Highways in Bulgaria

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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),[1] while expressways do not and the speed limit is 120 km/h (75 mph).[2]

Bulgarian highway network

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.[3] In April 2016 the road agency launched a tender for implementation of an electronic toll collection system for vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes.[4]


Motorways construction timeline

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.[5] By the democratic changes in 1990, a total of 273 km of motorways had been built in Bulgaria.[6] By 2007, the year of accession to the EU, this had increased to approximately 420 km with predominantly state funding.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] Sofia Northern Bypass motorway, an important thoroughfare north of Sofia, was inaugurated in 2015.


AB-grün.svg Motorway From Route To Planned In service  % Under construction Tender Estimated completion
Mw A1 BG.svg Trakia Sofia Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Yambol Burgas 360 km 360 km 100% Completed[7]
Mw A2 BG.svg Hemus Sofia Botevgrad, Pleven, Lovech, Veliko Tarnovo, Targovishte, Shumen Varna 433 km 168 km 38.8% 25.6 km[9][10]
Mw A3 BG.svg Struma Pernik, Mw A6 BG.svg Dupnitsa, Blagoevgrad, Sandanski, Petrich Kulata; Greece 150 km 87 km 58% 36.2 km 4.4 km[11] Kresna to Sandanski - Q3 2018;[12] Blagoevgrad to Krupnik - Q1 2019[13]
Mw A4 BG.svg Maritsa Chirpan, Mw A1 BG.svg Haskovo/Dimitrovgrad Kapitan Andreevo; Turkey 117 km 117 km 100% Completed[8]
Mw A5 BG.svg Cherno More Varna Nesebar Burgas 103 km 10 km 9.71%
Mw A6 BG.svg Lyulin Sofia Pernik, Mw A3 BG.svg 19 km 19 km 100% Completed[14]
Mw A7 BG.svg Kalotina[nb 1] Sofia Slivnitsa Kalotina; Serbia 49 km[15] 31.5[16]
Northern Tangent[nb 1] Mw A7 BG.svg, Sofia ring road (and Mw A6 BG.svg) Sofia Bypass Mw A2 BG.svg, Sofia ring road (and Mw A1 BG.svg) 16.5 km 16.5 km 100% Completed[17]
Veliko Tarnovo-Ruse[18][nb 1] Veliko Tarnovo Byala Ruse, Danube Bridge; Romania 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, Mw A2 BG.svg Mezdra, Vratsa, Montana Vidin, New Europe Bridge; Romania 185 km 18.5 km[19][20] 10%
Shumen-Ruse Shumen, Mw A2 BG.svg Razgrad Ruse, Danube Bridge; Romania 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[edit]

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.[21]

Access to highway networks of neighbouring countries[edit]


Struma motorway is planned to connect near Kulata with the Greek A25 motorway (SerresLagkadasEgnatia Odos). The route is part of the Pan-European Corridor IV.

Also an intersection on the Maritsa motorway is built near Svilengrad, to connect with the future A21 motorway in Greece.


BotevgradVidin, Veliko TarnovoRuse 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.[22]

Also, in long terms, Cherno More motorway is planned to connect with the future Romanian A4 motorway to Constanţa (interchange with A2 motorway, leading to Bucharest).


Maritsa motorway (A4) connects near Kapitan Andreevo with the Turkish O-3 motorway, heading to Istanbul.


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[edit]

Dupnitsa-Kyustendil expressway branching off from Struma motorway is planned to connect with the Republic of Macedonia.



  1. ^ a b c Still not designated.


  1. ^ "Bulgaria Ups Hwy Speed Limit to 140 km/h". novinite.com. 26 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Amendments in the Roads Act". State gazette (47). 26 June 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "The World Bank Will Consult Road Infrastructure Agency for the Introduction of a Toll System at the Use of the National Roads". RIA. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Bulgaria launches 102 mln euro electronic toll collection system tender". SEE News. 6 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "Магистрална равносметка" (in Bulgarian). Tema Daily. 6 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Maria Andonova (27 June 2008). "Защо няма магистрали" [Why are there no motorways]. вестник "Капитал"/www.capital.bg. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Bulgaria Opens Monday Its First Completed HWY Trakiya". novinite.com. 15 July 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "След 36 години АМ "Марица" най-после е готова!". plovdiv24.bg (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "АПИ стартира обществената поръчка за изграждането на близо 10 км от АМ „Хемус" между Ябланица и Боаза" (in Bulgarian). API. Archived from the original on 14 July 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "АПИ стартира обществената поръчка за изграждането на още 16 км от АМ „Хемус" от п. в. „Белокопитово" към Търговище" (in Bulgarian). API. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "Най-скъпият и дълъг тунел: 2 км за 250 млн. лв" (in Bulgarian). capital.bg. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Строителството на лот 3.3 Кресна – Сандански на АМ"Струма" започва през пролетта на 2016 г" (in Bulgarian). infrastructure.bg. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  13. ^ "В присъствието на министрите Лиляна Павлова и Ивайло Московски бяха подписани договорите за строителство и надзор на Лот 3.1. на АМ „Струма"" (in Bulgarian). Ministry of Regional Development. 30 December 2015. 
  14. ^ "Bulgaria Gives Official Launch to Its First Completed Highway". novinite.com. 15 May 2011. 
  15. ^ "Пореден краен срок: Магистралата София-Ниш готова до края на 2016 година". mediapool.bg (in Bulgarian). 
  16. ^ "Bulgaria launches two tenders for upgrade of 31.5 km of main road". SEE News. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  17. ^ "Изцяло е пусната за движение Северната скоростна тангента" (in Bulgarian). API. 28 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "Bulgaria Plans Construction of Ruse-Veliko Tarnovo Motorway". novinite.com. 13 February 2015. 
  19. ^ "The long-awaited day for Danube Bridge Vidin Calafat, 14.06.2013". Archived from the original on 2013-10-18. 
  20. ^ "Над 46,5 млн. лв. са инвестирани в изграждането на обходния път на Монтана" (in Bulgarian). RIA. 29 December 2015. 
  21. ^ "Tender for feasibility study of Ruse-Svilengrad was announced". stroitelstvo.info (in Bulgarian). 22 October 2012. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  22. ^ "Premier Ponta: Motorway connection envisaged between Craiova and Calafat". agerpres.ro. 14 June 2013.