machine, especially ordered for the construction works for the expansion of the metro in Bulgaria's capital, was officially set in motion Tuesday.

The so-called mole equipment, weighting 1 600 tons, named Saint Sofia, will be used for underground excavations at the speed of 9 meters per day.

The mole will be used to build the major part of the second segment from the Nadezda district through Maria Louisa and Vitosha boulevards to the Patriarch Evtimii boulevard intersection. The deadline is September 2012.

The machine, costing EUR 15 M, is made in Germany, and was ordered by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, during his trip to Baden-Württemberg at the end of 2009. Its parts were transported via the Danube river and assembled in Bulgaria in the last 2 months. The excavated tunnel will be large enough to allow the simultaneous laying of rails in both directions.

The second segment is built by the Turkish contractor Dogus Insaat ve Ticaret. The PM, who launched the use of the excavating machine, pointed out that Turkish companies are disciplined and welcomed in Bulgaria under the condition the contracts include clear clauses unlike the one with Mapa Cengiz, which led to delays and huge price hikes. (Mapa Cengiz is the Turkish contractor for the Lyulin highway and the deal was sealed by the former Three-Way Coalition cabinet.)

Borisov said during the opening ceremony that the works will be delayed only over force major events such as earthquakes or floods, adding the Sofia City Hall had absorbed 100% from the European Union financing.

The PM, who is also the former Mayor of Sofia, further revealed that under his management the City Hall hid BGN 60 M from the previous cabinet so that they do not squander the money away and the capital can have a modern subway.

The Sofia metro is financed in full, according to Borisov, mainly with money from the City Hall and the European Union and with very small amounts from the State.

The PM also stressed that the machine is brand new not like schemes of the former government when contracts were signed without the necessary financing with the only goal for someone to receive a hefty commission.

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