SOFIA (Bulgaria), April 18 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria is expected to sign contract for the construction of a road tunnel under the Shipka pass in the Balkan mountain range by the end of April, with construction works to begin next year, the regional development ministry said.
The consortium which has won the public procurement tender for the contract has confirmed the price of its offer, the ministry said in a press release on Saturday.
The PSVT consortium comprising local construction companies Patni Stroezhi - Veliko Tarnovo, Hidrostroy and Patinzheneringstroy-T won the tender in 2020 with a price offer of 358 million levs ($197.6 million/183 million euro) for the 10.5-kilometre bypass road of Gabrovo city, including five tunnels.
The investor group has been given nine months to complete the technical design for the Shipka tunnel, which will be 3.2 kilometres in length.
The municipalities of Gabrovo and Sevlievo will have access to 510 million levs under EU-backed regional development financing in the period between 2021 and 2027, Derlyana Ivanova, deputy minister of regional development said in the press release.
The Shipka tunnel is expected to significantly reduce travel times between the northern and southern parts of the country, which are divided by the Bankan range making traffic much dependent on weather conditions.
In February, regional development minister Grozdan Karadjov said that the consortium indicated it would proceed with the project at the initial price, despite rising costs of construction materials and energy.
(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)