Bulgaria's 'First Highway': Simulacrum PR Continued
The official launch of Bulgaria's so-called "Lyulin Highway" gives a vivid example of the approach to creating effect through words rather than substance so characteristic of Bulgaria's GERB government.
"This is the first highway Bulgaria has ever built from start to finish!" this exclamation was repeated multiple times by Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borisov and Minister of Infrastructure Rosen Plevneliev, who were both present at the event.
Let's face it - Lyulin Highway is a 19-km strip of road. While it will undoubtedly disburden traffic in and to capital Sofia southwards, one should be at least somewhat uneasy dubbing it a 'highway.' Presenting it as a major achievement of the cabinet is ridiculous.
With Lyulin now functioning, the permanent traffic jam at Vladaya on the main E-79 road to Greece will be over.
But what about the real stuff - the E-79 itself, which for major sections is a meager 4-lane way, winding through gorges, and through towns, endangering the life of both drivers and residents.
And what about the notorious Sofia beltway that Lyulin is joining in at its other end? Its rehabilitation is nowhere close to end, and drivers headed north to Romania better be prepared for some serious challenge on the northern section.
In that light, calling the 19-km road "Bulgaria's first finished highway" is at the same time brave, funny, ludicrous and wildly saddening. You name it.
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