Bulgaria’s Cabinet approved on August 7 the allocation of up to 857.5 million leva in Budget funding for two major infrastructure projects co-financed with European Union funds.
The bulk of the money, up to 741.1 million leva, are for the Strouma Motorway that links capital city Sofia to the Koulata-Promachon border checkpoint on the border with Greece.
The funds would be used for the construction of the most difficult and expensive stretch of the motorway, through the Kresna gorge, which is also slated to receive EU funding in the current EU multi-year budget for 2014/20.
Part of the funding will also be used on the rehabilitation of some of the already-built parts of the motorway, the Cabinet’s media service said in a statement.
The motorway has seen increased traffic in recent years, as it is the preferred route for Bulgarian holidaymakers heading to and returning from Greece.
The Government also allocated an additional 116.4 million leva for the modernisation of the railway stretch between Kostenets and Septemvri, which is a key part of the country’s rail infrastructure as it handles traffic from Bourgas Port and Turkey towards the border with Serbia.
Although the choice of a contractor for the modernisation contract has been bogged down in courts, a final decision by the Supreme Administrative Court in April has settled the issue and the project can go ahead, the Cabinet said.
The modernisation of the rail line is also expected to have a positive impact on the comfort and speed of trains travelling between Sofia and Bulgaria’s second-largest city of Plovdiv after it is completed in 2024.
(Bulgaria’s Government building. Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)