Plovdiv – Smolyan road partly re-opened as landslide clearing continues

The section of the road between Assenovgrad and Smolyan, blocked five days previously by a huge landslide, had been partly re-opened to traffic, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said on March 19.

The landslide brought down several thousand tons of rocks, and work to clear away the debris was continuing, the report said.

Traffic in the two directions was being allowed through at timed intervals. On the morning of March 19, there were long queues of cars waiting to pass, for up to an hour to drive along the single lane.

Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Nikolai Nankov told Bulgarian National Radio on March 19 that about 500 million leva (about 250 million euro) was needed to shore up landslide areas where urgent action was needed, while more than 871 million leva was needed to secure all landslide areas in the country in the 2015 to 2020 period.

However, the ministry’s budget for dealing with landslides was only 1.28 million leva for 2015, of which 750 000 leva was for monitoring and registering landslides.

This was insufficient, and other sources of funding would be sought, including European Union funds, Nankov said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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