The highway connecting Bulgaria's capital Sofia with the Kalotina border crossing on the Serbian border will be ready by 2015, announced Bozhidar Yotov, head of the Road Infrastructure Agency.
In addition to building the Sofia-Kalotina Highway (which is considered an extension of the still uncompleted Trakiya Highway linking Sofia with Burgas on the Black Sea coast), a working group will focus on completing two vital sections of the Sofia Beltway, announced Sofia Architect Petar Dikov. In his words, the total cost of the three highway projects will be EUR 380 M, and the funding will come from the EU Operational Program Transport.
The first project, the Sofia-Kalotina highway, will be about 49 km in length. The second one is the connection from the future Lyulin Highway to the "northern tangent" of Sofia, i.e. the western section of the Sofia Beltway, which is 9.6 km long; the third project is the northern high-speed section of the beltway, known as "the northern tangent," which will be about 16.5 km.
According to Sofia Architect Petar Dikov, the construction of the second project will cost about EUR 50 M but it should be completed by mid 2012 at the latest as by that time the Lyulin Highway will be ready, thus channeling additional traffic into the city of Sofia. In his words, the northern section of the Sofia Beltway must be completed by September 2014; the road project has already been granted a positive environmental assessment. Dikov has pointed out that the highway to the Serbian border will not be directed towards the Kalotina border crossing point but will go around it as by the time the highway is completed, Serbia will have joined the European Union, and a border crossing will not be necessary. He reminded the case with the Ilinden border crossing on the Bulgarian-Greek border, in which Bulgaria invested EUR 4.5 M in vain as it became an EU member before the project was completed, and the border control with Greece became more relaxed.