In Bulgaria, the authorities have prepared for the upcoming winter vacation, which includes Christmas and New Year’s Eve. They want to ensure safety on the roads and in cities.
Friday, December 22 is the last school day this year. School kids will be off until January 3, 2018, which is the first school day of the new year, while employees will be back at work after the official Christmas holidays, on December 28, unless they took a longer vacation.
What this means is that there might be rather bad traffic jams in and around cities such as Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas. Border crossings in Kulata, Kalotina and elsewhere might be crammed too.
The fact that weather forecasters are expecting snowfall in western and central Bulgaria on December 23 is an aspect which might not exactly improve the traffic flow either. Bing Crosby might be right about “White Christmas” in parts of the country this year, but he did not include traffic jams in his hit song, did he?
According to Interior Minister Valentin Radev, there will be an increased police presence all over Bulgaria. This includes roads and highly frequented places such as shopping malls.
The officers are supposed to help prevent accidents by checking many vehicles and their drivers. This is about making sure drivers are neither drunk nor stoned. Minister Radev also said, police would make sure vehicles on the roads will move with their headlights on and drivers will refrain from speeding.
On December 22, 27, 29 and on January 2, there will be a ban on trucks heavier than 12 tons on all roads in the country. The ban applies from 4pm to 8pm.
All construction work on important roads in Bulgaria is supposed to be completed today. Besides, the country has a total of 3,000 snow ploughs standing by. Some of them might actually be needed, at least on December 23.
On top of all of the above, the authorities prepared security measures in city centres throughout Bulgaria for New Year’s Eve. Some 20,000 people are expected at Sofia’s King Alexander I Square for the big New Year’s party Sofia Municipality is throwing, in cooperation with Bulgarian National Television.
Hundreds of police officers will be there, in order to ensure safety. Like last year, individuals who are visibly intoxicated will not be admitted to the event. Large bags, glass bottles or weapons are not allowed there either.