Bulgaria Launches Long-anticipated Danube Bridge 2
Bulgaria and Romania are launching Friday the long-anticipated Danube Bridge 2 with a grand ceremony.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, his Romanian counterpart Viktor Ponta, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, Transport Minister Danail Papazov, Parliament Speaker Mihail Mikov, Bulgarian and Romanian Cabinet members, Members of the Parliament, key persons in the realization of the project, and European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will take part in the ceremony.
Bulgarian Patriarch and Sofia Bishop, Neofit, will lead the liturgy for the inauguration of the facility.
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.
Danube Bridge 2, linking Vidin in Bulgaria and Calafat in Romania, is part of the Pan-European transport corridor IV.
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.
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