Bulgaria’s acting Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova signed on February 27 the contract for the construction of the 37km section of the Strouma motorway between Doupnitsa and Blagoevgrad.
Strouma motorway, meant to will link capital city Sofia to the Greek border, is to be built in two stages, broken down into four separate sections. The contract signed on February 27 is for the so-called “lot 2” of the motorway.
The section will cost 299 million leva and will be built by Italy’s Impresa SpA, in consortium with two Bulgarian construction companies. The deadline for the completion of construction is 22 months.
The signing comes a day after the European Commission approved Bulgaria’s application for 342 million euro in cohesion funding for Strouma motorway, including 274 million euro as a grant.
Funding for three of the four sections of Strouma motorway has been allocated under EU’s current budget framework, covering the period 2006/13. Funding for the longest stretch, 64km between Blagoevgrad and Sandanski, part of which will cross the Kresna gorge, is envisioned to come from the next EU budget for 2014/2020.
Construction on the Doupnits-Blagoevgrad stretch is expected to start from the middle, the head of Bulgaria’s road infrastructure agency, Lazar Lazarov said.
The reason is that no items of archaeological interest were found in that area, so work can start immediately, whereas in other parts of the motorway stretch work will begin only after archaeological crews have recovered any items of interest, he said.
Archaeological digs have been a persistent and recurring issue for the Government and the firms contracted to build part of the Trakiya motorway, leading to the occasional heated exchange in the media throughout 2012.
(Photo: Michal Zacharzewski/sxc.hu)