Highways in Bulgaria
Highways in Bulgaria are dual carriageways, grade separated with controlled-access, designed for high speeds. In 2012, legislation amendments defined two types of highways: motorways (Bulgarian: Aвтомагистрала, Avtomagistrala) and expressways (Bulgarian: Скоростен път, Skorosten pat). The main differences are that motorways have emergency lanes and the maximum allowed speed limit is 140 km/h (87 mph), while expressways do not and the speed limit is 120 km/h (75 mph).
Generally, there are no toll roads in Bulgaria, and instead a vignette is required, except for municipal roads. Two bridges − New Europe Bridge and Danube Bridge are tolled, both at Danube border crossings to Romania. However, introduction of toll system to replace the vignettes is under consideration as being more fair form of payment. In April 2016 the road agency launched a tender for implementation of an electronic toll collection system for vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes.
The initial plan for construction of motorways dates back to 1973, when the government of Socialist Bulgaria approved a resolution to build a motorway ring, encompassing the country and consisting of three motorways - Trakia, Hemus and Cherno More. By the democratic changes in 1990, a total of 273 km of motorways had been built in Bulgaria. By 2007, the year of accession to the EU, this had increased to approximately 420 km with predominantly state funding. The EU accession of the country in 2007, and the improved in the recent years utilization of the allocated EU funds enabled Bulgaria to speed up the expansion of its highway network. As of September 2016, 786 km (488 mi) of motorways are in service, with another 36 km (22 mi) being under various stages of construction.
Lyulin motorway (A6), a short 19 km stretch connecting Sofia with Pernik and further merging with Struma motorway (A3) that continues to Greece at Kulata border crossing, opened in 2011. After 40 years of construction, the first large motorway, spanning 360 km, Trakia (A1) was inaugurated on 15 July 2013, thus connecting the capital Sofia and Burgas, at the Black Sea coast. Two years later, on 29 October 2015, the last remaining section of Maritsa motorway (A4), branching off from A1 nearby Chirpan and connecting with the border of Turkey at Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint, entered in service. Sofia Northern Bypass motorway, an important thoroughfare north of Sofia, was inaugurated in 2015.
|Motorway||From||Route||To||Planned||In service||%||Under construction||Tender||Estimated completion|
|Trakia||Sofia||Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Yambol||Burgas||360 km||360 km||100%||−||−||Completed|
|Hemus||Sofia||Botevgrad, Pleven, Lovech, Veliko Tarnovo, Targovishte, Shumen||Varna||433 km||168 km||38.8%||−||25.6 km||−|
|Struma||Pernik,||Dupnitsa, Blagoevgrad, Sandanski, Petrich||Kulata;||150 km||87 km||58%||36.2 km||4.4 km||Kresna to Sandanski - Q3 2018; Blagoevgrad to Krupnik - Q1 2019|
|Maritsa||Chirpan,||Haskovo/Dimitrovgrad||Kapitan Andreevo;||117 km||117 km||100%||−||−||Completed|
|Cherno More||Varna||Nesebar||Burgas||103 km||10 km||9.71%||−||−||−|
|Lyulin||Sofia||Pernik,||19 km||19 km||100%||−||−||Completed|
|Kalotina[nb 1]||Sofia||Slivnitsa||Kalotina;||49 km||−||−||−||31.5||−|
|Northern Tangent[nb 1]||, Sofia ring road (and )||Sofia Bypass||, Sofia ring road (and )||16.5 km||16.5 km||100%||−||−||Completed|
|Veliko Tarnovo-Ruse[nb 1]||Veliko Tarnovo||Byala||Ruse, Danube Bridge;||118 km||−||−||−||−||−|
|Total||1,386 km||786 km||56.73%||36.2 km||61.6 km|
|Expressway||From||Route||To||Planned||In service||%||Under construction||Tender||Estimated completion|
|Botevgrad-Vidin||Botevgrad,||Mezdra, Vratsa, Montana||Vidin, New Europe Bridge;||185 km||18.5 km||10%||−||−||−|
|Shumen-Ruse||Shumen,||Razgrad||Ruse, Danube Bridge;||110 km||−||−||−||−||−|
Construction works on the 31.5 km section from Botevgrad to Mezdra and the 12.5 km Mezdra bypass are expected to begin in 2013. Also in 2012, were tendered design works on the section between Mezdra and Vidin.
Other highway projects
In 2012, the Bulgarian government announced talks with Qatar to build a South–North motorway/expressway as a PPP from Svilengrad, at the Turkish/Greek border, to Ruse, at the Romanian border. The route is part of the Pan-European Corridor IX. In October 2012, a tender for a feasibility study was announced.
Access to highway networks of neighbouring countries
Botevgrad–Vidin, Veliko Tarnovo–Ruse and Shumen–Ruse expressways, all branching off from Hemus motorway are planned to connect with Romania. The Botevgrad-Vidin expressway is likely the first to be built. The Romanian PM Victor Ponta made a statement after the inauguration of New Europe Bridge that Romania plans to build a motorway between Craiova and Calafat.
A 31.5 km section of the Kalotina motorway from Sofia to Kalotina was tendered in 2012 and is expected to connect with the future Serbian A4 motorway to Niš. The route is part of Pan-European Corridor X.
Republic of Macedonia
Trakia motorway near Nova Zagora
Trakia motorway near Trayanovi Vrata tunnel
Construction works on Martitsa motorway near Chirpan
Entering Lyulin motorway near Pernik
Struma motorway near Pernik
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Highways in Bulgaria.|
- Still not designated.
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