Bulgarian road tunnel closer

By Mike Hayes19 April 2022

The Bulgarian government has confirmed that contracts for the construction of a 3.2km-long road tunnel beneath the Shipka pass in the Balkan mountain range will be signed this week.

View from Shipka, through which a tunnel will be built as part of the Gabrovo bypass project

The PSVT consortium, comprising local construction companies Patni Stroezhi - Veliko Tarnovo, Hidrostroy and Patinzheneringstroy-T, will now start preparatory work for the €183 million project.

There were concerns that the consortium would call for a review of the total value of the contract, which was set in 2020, in light of recent rises in the price of construction materials.

However, the country’s minister of regional development and public works, Grozdan Karadzhov, said, “I was afraid that they would give up, but today we received an oral confirmation, and on Friday we will receive it in writing, which means that work can begin.”

The investor group has been given nine months to complete the technical design for the Shipka tunnel, followed by approximately three-and-a-half years for the construction work.

The Shipka project is being developed by the municipalities of Gabrovo and Sevlievo, authorities which reportedly have access to approximately €260 million of EU-backed regional development financing, with which they will progress the construction of two Shipka pass tunnels and a 10.5km bypass road.

The initial tunnel is expected to significantly reduce travel times between northern and southern part of Bulgaria, where weather conditions can make the passage through the Balkan mountain range extremely difficult for road traffic.

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