Road agency urges motorists to drive carefully as snow blankets Bulgaria

Heavy snow continued to blanket much of Bulgaria for a third day on February 14, prompting the Road Infrastructure Agency to urge motorists to drive carefully and ensure their cars were prepared for winter conditions.

Ivan Dosev of the Road Infrastructure Agency told a briefing that overnight, there had been partial closures of the Trakiya Motorway between Sofia and Pazardzhik and the Hemus Motorway near Sofia.

Re-opening of the Trakiya Motorway had been delayed by more than an hour because motorists had entered the motorway in spite of it being closed, disrupting the cleaning process.

Snow clearing machines were working continuously and more would be deployed if necessary, he said.

Because of bad weather conditions in Greece, the neighbouring country had closed the Ilinden-Exochi border checkpoint with Bulgaria, and restricted the movement of vehicles over 3.5 tons through the Kulata border checkpoint, he said.

Bulgarian National Television said at noon on February 14 that an eight-kilometre queue of lorries had built up at the Kulata checkpoint.

Dosev called on drivers of heavy lorries who plan to travel to Greece to postpone their departure until the border checkpoints were re-opened, so as not to have to wait in the emergency lanes and cause queues on the Struma Motorway.

He said that Bulgaria’s high mountain passes were passable, though the passage of vehicles of more than 12 tons through the Predela, Petrohan and Troyan passes was restricted, while trailers and semi-trailers were banned from the Rozhen, Pechinsko and Prevala passes.

Sofia municipality said on February 14 that more than 170 snowploughs had been working all night to clear snow from roads in the capital city.

The municipality said that 93 homeless people were housed in its crisis centre. Each underwent a rapid antigen test for Covid-19. Disinfection of the premises was carried out regularly and all anti-epidemic measures complied with, the statement said.

Snowfall was forecast to end in much of Bulgaria by the night of February 14, with the first few days of next week set to see minimum temperatures well below zero across much of the country, with a warning of potentially dangerous weather in south-western districts of Bulgaria, including Sofia, because of low temperatures on Monday.

(Photo: Road Infrastructure Agency)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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