Mega extension for capital’s metro
Construction of a 6.5 km section of underground railway (metro) line will complete the missing central section of line 2 in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city. Scheduled to end in 2012, the project will cut journey times within the city and help to tackle its growing road congestion.
Projects such as this are helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020, as set out in the EU 2020 growth strategy. The EU is facing some tough challenges, including an ageing population, an insufficiently qualified workforce, the need for greater innovation, striking a balance between economic growth and environmental degradation, and ensuring secure, clean energy supplies. Regional policy projects across the EU are playing an active role in dealing with these and many other challenges, by undertaking projects designed to generate employment, raise educational achievement, develop renewable energy sources, boost productivity and give all citizens access to opportunities. The projects and the regions play a pivotal role in this, as they generate real results that contribute to achieving the strategy’s key goals.
The vital new link will include seven metro stations. It forms part of an expanding metro system that will eventually include three lines, all intersecting in the city centre, and more than 60 stations.
Foundations of a smart, sustainable system
Sofia’s metro system has been struggling to cope with a burgeoning population (the city already has around 1.6 million inhabitants) and increasing car ownership. The new project plugs a 6.5 km gap in the metro’s line 2. Running from the city’s north-west to its south-east, the extension will be built from the Nadejda road junction, via the Central Railway Station and Sveta Nedelya square, to Cherni Vrah Boulevard. The project will also involve the construction of 4.4 km of tunnels; five stations will be newly built.
More passengers on board
Upon completion, the number of network users will grow dramatically from 78 000 to a staggering 295 000 passengers/day. Capacity could be increased in future by using five-car train sets instead of the current four. Journeys will be faster and connections with surface trains, buses and the planned metro link to Sofia’s international airport easier. The new link will see 1 500 jobs created during the development phase, another 360 long-term.
Lean, green transport machine
The time saved due to faster travel times by metro, compared to public transport above ground, should amount to 19 300 hours/day. Measured in money terms, this equates to estimated annual savings of €35.27 million. Furthermore, the number of over-ground vehicles will decrease by about 30 trams and 52 buses, saving some €3.11 million annually. Road transport accidents and incidents are consequently expected to fall significantly, resulting in further savings of up to €8.6 million per year. On the green side of the equation, levels of air pollution look set to fall, with 11 500 tons less CO2 emitted into the air each year.