Bulgarian State Pours Money into Maritsa Highway ahead of EC Funding DecisionBusiness | July 20, 2011, Wednesday // 18:00| views
Lot 1 of the Maritsa Highway (circled) is 31 km long; the entire highway will run from near Plovdiv to the Turkish border. Map by Road Infrastructure Agency
Bulgaria's government has voted to allocate state budget funds for the construction of Lot 1 and Lot 2 of the southeastern Maritsa Highway before the European Commission has formally approved their EU funding.
The press statement of the Council of Minister does not specify the precise sum that the state budget will pour into the highway.
The EC is expected to give its final approval to the project for the completion of the Maritsa Highway linking Bulgaria's Trakiya Highway and Sofia to the border with Turkey at the Kapitan Andreevo border crossing in December 2011.
The government has justified the allocation of state money with the argument that the enormous amount of work that needs to be done on the highway has to be completed earlier in order to fit the schedule of EU Operational Program Transport for 2007-2013.
In March, the Bulgarian government picked a leading Italian construction company CMC di Ravenna to build Lot 1 of the Maritsa Highway leading up to the border with Turkey.
The price that CMC di Ravenna offered for the construction of the 31.4-km highway section (from the Orizovo road junction with the Trakiya Highway to the town of Dimitrovgrad) was BGN 133.1 M before the VAT. This makes EUR 2.12 M per kilometer, which is ever better than the estimate of Bulgaria's State Roads Agency's of EUR 2.47 M per kilometer.
The 117-km-long Maritsa Highway running from the Orizovo road junction with the Trakiya Highway to the Kapitan Andreevo crossing on the Bulgarian-Turkish border is supposed to be completed in 2013, before the end of the 4-year term of the Borisov Cabinet. A total of 38 km of the highway have been completed as of the spring of 2011.
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