The European Commission said on June 8 that it has approved 86.6 million euro in new funding from the European Regional Development Fund for extending the third line of the metro rail system in the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia.
The money will be used on the second stage of construction, which aims to build about four km of new line and four new stations, linking the city centre to the Sofia ring road via the Ovcha Koupel district in the south-western part of the city.
Sofia Metro’s third line, construction on which is under way following last year’s 368 million euro grant from the European Regional Development Fund, will initially link the residential districts of Souhata Reka, Hadzhi Dimitar, Krasno Selo, Slavia, Belite Brezi, Lagera and Hipodruma with the centre of Sofia.
When completed, the third line of the Sofia Metro is envisioned to have 18 stations, linking to the two existing lines at the Sofia University and National Palace of Culture (NDK), according to the plans by Sofia city hall company Metropolitan, which also include further extensions to the first two metro lines.
Construction on the first stage of the new line began in January 2016, with the initial eight-stop section due to be completed in 2019. The first stage of construction will cost 848 million leva (about 433.6 million euro), the Transport Ministry said in a statement at the time.
“The metro in Sofia is used by over half a million people every day; it has become a part of everyday life in the city, and the inhabitants now enjoy a modern, accessible and comfortable public transport system, in addition to a reduction in travel times, air pollution and traffic jam in the entire capital. And all of this was made possible thanks to the significant financial support of the EU,” the European commissioner for regional policy Corina Cretu said in the statement on June 8.
Even before its funding for line 3, the European Commission allocated about 500 million euro for expanding lines 1 and 2 in the 2007-2013 funding period, which allowed the construction of the extensions to the Sofia Airport and the Sofia Business Park.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)