Bulgaria cancels tenders for Hemus Motorway

Bulgaria cancelled on February 15 two tenders to build a 59km stretch of Hemus Motorway, in which the winners were awarded a combined 756.8 million leva, or about 387 million euro, citing lack of funds.

The Cabinet’s media service said that Prime Minister Boiko Borissov ordered the cancellation of the tenders, but gave no further details. Later, the Regional Development Ministry said that the tenders were cancelled because of “the impossibility to secure financing for the construction under the operational programme for transport and transport infrastructure for 2014-2020.”

Initially, the two short sections of the Hemus motorway were to be built using EU funds left over from monies allocated to the Struma motorway, but the construction on Struma would require the full 673 million euro allocated to highways that are part of trans-European corridors under the operational programme for transport, the Regional Development Ministry said.

Hemus Motorway will link Bulgaria’s capital city of Sofia to the Black Sea port of Varna, while Struma Motorway will link Sofia to the Koulata-Promachonas border crossing with Greece. Both motorways have been partially built, but progress on the two has been slow.

Reports in Bulgarian media said that the two tenders for Hemus motorway were won by consortia of firms linked to controversial media mogul Delyan Peevski and Valentin Zlatev, head of the Bulgarian refining and downstream operations of Russian oil company Lukoil. The terms of the awards envisioned costs rising up to 798 million leva.

The winning bids were nearly double the amounts initially envisaged by the Regional Development Ministry, with two foreign firms appealing the tenders’ outcomes, Bulgarian National Radio said on February 15.

(Struma Motorway. Photo: Bulgarian Road Infrastructure Agency)



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292