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Bulgaria Can't Afford to Complete Northern Hemus Highway

Date: 11.09.2009

The Bulgarian state cannot afford completing the northern Hemus Highway, according to the Regional Minister

Bulgaria does not have the funds to complete the Hemus highway, which is the only highway project in the northern part of the country.

According to Regional Development Minister, Rosen Plevneliev, as cited by the BTA, the completion of the Hemus Highway will cost about EUR 1,4-1,5 B, which is way too expensive for the state budget.

At the same time, the construction is very complicated because of the rough terrain. Plevneliev said the state could think of alternative decisions such as building additional lanes at certain spots, instead of building the whole highway.

The construction of the Hemus Highway, which is supposed to connect Sofia and Varna through Northern Bulgaria, has started back in the 1970s. Of its supposed total length of 433 km, only two stretches - between Sofia and Yablanitsa, and Varna and Shumen - are in operation totaling 151 km in length. No date has been fixed for the completion of the Hemus Highway.

The Regional Minister announced his team would have a specific action plan for the southern Trakiya Highway (connecting Sofia and Burgas on the Black Sea) on September 14, 2009, and that he hoped an executer of project to complete the stretch of the Trakiya Highway between Stara Zagora and Burgas would be selected by the end of 2010.

In his words, the construction of three lots of the Maritsa Highway (connecting Trakiya Highway with the Bulgaria-Turkey border), and two lots of the Struma Highway (connecting Sofia with the Bulgaria-Greece border), is also expected to start by the end of 2010.

The GERB government has promised that by the end of its term in 2013 it would have completed three highways - Trakiya, Maritsa, and Lyulin (connecting Sofia with the Bulgaria-Serbia border).

On Saturday, Plevneliev said that the Black Sea (Cherno More) Highway connecting Varna and Burgas, might be ready by the end of 2014, and that it might be considered an extension of the Trakiya Highway.

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