The Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications is preparing infrastructure projects worth over 3 billion BGN in Northwestern Bulgaria. This transpired at a forum dedicated to the projects under OP Transport in the region.
The Ministry experts said that currently OP Transport is implemented at very good pace and the grant aid will be fully absorbed. "The European Commission has attached priority to intensifying of work along Pan-European Transport Corridor IV and Bulgaria makes efforts to have ready projects that it could propose after 2014," said Galina Vassileva, Director of the Coordination of Programmes and Projects Directorate at the Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications. At present, over 72% of the Danube Bridge 2 project have been implemented and, after its completion, traffic of over 100,000 vehicles is expected already during the first year, Vassileva explained. These are the vehicles that are currently using the two ferryboats at Vidin and Oryahovo and that are expected to opt for the bridge after it is finished. "The country should have sufficient infrastructure capacity so as to service the traffic that is expected to increase continuously in the following years," Galina Vassileva explained.
The bidding procedures for the construction of the ring roads of Vratsa and Montana under OP Transport have been launched. They are expected to be completed at the end of 2014 and their provisional value exceeds 74 million BGN. A project on upgrading of the Vratsa (Mezdra) - Botevgrad section is in the process of preparation. Its length is slightly over 32 km and its provisional value is 166 million BGN.
The Railway Infrastructure National Company (NINC) presented the biggest railway project being prepared in Bulgaria. This is the Vidin-Sofia stretch. Work is currently carried out on the Rouska Byala - Vidin stretch that will be divided into five sections as their estimated value is about 2,5 billion BGN. The company experts hope that after 2014 the country will have funds so as to begin the construction of some of them.
The forum discussed the problem with the running of the line through the town of Vratsa and the demand of the local people that the railway line passes instead via an underground tunnel. The NINC representatives explained that it would add over 150 million EUR to the project costs, which would be difficult to justify before the European Commission. In the conditions of a crisis it would be difficult for the country to ensure such financing. All possible routes via the town have been discussed including the building of a silencing wall but consensus has not been reached yet. NINC said that the sections being at the most advanced stage of preparation would be gradually launched after 2014. However, the problem with the route via the town of Vratsa creates some uncertainties and risks before the implementation of the whole Vidin-Sofia project.
The Ministry experts singled out the project on the building of a river information system in the Bulgarian section of Danube River (BULRIS), which is in the process of construction. It is of the value of over 35 million BGN. Part of it has been implemented and set into operation.
The forum "Projects Financed Under OP Transport That Will Be Implemented in Northwestern Bulgaria" was held in the town of Belogradchik with the participation of experts of the Managing Authority of OP Transport, the programme beneficiaries, representatives of the central and local authorities, journalists, etc.