Several cars and lorries were involved in a chain-reaction crash on the outskirts of Bulgarian capital city Sofia on August 19. The accident occurred less than an hour before officials were due to open a new motorway stretch linking Sofia’s ring road to Hemus motorway, meant to speed up traffic exiting and entering the city.
Two people died and five more were injured in the accident, which involved four cars, two lorries and a bus, the Interior Ministry said. The accident is believed to have been caused by a tanker lorry with Romanian licence plates, reports said.
Traffic on Hemus motorway was rerouted and the opening of the road stretch linking to the motorway was delayed by several hours. In recent weeks, the area near the village of Yana has seen nearly daily traffic jams, caused by the construction work on the new road.
The new road stretch, about nine-kilometres-long, bypasses the villages of Dolni Bogrov and Gorni Bogrov and is expected to shorten the trip between Sofia and Varna by 20 minutes.
Some reports in Bulgarian media claimed that the new road had been completed last week and could have been opened before the weekend, although it is unclear if that could have prevented the car crash, which occurred on Hemus motorway itself, several kilometres before it links to the new road.
Nevertheless, this did not stop former prime minister Boiko Borissov – who at the weekend asked that the road is opened to traffic as soon as possible (work on the new road began when Borissov was mayor of Sofia and continued when he was prime minister) – from calling for the resignation of Regional Development Minister Dessislava Terzieva.
Terzieva hit back, saying that the construction work several kilometres away from the site of the accident could not have caused the chain-reaction crash and accusing Borissov of politicising the accident.
(Screengrab from Bulgarian National Television)