Struma Highway's New Jewel: Zheleznitsa Tunnel Opens to Traffic

Society | February 20, 2024, Tuesday // 10:04
Bulgaria: Struma Highway's New Jewel: Zheleznitsa Tunnel Opens to Traffic

Today marks a significant advancement in transportation infrastructure in Bulgaria as traffic is officially permitted through the "Zheleznitsa" tunnel on the "Struma" highway. This engineering marvel, spanning approximately 2 kilometers, proudly stands as the longest road tunnel ever constructed within the nation's borders. Coupled with the segments preceding and succeeding it, a remarkable 5-kilometer stretch of highway is now operational, promising smoother and safer journeys for countless travelers.

Distinguished by its innovative design and state-of-the-art features, the "Zheleznitsa" tunnel boasts two separate tubes for vehicular passage, each stretching around 2 kilometers in length. Equipped with comprehensive safety systems, including energy-efficient lighting, advanced ventilation, video surveillance, and fire alarms, the tunnel exemplifies a commitment to ensuring the utmost security for all road users. Moreover, an intelligent traffic management system, emergency SOS booths, and electronic access control further enhance the efficiency and safety of the tunnel.

The meticulous planning and execution of this project are evident in the incorporation of pedestrian cross connections between the tubes, alongside dedicated passageways for emergency vehicles, facilitating swift and secure evacuation procedures in the event of road incidents or tube closures. Notably, a service road has been meticulously constructed at the southern portal of the tunnel, complemented by essential amenities such as a helicopter pad and bridges over Sukha Reka, to accommodate various operational requirements seamlessly.

Employing an innovative Austrian construction method, the "Zheleznitsa" tunnel also bears a symbolic touch, with the inclusion of four icons of St. "Ivan Rilski" within its structure. While currently concealed during the final stages of construction, these sacred images hold deep cultural significance, symbolizing protection for both workers and travelers alike, in line with longstanding traditions in tunnel construction.

Moreover, the visionary development of the "Struma" highway marks a significant achievement in transportation infrastructure, epitomized by the integration of a helipad – a pioneering feature on a highway – alongside comprehensive security and communication systems to ensure optimal safety standards for all users.

As traffic commences through this groundbreaking tunnel, it signifies not only a triumph in engineering excellence but also a testament to collaborative efforts supported by the Cohesion Fund of the European Union and the national budget, underscoring a commitment to advancing our transportation landscape.

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Tags: Zheleznitsa, tunnel, Struma Highway, infrastructure

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