Sofia’s Dondukov Boulevard re-opened after long drama

Written by on November 18, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Sofia’s Dondukov Boulevard re-opened after long drama

In the Bulgarian capital Sofia, a long drama is almost over, at least for now. Dondukov Boulevard, an important traffic artery, was finally opened again on the night of November 17. This means the traffic flow in parts of the city centre should improve, at least to some extent.

Before the refurbishment of Dondukov finally started with a big delay, on July 3, the boulevard was in a terrible state. The tram tracks were falling apart. Passengers on tram lines 20, 22 and 23 were shaken like a Daiquiri, which is why all trams had to move slowly.

The cobblestone part for the car traffic was rubble as well. Potholes, as deep as the Grand Canyon, did not exactly contribute to the comfort of passengers in any vehicles. That is why Sofia Municipality developed a brilliant idea: They decided to have the boulevard repaired.

Believe it or not: Trams were actually back on Dondukov on Saturday morning. 

Big discussions delayed the whole thing. The inhabitants wanted Dondukov asphalted. So did the mayor. But the Ministry of Culture thought the character of the Bulgarian capital would suffer. So they decided the boulevard would have to be covered with cobblestones.

For that reason, Sofia municipality at some point said that there could not be any bicycle lane. But two weeks later they said that they would have bike lanes added anyway. Those were built on one side only, for both directions. According to critics, that kind of solution poses dangers.

During the long repair, residents living right on Dondukov Boulevard said they felt “all of Sofia is closed”. This had to do with the way pedestrians were treated. During the repairs they had to walk up to a kilometre to be able to cross the street.

Only the pavements and street lamps need more work. 

On some stretches of the street, pedestrians just walked across the construction site, bypassing moving lorries, steamrollers and piles of material. Women wearing high heels, and everyone else, would have to walk through sand and mud.

Dondukov Boulevard was supposed to be ready on September 15, on the first day of school. The municipality even organised a beach volleyball match, right on the boulevard, in order to celebrate the end of the construction work.

But the reopening had to be postponed several times. At some point, October 31 was the day, but that one was scrapped too.

Now, the street is finally open, while work on the pavement continues. Also, lamps still have to be installed.

The reopening of Dondukov Boulevard will improve traffic on Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard, Vassil Levski  Boulevard, Raikovski Street, General Nikolaev Boulevard and Slivnitsa Boulevard. The ‘TM20’ bus line, which connected the interrupted tram lines, was just scrapped.

Oh, wait a minute: The longest part of Dondukov Boulevard did not get cobblestones after all, but a smooth asphalt surface. This applies from the intersection with Rakovski Street all the way to the eastern end of Dondukov.




About the Author

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's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. Please click to support our advertisers!