|Part of E 79|
|Length||129.46 km (80.44 mi)|
172 km (107 mi) planned
12.6 km (7.8 mi) under construction
|Major cities||Sofia, Pernik, Dupnitsa, Blagoevgrad, Sandanski|
|Motorways in Bulgaria|
The Struma Motorway (Bulgarian : Автомагистрала „Струма“, Avtomagistrala "Struma") is a motorway currently under construction in Bulgaria. The motorway is located in the Yugozapaden area in South West Bulgaria, and follows the route Sofia-Pernik-Dupnitsa-Blagoevgrad-Sandanski to Kulata on the border with in Greece. It is part of the Pan-European Corridor IV and also is part of Е79, that runs from Miskolc (Hungary) to Thessaloniki (Greece), via the Romanian cities of Deva and Craiova. This project is under the European Union's Ten-T Priority Projects. The road is also part of the proposed Via Carpatia route.
The Struma motorway forms a connection between Sofia and Kulata at the Bulgaria-Greece border with a total planned length of 172.8 km. As of December 2018, about 129.46 km of the motorway, from Sofia to Blagoevgrad, and from Kresna to Kulata have already been completed and are in service.
The highway has a total width of 29 m, and has two asphalt-surfaced lanes in each direction, two emergency halt lanes, and a 3.5m median dividing lanes.
The motorway is named after the Struma River. In 2018 the former Lyulin motorway was merged with the Struma motorway.
The motorway has been divided into 5 construction lots: lot 0 from Pernik to Dolna Dikanya, lot 1 from Dolna Dikanya to Dupnitsa, lot 2 from Dupnitsa to Blagoevgrad, lot 3 from Blagoevgrad to Sandanski, and lot 4 from Sandanski to Kulata. The construction of lot 1 begun in September 2011 and was completed in July 2013.The construction of lot 2 begun in February 2013, and it was completed in October 2015. The construction of lot 4 begun in April 2012 and was completed in August 2015.
Due to its complexity and high construction cost lot 3 has been set back to the 2014–2020 financial period and only a conceptual design had been drafted. Furthermore, it has been divided into three sub-lots — 3.1 (Blagoevgrad-Krupnik), 3.2 (Krupnik-Kresna or Kresna Gorge) and 3.3 (Kresna-Sandanski).
The design and build contract for Lot 3.3 was signed on 25 September 2015. It was completed and entered into service on December 17, 2018 at the cost of 281 million leva (144.6 million €).
Lot 3.1 is 12.6 km in length, and it is estimated to cost 186 million leva. Construction started in August 2017 and partially opened in May 2019.
Unlike Lots 3.1 and 3.3 the construction of Lot 3.2 is causing great controversy. Due to the mountain relief in this part of the country an economically viable motorway can only cut across the Kresna Gorge, a protected Natura 2000 siteand a habitat of many flora and fauna endangered species. The existing roads in the Kresna Gorge already fragment it, and the current traffic, particularly on the major I-1 road cause the death of approximately 70 animals each day. Non-governmental organizations, including institutions such as Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE), Balkani Wildlife Society, CEE Bankwatch Network, Green Policy Institute, and Centre for Environmental Information and Education, have all expressed concern through petitions, protests and studies, insisting the motorway must bypass the gorge in order to avoid further harm. Addressing all these concerns, in 2013 the government approved a 15-km long tunnel crossing the gorge to the west. The plan was met with an instant and stiff opposition from the local construction companies, and had since been shelved also due to concerns about the environmental impact of the construction works and the deposition of the excavated material from the tunnel, as well as worries about ballooning maintenance costs of the completed tunnel. An alternative plan splitting the carriageways was proposed instead. According to it the southbound carriageway would be built over the existing I-1 road, while the northbound one would be built eastwards of the gorge at the foot of the Pirin mountain. This plan, however, was also met with an opposition from the NGOs due to heavy traffic still remaining in the gorge. The plan was also opposed by hundreds small business owners whose livelihood would be affected by the decommissioning of portions of I-1 road and land expropriation.
In 2012, the European Commission approved of a EUR 274 million contribution for the highway; the total investment is approximately EUR 324 million. The Liulyn Motorway was partially financed by The Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession (ISPA) and the Daskalovo-Dolna Dikanya section of the highway received a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The construction of the complete motorway is estimated to cost 1.2 billion €.
