Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and his Romanian counterpart Victor Ponta took a stroll on October 24 on the completed bridge over the Danube River linking Vidin in Bulgaria to Calafat in Romania, but the bridge will not open for business until spring next year.
Although the bridge itself was completed, Spanish contractor FCC was still working on the infrastructure on the two banks of the Danube, but assured the two governments that the bridge will open for car and rail traffic in early spring, Borissov said.
European Commissioner for regional development Johannes Hahn, who accompanied the two heads of government, praised the two countries for successfully completing the project despite earlier delays. The EU financed a third of the construction costs through its pre-accession aid instrument Ispa, with the final costs at 300 million euro.
Although the bridge was initially to be completed by the end of 2011, the European Commission agreed to extend the deadline by one year, allowing the two countries to use Ispa funding instead of having to foot part of the rising costs themselves.
Romania’s cabinet has approved a memorandum that the joint management company for Danube Bridge 2, to be set up in the coming weeks, would be headquartered in Sofia, Ponta said.
(The only bridge currently in operation between Romania and Bulgaria, pictured, is further downstream, linking Rousse on the Bulgarian bank to Giurgiu in Romania. Photo: garycycles7/flickr.com)