Bulgaria’s Regional Development Minister Dessislava Terzieva appointed Stefan Chaikov as chairperson of the board at Bulgaria’s Road Infrastructure Agency on August 27.
In presenting Chaikov to the media at a news conference, Terzieva said that Chaikov had extensive experience in the industry and would play a key role in ensuring continuity at the helm of the agency.
Chaikov said that the main tasks he would focus on would be to increase “the agency’s expert potential” and draft a long-term strategy for the rehabilitation, repairs and maintenance of Bulgaria’s roads until 2020.
Chaikov was previously the head of the road construction industry chamber, a position to which he was elected in 2011. Bulgarian news website Mediapool.bg said that he owned stakes in about a dozen companies that carry out road construction planning and oversight, but was yet to formally step down from managerial positions in such companies or transfer his shares.
His predecessor, Lazar Lazarov, would stay on as a member of the road infrastructure agency’s board of directors, Terzieva said.
Lazarov, appointed under the previous administration, was allowed to stay as head of the agency for an additional two months to oversee the final stages of work on several motorway projects – including the last stretch of Trakia motorway (where one of Chaikov’s company’s was hired to do quality assurance), a stretch of Struma motorway near Dupnitsa and the link between the Sofia ring road and Hemus motorway, Mediapool.bg said.
Lazarov last made headlines just a day before his demotion, on August 26, when he was forced to answer questions about the large traffic congestion on Trakia motorway between Sofia and Plovdiv, caused by repair work on the motorway.
The bottleneck on the motorway caused traffic congestion for about 15km on August 25, with thousands of motorists returning from the Black Sea coast caught in the traffic jam for hours. (Eye-witness accounts said that there was no traffic police on the site to direct traffic to detour roads, nor was there any work being done on the Sunday afternoon.)
On August 26, the road infrastructure agency said that motorists should detour through Kostenets and Belovo:
(Top photo: Road Infrastructure Agency chief Stefan Chaikov and Regional Development Minister Dessislava Terzieva. Photo: Regional Development Ministry)