Sofia Considers Tunnel Construction to Ease Traffic Congestion

Society » ENVIRONMENT | February 19, 2010, Friday // 18:02
Bulgaria: Sofia Considers Tunnel Construction to Ease Traffic Congestion Sofia Municipality is considering tunnel construction as a quick way to ease the city's traffic congestion, in a program of cooperation with Turkish experts. File photo

Sofia Municipality is considering solving the capital city's transport problems by constructing tunnels at the busiest road intersections.

The city's Deputy Mayor for Transport, Lyubomir Hristov, has announced the possibility on Friday, following his meeting with a team of Turkish experts.

He stated that it seems that, as is the case with overpasses, tunnels are an inexpensive and fast approach to redirecting traffic from major intersections, as is already happening in Istanbul.

Hristov expressed his concern that the major problem would prove to be the difficult real estate expropriation procedures that currently exist in Bulgaria.

"We hope - and the Regional Affairs Department is amending legislation in this direction - we may make some changes. Other resources, like credits, would also be needed, once we reach the point of opening procedures. But, if we get that far, it's possible that construction could begin next year," he said.

"The Turkish experience has shown that building such tunnels can be done in very short periods of around a month as long, as it there are no problems with expropriation of land."

Hristov explained that at present they were preparing input data for destinations to be submitted for the preparation of joint conceptual projects with Istanbul Municipality.

"The main places are, let's say, Bulgaria Boulevard, with the extension to Evlogi Georgiev, Tsar Boris III, Pencho Slaveikov, and some parts of Malinov Boulevard," he explained.

Hristov added that on Friday he and Turkish experts had attended a meeting at the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications with Deputy Minister Ivailo Moscovski.

They had discussed the possibilities of EU funding for these projects. "We will seek agreement from Brussels to ensure the majority of funds can be made available under the "Transport" program," said Hristov.

He commented that the two cities might interact in terms of traffic management - in Istanbul they have an intelligent system for traffic management already in operation, while in Sofia there is a working system for management of urban transport.

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Tags: Lyubomir Hristov, Ivailo Moskovski, Bulgaria, turkey, sofia, Istanbul, tunnel construction, traffic congestion, EU funding, Brussels

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