Extension of Bulgaria’s Struma Motorway underway

Written by on September 1, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Extension of Bulgaria’s Struma Motorway underway

A new 12-kilometer-stretch is being added to Struma Motorway in South-Western Bulgaria. The construction work commenced on Thursday.

This part of the Motorway will be completed in two years from now and cost 140 million Leva, the equivalent of 71.58 million Euro.

Upon completion, Struma Motorway will connect Sofia to the Greek border around the town of Kulata. At this stage, most of the route is covered by a country road only, which does get congested. The new stretch will extend from Blagoevgrad to the village of Krupnik and include two large junctions as well as a sophisticated video surveillance system.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, Nikolay Nankov, Bulgaria’s Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, said the construction of the motorway was “a priority of national and European importance.” His comments were broadcast by Bulgarian National Television (BNT).

For years, there has been a big argument about Struma Motorway, since it was supposed to lead right through Kresna Gorge, a nature reserve with 3,500 species of flora and fauna. NGOs are demanding a solution which would make the motorway bypass Kresna Gorge.

Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski was quoted saying, human life was “more important than the life of any protected plant or animals”. The NGOs disagree.

In the meantime, Nankov said he hoped for a construction permit until May of 2019, for the stretch in question.

Photo and graphic by BNT

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Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com