Minister Shishkov: I hope within a year and a half Europe Motorway will be fully completed

Minister Shishkov: I hope within a year and a half Europe Motorway will be fully completed

12 May 2023 | 13:00

“Today is a good day because we will be able to make the first sod of the last section of the Europe Motorway. This is what the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works architect Ivan Shishkov said at a ceremony marking the start of construction of the remaining 16.5 kilometres of the infrastructure project. As of today, construction has started on a nearly 6-kilometer stretch /from km 39+600 to km 45+300/, for which expropriations have been completed and a building permit issued as of 28.04.2023. After the site is secured, work will continue on the remaining 10.5 km.

The ceremony was attended by Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Nikolay Shushkov, Governor of Sofia Region Radoslav Stoychev, Engineer Desislava Paunova - member of the Board of the Road Infrastructure Agency, the Mayors of Slivnitsa, Kostinbrod, Bozhurishte, Prolesha, Herakovo, Hrabarsko and others.

The Minister pointed out that the start of the work on the route is the result of the huge effort made for its implementation since the inauguration of the caretaker cabinet. To this end, within eight months, detailed development plans have been approved for this section, expropriations have been carried out and a building permit has been issued. The minister showed the document and thanked all the mayors of the localities through which the future route will pass who have helped to make today come. And expressed the expectation that the builder will work intensively and qualitatively and within a year and a half will have permission to use the section.

Speaking to the media after the ceremony, Minister Shishkov explained that the construction permit had been issued for nearly 6 kilometres of the 16.5-kilometre stretch co-financed with EU funds so that the contractor could start work. And he reminded that the section is part of the motorways, which he described as “asleep”. The Regional Minister expressed his satisfaction that the efforts made have yielded results and a front has been given to work on the last section of the Motorway Europe. “I hope we can prove to our partners that we are making progress and get a reprieve within the next year so we don’t lose the money. If today were not there, we would certainly lose the money,” Ivan Shishkov said. He added that it was extremely important that this motorway be fully ready and connect Bulgaria with Serbia and Europe.

The Regional Minister informed that the expropriation of the necessary land for the construction of the remaining part of the route is expected to be completed in a month and in about a month - month and a half there will be a building permit for it so that the builder can proceed. “For us the deadlines are extremely important. It was not by chance that I thanked everyone who worked actively, because the effort was great. This section, however small it is - 16.5 km, we suffered it purely procedurally. We have worked very hard and today I am personally pleased that we are making the groundbreaking. We may have another whole highway in a year and a half,” Minister Shishkov said. And he reminded that apart from the Trakia Motorway, there is no other fully completed. “In a conversation with the builder, he told me that he needs two summers. If we had delayed a few more months, the problem of a completed highway within the next year would be real,” he said.

Responding to a question about the “sleepy motorways”, the Minister informed that the first stage of the strengthening of the landslide at the Zheleznitsa tunnel on the Struma Motorway is expected to be completed by August, so that traffic in one direction through the facility can be released. “Soon we will make the first sod, albeit in a very small section of the motorway, which we are practically entering with the gorge in mind. I say that because the alignment hasn’t been decided yet. There is a decision to be made there. In this respect, the Struma motorway is the other one where we have the great ambition to make it so that the construction starts and is completed as soon as possible and the Struma motorway is completed in its entirety,” architect Shishkov said.

“Intensive work is being done on the expropriation of the new highway Ruse - Veliko Tarnovo. We expect that in September we will have the expropriation of part of the Ruse - Byala section completed and ready for the start of construction. Every kilometre is important and every front we can put forward, as you can see, we are putting it forward,” the minister added.

The section of Europe Motorway /from km 32+447 to km 48+903/ will run on a completely new route between Slivnitsa and the Sofia ring road and will flow into the Northern Expressway. 5 underpasses, 2 overpasses, 2 bridges and 1 viaduct will be built, as well as four road connections and two road junctions - “Kostinbrod” and “Mramor”.

The contractor of the construction is Company under the Obligations and Contracts Act “Europe-2022”. GBS-Infrastructure construction AD, Glavbolgarstroy International EAD and Obonato Build EOOD participate in the project. The value of the contract is BGN 266 959 487,34 including VAT. The construction supervision was awarded to Company under the Obligations and Contracts Act “Europe”, with participants - Patinvestengineering JSC, Stroynorm EOOD and R G Consulting Ltd. Their contract is for BGN 5 599 999,20 including VAT.

The construction of the section between Slivnitsa and the Sofia Ring Road is part of the project “Motorway Europe from km 15+500 to km 48+903” (BG16M1OP001-2.001-0005), co-financed by the Cohesion Fund of the European Union and the national budget through the Operational Programme on Transport and Transport Infrastructure 2014-2020. The project includes two sections - from Dragoman to Slivnitsa /from km 15+500 to km 32+447,20/, which is put into operation in June 2021, and from Slivnitsa to Sofia ring road /from km 32+447,20 to km 48+903/.