Archaeological work delays completion of highway in Bulgaria

Archaeologists and completion of the Trakiya motorway are delaying the construction of Maritsa highway, it has been established by checks by Bulgaria’s Road Infrastructure Agency and by Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Dyankov.

This is not the first time that archaeological work has been an issue frustrating the current Bulgarian government’s plans to extend the network of highways in the country. More than a year ago, Regional Development and Public Works Minister Liliyana Pavlova was involved in a public controversy after expressing annoyance at the pace at which archaeologists were working at the sites of two other highways, going so far as to suggest that they were “sabotaging” the construction projects.

This led to intervention by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and eventually to increasing funding for archaeological projects at the site of highway construction – and to Borissov urging archaeologists to get their jobs done through the winter, “even if Lili Pavlova has to come and hold an umbrella over you”.

On January 11 2013, Bulgarian-language website Mediapool quoted a transcript of the last Cabinet meeting of 2012, at which Deputy Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, when asked about progress on the highway, said, “so far, not very well”. This led Borissov to order Dyankov to carry out an on-site inspection.

The Trakiya motorway links Sofia to the Black Sea city of Bourgas via Plovdiv. The Maritsa motorway’s eventual 114km will link a point on the Trakiya motorway to a checkpoint on Bulgaria’s border with Turkey, to the south-east.

The Finance Ministry said that work on two archaeological sites was completed but work on a third site would be completed in late spring 2013, holding up the final 3.4km of the Maritsa highway to the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint.

Dyankov, opening construction work in November, had promised that it would be completed at the end of 2012, ahead of the March 2013 scheduled completion, but this was now unlikely given that archaeological work would finish only in the spring, the Finance Ministry said.

(Photo: Sascha Hoffmann/



The Sofia Globe staff

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