Bulgaria-Romania New Danube Bridge Named 'New Europe'
The new bridge on the Danube between Bulgaria and Romania, until now known as Danube Bridge 2, will be named New Europe.
The announcement was made Saturday by Bulgarian Transport Minister, Danail Papazov, speaking for Darik radio.
Papazov informed the Romanian side was a firm supported of the name, and the Bulgarian one liked it as well.
Danube Bridge 2, linking Vidin in Bulgaria and Calafat in Romania, is part of the Pan-European transport corridor IV.
The total value of the project is EUR 282 M. Of them EUR 106 M came from EU funds and the rest were national financing and private investments.
The project was started in the late 1990s, but was stalled multiple times.
The only other existing bridge between the two Balkan neighbors, Danube Bridge 1 linking Ruse-Giurgiu, was completed in 1954.
In February 2013, officials stated that Danube Bridge II would be inaugurated on May 9, the Day of Europe, but the ceremony was postponed.
The final section of the bridge was finished in October 2012 and the entire construction between the Bulgarian and the Romanian Danube shores was connected. It was announced earlier that the infrastructure has been completed as of the end of August 2012.
Over 415 000 vehicles are expected to pass through the bridge in its first year of operation – 186 000 cars, 20 000 buses, 209 000 trucks as well as 4 745 trains – 730 passenger and 4 015 freight ones. Their number is expected to reach 8 504 by 2030.
The facility will pay off in 12 to 15 years, according to Bulgarian authorities.
The bridge is 1.8 km long and has four lanes, a railroad, a sidewalk, and a bike path.
There is a cross border checkpoint as well.
The toll is the same as the one in Ruse – from EUR 6 to EUR 37, depending on the type of vehicle.
There are no fees for pedestrians, bikers, fire trucks, ambulances and police cruisers.
Papazov is negotiating an agreement with Romania to lower the toll fees for the use of the bridge. He says that if Romania refuses to do so, Bulgaria will reduce the toll unilaterally.
Bulgaria and Romania launched Friday Danube Bridge 2 with a grand ceremony.
The long-anticipated event was, however, marred by the scandal triggered by the election of controversial businessman and MP Delyan Peevski as the new head of Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security (DANS), a move that caused mass outrage and protest rallies in the country.
After learning the shocking news, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev canceled his participation in the inauguration of the second Danube Bridge linking Bulgaria and Romania.
Papazov told Darik radio Saturday it was regretful the opening of the bridge did not receive enough coverage in the country.
When asked if the Cabinet was dependent on the election of a certain individual at a certain post, the Transport Minister said he had not noticed any dependencies and enjoyed working with Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski.
Papazov explained that as former Director of the Varna Port, he knew well the Transport Ministry, adding he was not planning any reshuffles of the staff there for the time being, in order to give an opportunity to the good experts to continue their work.
He did, however, note that some people could be replaced if they fail to deliver what is required in order to boast public companies in the transport sector.
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