Key Bulgarian Tunnel Reopening after Tragic Incident
The Echemishka tunnel is reopening to traffic after a lamp fell off the ceiling, hit a car and killed a woman on Sunday, authorities say.
The tunnel is part of a road used by tens of thousands of commuters on a daily basis, but has not undergone repairs since it was carved into the slopes in 1985.
Interim Regional Development Minister Spas Popnikolov had instructed the Road Infrastructure Agency to propose "emergency" options that will reopen it, according to Focus News Agency.
Earlier, Popnikolov announced the tunnel would not be accessible until repairs were made that would make it safe.
Late last week he said technical teams were working around the clock to make sure the tunnel would reopen. “People are working under very difficult conditions – snow, cold weather, but I am certain we will manage.”
The infrastructure agency has been under attack for failing to provide maintenance on time, with the interim Prime Minister dismissing part of its management after the incident.
Last year, it carried out an inspection which established the tunnel was "safe".
Meanwhile the Bulgarian National Television announced a tender had been launched several years earlier to repair the tunnel, but the procurement procedure stalled.
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