Bulgaria's government will launch September 1, 2011, the long-anticipated construction of a key section of the road from the Danube city of Ruse on the Romanian border to the Makaza Pass on the Greece border.
The section in question is the road between the southern Bulgarian city of Kardzhali in the Eastern Rhodope Mountain, and the village of Podkova, which is located just 15 km north of the Makaza Pass on the Bulgarian-Greek border, at an altitude of 331 m, in the Kirkovo Municipality.
Podkova is also the southernmost train station on Bulgarian territory, and the end of the Ruse-Podkova railway which was never extended to reach Greece's Aegean coast in spite of projects for that dating back more than 100 years because of political reasons.
The 24-km road section between Kardzhali and Podkova, whose construction is to be launched September 1, will be connected to the already completed road between Podkova and the Makaza Pass, thus providing a fast and direct road connection from Central Southern Bulgaria to Greece via Kardzhali.
The Ruse-Makaza road linking Romania and Greece through Central Bulgaria is supposed to be part of the Pan-European Transport Corridor No. 9 leading from Helsinki, the Baltic states, Moscow, Kiev, and Bucharest to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis on the Aegean.
However, the international transport corridor, which harbors the potential to stimulate the development of much of Bulgaria's central regions does not function at present because the Makaza Pass in the Rhodope Mountains on the Bulgarian-Greek border remains closed.
This is in spite of numerous promises in the past five years by senior Bulgarian and Greek politicians that a border crossing point there will be opened "next year."