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The Hemus highway, which connects Sofia and Varna, will be completed in five years at the earliest, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW) predicted in response to a question.
"The optimistic goal is for Hemus Motorway to be built in 2028-2029," the ministry said.
In order for this to happen, however, it must first be clear how the inhouse contracts between the official contractor of the highway completion project - the state-owned company Avtomagistrali EAD - and the companies that have concluded contracts with it for the supply of building materials and equipment will be legalized.
That is why the Minister of Regional Development Andrey Tsekov has signed an order to form a working committee that should propose options for solving the case with inhouse contracts.
The deadline for the commission to propose options to resolve the issue so as to continue the construction of the highway, which has been almost blocked in the last two years, is September 30, and "possible solutions will be made public in the autumn," the MRDPW said.
Some time ago, Minister Tsekov announced that the changes "are not particularly complicated" and in the autumn it will be possible to continue work on the autobahn.
Currently, the pace of construction in the first three lots of the highway (lots 1, 2 and 3), the construction of which is the most advanced, is carried out at a reduced pace, the regional ministry admits, the reason being the lack of assignment due to uncleared questions about inhouse contracts.
Noise protection facilities will be built near the district of Shumen "Macak"
The total length of the lots 1, 2 and 3 is 53 km, as their route starts from the Boaza area and ends at the connection with the second-class road Pleven-Lovech. Currently, the section of Lot 1 with a length of 15.7 km is built at 70 percent, and in February, in response to questions, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works assured us that the section will be ready by the end of the year.
Currently, all three lots are expected to be completed in 2024. Lot 2, which is 19.1 km long, is built at about 24 percent, and section 3 with a length of 17.1 km is built at 49 percent. Almost the same was the performance on the sections in the spring.
Displace the route of Lot 7
Redesign sections for greater safety
Divide Lot 4 into parts
For Lots 4, 5 and 6, a redesign is necessary as the road safety audit has shown that the technical design needs to be changed.
Lot 4 of the future route of the Hemus highway will be divided into stages to accelerate the construction of the section, MRDPW explained in response to questions.
The route is 28.2 km long. The illegal construction carried out by the contractor was removed on the section and the original condition to the ground level was restored.
The total length of the lots 4, 5 and 6, which start from the intersection with the road Pleven-Lovech and continue to the connection with the first-class road Ruse-Veliko Tarnovo, is 84.1 km. MRDPW explained that for Lots 4, 5 and 6 it is necessary to carry out a redesign because the road safety audit has shown that the technical design needs to be changed.
The last three sections - 7, 8 and 9, are from the crossing with the road Ruse-Veliko Tarnovo to the road junction "Buhovtsi". The total length of these lots is nearly 88 km.
"Due to the passage of the route of section 7 through areas with geodynamic processes, and of section 8 through the territory of hunting reserve "Cherni Lom", warehouses with explosive materials and a quarry for the development of underground resources, it is necessary to move the route.
This will lead to new environmental procedures and further delays in the start of construction, "explained the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.
At section 9, expropriation procedures are carried out, and a building permit is expected to be issued in early 2024, the regional ministry added.
Updated contracts due to inflation and slowdown
The cost of the highway increased by 600m euros. Lv.
Building materials have doubled
Building materials have doubled since 2018, increasing the cost of renting construction equipment and wages.
$600 million Lv. the completion of the Hemus highway will cost more expensive because of the disputes over the inhouse contracts, suspended during the caretaker cabinet of Stefan Yanev, when Violeta Komitova was Minister of Regional Development.
It was she who stopped the contracts, which are now likely to be realized, but with an increase of about 25 percent, which is nearly 600m euros. Lv. An extra.
"The initial preliminary analyses of the amount of additional funds needed for the completion of the construction of Hemus Motorway are made on the basis of the mechanism for applying the indexation formula, which is part of the "Methodology for changing the price of a public procurement contract as a result of inflation", adopted in September 2022, as well as according to the specifics of the contract terms, The impact of inflationary processes on the economic situation in the country is reflected.
We expect the working group to make the exact estimates. The additional payment will be indexed according to the developed methodology", answered questions from the Ministry of Construction.
The Ministry specified that the value of the contract, under which the Hemus highway from the Boaza area to Veliko Tarnovo is 1.911 billion. Lv. The amount of advances paid is 663m euros. Lv. The value of the contract for the construction of the section of Hemus Motorway between Veliko Tarnovo and the Buhovtsi road junction is 1.380 billion. Lv. The advances paid on it amount to 473m euros. Lv.
Meanwhile, building materials since 2018 have doubled, and 55% of the cost of building a road depends precisely on the cost of building materials.
The main building materials needed for the implementation of infrastructure projects are asphalt mixtures, concrete mixtures, reinforcement and construction steel, rock materials that have reported an increase.
Other factors that matter for the final price include transport costs for the supply of materials, rental of equipment and the increase in labor costs due to inflation.