It is nice to travel from A to B in you own car, unless you are on Boulevard Dondukov in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. Like the surface of the Moon, that street will shake any driver or passenger like a daiquiri. The same applies to tram passengers. When they reach their destination, they will feel like a Margarita on crushed ice. Shaken, not stirred.
Boulevard Dondukov is terrible. The state of it is. But that will change. Starting on June 1st, it will be refurbished. At this stage, it is unclear where the tram lines 20, 22 and 23 will go during the road work. But, whatever will happen on Dondukov has to happen.
The repair work on Boulevard Dondukov will be only one of a total of eight construction sites in Sofia, this summer. And that number does not include the ongoing construction of the third Metro line.
Boulevard Todor Kableshkov in the Buxton quarter of Sofia sucks big-time as well. It may be less shaky than Boulevard Dondukov. The main problem here is traffic. Since the little market at the corner of Kabelshkov and General Stefan Toshev Street disappeared, in order to make room for some kind of a shopping center, since Kaufland opened a store up there, this boulevard is exploding. It definitely needs to be widened and repaired. And it will be.
Let’s not even mention Montevideo Street in the Ovcha Koupel neighbourhood, which houses the New Bulgarian University, a large school and lots of apartment blocks. Especially the southern part of that one does not even deserve the expression “street”. It is covered with holes as deep as asteroid craters, and its state has not improved in the past decades, during which absolutely nothing was done up there. The municipality will now do what it has to do.
There is even more. Boulevard Praga is almost undriveable. It will finally be repaired, along with even more Sofia streets, including Mayor Fandakova’s favourite: Graf Ignatiev Street. Tsarigradsko Chaussee, one of the most important routes in and out of Sofia, will be refurbished too. In this case it isn’t the first time.
Road work costs money. So do new trams, which are being ordered. According to Bulgarian language media, Sofia will spend 71 million Leva (about 36 million Euro) and some change.
All of that road work also means chaos. But it will be good chaos, since the inhabitants of Sofia will know why they will have to go through it.
Photo by Imanuel Marcus