Sofia: Boulevard Dondukov will not be ready on time

Written by on October 23, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Sofia: Boulevard Dondukov will not be ready on time

The overdue renovation of Boulevard Dondukov, an important traffic artery in the centre of Sofia, was supposed to commence on June 1, 2017. Then, discussions followed. Cobblestone vs. asphalt and all of that. The Bulgarian Ministry of Culture insisted on not changing the aura of the city too much. Therefore, the cobblestone alternative won.

On July 3, 2017, a month late, the construction work started. Workers began taking the boulevard apart completely, including the old cobble stones and the tram tracks. Even new water pipes were installed. The whole enchilada.

Pedestrians are forced to walk right through the construction site.

The idea was to get the job done, before everyone returns from the summer holiday, including hundreds of students at the First English Language School as well as the primary school which uses the same building, on Boulevard Dondukov. So, Sofia Municipality originally said everything was supposed to be ready on August 31.

Then it became obvious that it would take a lot longer. So, they said the city would have a fully refurbished Boulevard Dondukov on October 31.

That second deadline is a week away and, looking at the construction site, the only conclusion one can draw is that the refurbishment will take at least two weeks longer.

These tram tracks seem to be ready, on a relatively short part of the construction site.

Between the corners with Boulevard Vassil Levski and Raikovski Street, the tram tracks were installed only about half way by now. The actual street surface has only gotten to the sand level. A concrete layer and the tens of thousands of of cobble stones are still missing.

Several problems exist in Sofia, because of the ongoing construction on Dondukov:

> Trams 20, 22, and 23 only operate part of the way. Bus 22TM, which is supposed to be the substitute, is unreliable and often does not arrive for 30 minutes or longer. Especially for elderly people, this is an issue.

> There is a lot of noise, which annoys the inhabitants. Now it looks like they will have to endure this status much longer than initially announced.

> Since Dondukov is partially closed, lots of bad traffic jams are building up on several parallel streets and boulevards.

> Pedestrians don’t have any space anymore either. At the corner with Raikovski Street, people are forced to walk right through the construction site, which is rather unconventional and actually dangerous.

The yellow cobblestone surface on the western end of Dondukov is falling apart.

Today, Sofia is under a Code Yellow weather alert due to heavy rainfall expected by forecasters. This aspect will not exactly help the construction either.

Also, there is yet another problem: The street surface made up of those famous yellow cobblestones on the Largo side of Dondukov, is falling apart. Again.

At least Boulevard Dondukov, in the Bulgarian capital, will be ready for the country’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

All photos by Imanuel Marcus, all of them were taken on October 23, 2017.





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