This section contains a table that is missing kilometre posts for one or more junctions.
|0||Sofia Ring Road||In service|
|4,9||Malo Buchino||In service|
|7,9||Malo Buchino (446m)||In service|
|10,7||Lyulin (311m)||In service|
|15||Golemo Buchino (480m)||In service|
|33,2||Staro selo||In service|
|37,1||Dolna Dikanya||In service|
|56,2||Blatino (380m)||In service|
|59,2||Dupnitsa-south, Kyustendil||In service|
|83,1||Kocherinovo (351m)||In service|
|85,2||Blagoevgrad-north, Kocherinovo||In service|
|100,2||Zheleznitsa (1 997m)||Under Construction|
|Lot 3.2||Kresna Gorge||Planned|
|153,1||Petrich, Melnik||In service|
|159,2||General Todorov||In service|
|168,5||Kulata; Thessaloniki, Athens||In service|
The Lyulin motorway (Bulgarian : Автомагистрала „Люлин“, Avtomagistrala "Lyulin") was a motorway in Bulgaria, that provided a link between the western arc of the Sofia ringroad and the Daskalovo interchange, at the town of Pernik, where it merged with Struma motorway (A3). The total length of the motorway was around 19 km (12 mi), which made it the shortest motorway in Bulgaria. It ran through mountainous terrain and needed several tunnels and many viaducts in order to avoid ecological, environmental and terrain issues.
On 8 August 2006, a contract for the construction of the motorway was signed with the Turkish consortium Mapa Cengiz for 137,381,785 euro. The construction began in 2007 and was scheduled to be finished in 38 months. However, in 2010 the initial deadline was postponed for May 2011 and the price rose to 185,000,000 euro. The Lyulin motorway was launched on 15 May 2011 and thus became the first fully operating motorway in Bulgaria.
The highway was named after the Lyulin Mountain through which it passed. The largest neighborhood of Sofia from which the highway started is also named Lyulin.
On 17 April 2010, during construction of a concrete element of the motorway, the supporting structure holding an area where concrete was being poured collapsed, killing three workers and seriously injuring further 7. The incident occurred between 9:30pm and 10:00pm at the 13.7th kilometre of the motorway, near the village of Golyamo Buchino.Four workers were transported to Pirogov Hospital, whilst the remaining six were sent to hospital in Pernik, where two of the workers died. A third died the following day, also in Pernik. All of the casualties were working for the Turkish construction firm Mapa-Dzhengiz. A formal investigation into the cause of the accident has been launched.
On 23 November 2021,a North Macedonian bus carrying 52 passengers including 2 bus drivers,crashed onto a barrier on the Struma motorway near the village of Bosnek,44.2 km south from Sofia while going back to the North Macedonian capital of Skopje,from a weekend trip in Istanbul. The bus had crashed into a barrier and caught on fire before or after it crashed. 45 People had died in the crash,including 12 children and 7 were hospitalised after escaping through a window of the burning bus.
Simitli also known as Simitliya, is a town in Blagoevgrad Province in southwestern Bulgaria. It has a population of 7,454 and is located 17 km south of Blagoevgrad. It is the seat of Simitli Municipality.
Kresna Gorge is a steep valley in south-western Bulgaria, stretching about 18 km. The gorge has been formed by the Struma River, which flows from the Vitosha mountains. Kresna gorge has a rich biodiversity, which has come under pressure from the Struma motorway construction project, a new leg of the Trans European Corridor No. 4. In the south, the gorge bisects the Tisata nature reserve.
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Highways in Bulgaria are dual carriageways, grade separated with controlled-access, designed for high speeds. In 2012, legislation amendments defined two types of highways: motorways and expressways. The main differences are that motorways have emergency lanes and the maximum allowed speed limit is 140 km/h (87 mph), while expressways do not and the speed limit is 120 km/h (75 mph). As of May 2021, a total of 831.3 kilometers of motorways are in service.
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Kresna Gorge Tunnel was a planned twin-tube tunnel in Blagoevgrad Province, Bulgaria. The tunnel would be part of Struma motorway (A3), that runs between Sofia and the border crossing to Greece, at the village of Kulata.
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Republic road I-1 is a major road in western Bulgaria. It runs between the New Europe Bridge, at the Danube border with Romania, and the village of Kulata, at the border crossing to Greece. The total length of the road is 453.8 km (282.0 mi). Most of it provides one driving lane per direction and it is planned to be superseded or replaced in all sections by either motorways, or expressways.
The Veliko Tarnovo–Ruse motorway is a planned motorway in Northern Bulgaria, that will link Veliko Tarnovo and Ruse, at the Danube border crossing to Romania. Planned to be designated A7, it will span for approximately 118 kilometers (73 mi), superseding the existing major road 5. Along with the Hemus motorway (A2), the Veliko Tarnovo–Ruse motorway aims to provide motorway connection between Sofia and Bucharest, the capitals of Bulgaria and Romania. Also, it follows the route of European route E85 and Pan-European Corridor IX. In March 2015, a tender for conceptual design was announced.
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On 23 November 2021, at 02:00 local time, a North Macedonian bus crashed and caught fire in western Bulgaria. The accident happened on the Struma Motorway near the village of Bosnek, south-west of Sofia. Fifty passengers and two drivers were on the bus. Forty-six people died in the crash, including twelve children. Seven other passengers suffered burns but initially survived, with one dying later in hospital. It is currently the deadliest road accident in Bulgarian history, and has been referred to as the deadliest bus crash in Europe in a decade.