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PM: EU Funding for Struma Highway to Help against Floods
Date: 06/12/2010
PM: EU Funding for Struma Highway to Help against Floods

The construction of the Struma Highway will solve the problem with floods along the Struma River in Southwest Bulgaria, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said.

Commenting on the floods caused over the weekend by the rising of the Struma River, which springs from the Vitosha Mountain near Sofia and flows through Southwest Bulgaria and Northern Greece into the Aegean Sea, Borisov declared the resolve of his Cabinet to reinvigorate the efforts to construct the Struma Highway, at the same time reinforcing the banks of the river.

The greatest problem caused by the rising of the Struma River was a landslide which undermined the E-79 road in the Kresna Gorge, which is the major road between Bulgaria and Greece, leading it to collapse into the river. The road will be undergoing repairs for 10-12 days.

The Prime Minister said the European Commission had agreed to include all four lots of the Struma Highway for funding in EU programs; previously, only some sections of the future highway were expected to be financed with EU money.

Borisov also said he will be having a telephone conversation on Tuesday with Philippe Maystadt, the President of the European Investment Bank, to try to get the EIB to agree to fund the construction of the Struma Highway under the JASPERS Program.

"If the Trakiya Highway from Sofia to Burgas is the most important for Bulgaria, the Struma Highway is the most important for this part of Europe because it leads to the port of Thessaloniki," Borisov stated in the Black Sea city of Burgas on Monday.

He explained that in just a few day the government has reinvigorated the Struma Highway project.

"We got the documentation from the state railways about the condition of the rocks, we got from the military their strategic plans for the area, we also pulled out the original project idea. Luckily, the European Commission informed us in written that they agreed to allow us to unite all lots of the Struma Highway for the purposes of EU funding," said the Prime Minister.

Some of the sections of the 156-km road are promised to be completed by the end of the Borisov Cabinet's term in 2013. A total of 19 km have been completed so far.

The Struma Highway will start at the Daskalovo road junction to the west of Sofia, where it will be connected with the short Lyulin Highway, and will run to the Kulata border crossing on the Bulgarian border with Greece.

Topic: Business

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