The Minister of Ecology Asen Lichev sent a letter to RIA with a request to present the studied options for a route through the Petrohan Pass, the Ministry of Ecology announced.
Given the importance of the investment intention and the alleged negative impact on the environment, the Minister of Environment and Water Asen Lichev sent a letter today to the Road Infrastructure Agency (RIA) with a notification that the procedure can be resumed. In the letter, Minister Lichev emphasizes that the EIA procedure can be resumed in case all the options for the route through the Petrohan Pass studied by the investor are presented in the MoEW.
The Minister of Environment and Water Asen Lichev stopped the procedure for ecological assessment of the tunnel under the Petrohan pass, it became clear a few days ago. The Ministry of Environment and Water points out that the reason for the decision is that the tunnel and the new road would pass through several protected areas.
The tunnel is planned to be part of the European road E-79, which connects Central Europe, through Romania and Bulgaria, with Greece and the port of Thessaloniki. The route is also part of international corridor number 4 and is of particular importance because it passes only through EU member states and bypasses Serbia and northern Macedonia.
Apart from the fact that the tunnel will shorten the road Vidin - Sofia, it also reduces the travel time of the trucks to the border with Greece. Precisely because of the strategic importance of the corridor, the second bridge over the Danube River - Vidin / Calafat was built years ago. The tunnel under Petrohan is of great importance for the development of the most backward region in all of Europe - the Bulgarian Northwest. People have been protesting for a decade and wanting the tunnel because it is a hope for business and tourism in the region. It would facilitate access to tourist destinations in the Western Stara Planina and the opportunities around the thermal springs in Varshets, Belograchishki rocks, Magura and Venets caves, as well as dozens of other attractions.
Only a month ago, the resigned Minister Petya Avramova announced that RIA is coordinating three options with the Ministry of Ecology. The three options follow the route of the existing road Sofia-Petrohan-Berkovitsa-Monatana-Lom. Exceptions are the bypass of Kostinbrod, which will be new, the bypass of the village of Buchin Prohod and the subsequent crossing of the Petrohan Pass. After the village of Gintsi, options have been developed for tunneling the rest of the pass. This will shorten the distance between the capital and Montana by 46 km. At the moment, there is no clarity about the financing of the project, for which it will be difficult to secure European funds and must be financed from the national budget, through a loan or public-private partnership.