A whole array of senior government officials have given the start of the rehabilitation of the road between the Northern Bulgarian cities Pleven and Lovech, its first repairs in 26 years.
The road infrastructure project was opened by Deputy PM and Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, a native of Lovech, Regional Development Minister Rosen Plevneliev, and Parliament Chair Tsetska Tsacheva, who is herself a native of Pleven, among other officials.
"I will not tire of repeating that Northern Bulgaria needs a lot more efforts and funds for infrastructure investments compared with Southern Bulgaria because the North is lagging behind the South in every aspect," Tsacheva stated.
Only a 10 km section of the Pleven-Lovech road will be rehabilitated with the funding from the EU Regional Development Program.
The Pleven-Lovech road has the potential to be a major traffic highway as part of an underdeveloped corridor starting at Romania's Turnu Magurele, going through the ferry to Nikopol, Pleven, Lovech, Troyan, and then Southern Bulgaria and Greece.
The Pleven-Lovech road also links the two cities to the still incomplete Hemus Highway linking Sofia and Varna through Northern Bulgaria.
At Friday's ceremony, Bulgaria's Regional Development Minister Rosen Plevneliev stated that Bulgaria's government has already negotiated BGN 1.8 B in funding for projects under EU's Regional Development Operational Program, and that BGN 500 M from those have already been paid to contractors.
He pointed out that for a period of 2 years – in 2007-2009, the previous government paid out only BGN 27 M from the EU regional development money, while the present government will exceed this figure 40 times.