Minister Komitova: The Bus Crash on the Struma highway was not with High Speed
The Minister of Regional Development and Public Works architect Violeta Komitova presented the results of her inspection of the road section Dragichevo - Dolna Dikanya, where the bus accident from the Republic of North Macedonia took place.
The inspection of the section between Dragichevo and Gorna Dikanya was assigned, after problems were found in the road infrastructure, which could have contributed to the fatal accident in which 45 people died.
The briefing was also attended by Deputy Ministers Valentin Gramatikov and Ivan Shishkov, the head of the National Security Council, arch. Vladi Kalinov and Prof. Bozhidar Yanev, who teaches at Columbia University and has been working in the field of bridge maintenance in New York for 30 years, explained arch. Komitova.
The history of this road begins in 2002, with an approved technical design and building permit. In 2006 there is an additional permit for construction of road junctions. ACT 15 was issued in 2007 and has a speed limit of 90 km / h.
For some reason, in 2013 the speed was increased to 120 km / h.
To date, the road does not have ACT 16, because expropriation procedures have not been completed, explained Minister Komitova. In 2012, the Council of Ministers declared the section Daskolovo - Dolna Dikanya a national site and RIA signed a new contract for "Patinvest Engineering". These plans are one of the slow processes in the construction of road infrastructure, the minister explained.
We cannot claim that the speed being raised to 120 km / h is the main cause of the accident, Komitova said.
As the roughness of the road surface is good, in pretty good condition. Regarding the marking - it is assigned through an in-house procedure to two companies with the same owner.
As of the date of the accident, only the centerline has been completed, there is a 6-month delay in the implementation of the marking.
The guardrail called "fishtail" was installed in 2007 and then met the standards. By 2021, however, there are new norms, Komitova explained.
Apparently, the crash was not at high speed, but a fire broke out. We have a very strange event - a fire, which I think is the main cause of the victims. We have no explanation for how exactly this bus burned down, she added.
What the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works can do as short-term measures is to replace the marking and reduce the maximum speed limit to 90 km / h, according to Minister Komitova.
De jure, this project is neither designed for a high speed road nor for a highway, explained Deputy Minister Ivan Shishkov.
Construction standards change very often, explained Minister Komitova. She gave the example of old buildings that do not meet the new earthquake standards, which does not mean that they should be demolished.
This unfortunate guardrail is old and meets the norms introduced in 2021, Komitova added.
Drawing up ACT 16 with such a delay is quite a difficult task, she said.
Arch. Vladi Kalinov answered about the motives for raising the speed from 90 to 120 km / h. It is increased only on the basis of changes in markings and signs.
What worries us is that in the project itself the cross turns of the road are a little over 4%, which means that the speed should be 90 km, explained the architect. At higher speeds, the vehicles swerve to the left, and in the case of the accident, the bus went to the right, which is a prerequisite for assuming that it was moving at low speed, according to arch. Kalinov.
The issue with the so-called fish tails is solved by changing the rules. There is a ban on their implementation in 2021, which means that all reconstructions that will be made must comply with the norms, he added.
The change in the guardrails only on this short section would cost about BGN 30 million.
One of the urgent measures of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works is to increase the speed to 90 km / h until the completion of the detailed analysis and then to determine the maximum permissible speed. Second - placing reflectors every 10-12 m in the guardrail itself.
Medium-term measures - replacement of the dangerous guardrails but only in the opposite direction, preparation of a financial justification for carrying out the necessary works to ensure the road situation, added arch. Kalinov.
We were surprised that this time there is no ACT 16, admitted Deputy Minister Shishkov. From now on, we start first and most intensively to be able to initiate the completion of the procedures and the Detailed Development Plans, he added.
We will want to complete all procedures as soon as possible and put this road into operation, but do not expect that this will be a highway, he stressed. This road is never designed to be a highway and does not meet the requirements.
To maintain speed at one time, it is not enough just to be wide. There are norms and if they are exceeded, it is considered that this cannot be a highway.
Like you, I have been deluded for years that this is a highway, because I see a wide road, a road like the sun, said Komitova. However, there are requirements that are not visible to the naked eye and they do not meet, that is, she added.
The guardrail, which separates the turnoff from the main road, will remain, but will be of a different type, explained the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works. Whatever we can do this year, we will do, the department is adamant.
We have night driving, we have rain, we have a road, we have a driver who may have been ill ... We have a fire and a situation in which we cannot explain how this bus burned down in such a short time. We have many factors.
This is an area where there is no concentration of accidents, so there are many factors that contributed to this case. There is no unambiguous answer, says arch. Komitova.
I am also not happy with the road maintenance and not because I am a minister, but because like you, I am not happy with what I see, said Komitova and explained that the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works is doing everything possible for maintenance, but in the end they have a budget.
We are struggling to make it all better, but we always have limitations. Two things are never enough in construction - time and money, and now we are in the same situation, explained Minister Komitova.
I do not understand why the state should be condemned for every catastrophe. This is a common catastrophe, such things happen everywhere, so I can not comment, said Komitova in response to a question from BNT whether the state can be convicted, as the insurance company can not take the full amount of compensation.
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