New Danube bridge to speed up international traffic
A new bridge spanning the Danube River along the 430 km border between Bulgaria and Romania is due to open in 2011. Carrying road and rail traffic between Vidin and Calafat, it will provide a vital link on a key priority route of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).
“The bridge creates favourable conditions for promoting combined transport by applying environment-friendly river-road-rail logistical solutions.”
Vessela Gospodinova, Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Transport, 2008
The bridge will facilitate increased long-distance traffic and trade between south-eastern Europe and Turkey and central Europe. Planners also expect investment in the project to stimulate the local economy and generate employment.
Replacement for ferries
Regular ferries cross the Danube between Vidin in Bulgaria and Calafat in Romania. But this service is unable to cope with the transportation needs between Bulgaria and Romania, and countries further afield. In June 2000, the two nations agreed to build a new bridge across this part of the river.
One main objective is to restore a cross-border rail connection between Bulgaria and Romania. The new bridge, only the second one on the shared section of the Danube between the two countries, will also ensure better integration of the Bulgarian road and rail networks with pan-European transport networks - linking Germany with both Greece and Turkey.
The project’s total cost estimated to €226 million, with an EU contribution of €70 million. Construction work started in February 2007 and will end in 2011, delivering a bridge with two lanes in each direction for road traffic and a single railway track. There will also be a walkway for pedestrians and non-motorised traffic on one side, and an emergency walkway on the other.
Benefits international traffic
Construction is already underway on the Calafat-Vidin bridge, with the foundations, piers and first deck segments already complete. The main road structures on the Bulgarian side are essentially completed too.
An existing short stretch of rail track is being rehabilitated, and more than 9 km of new rail line is being built and electrified, in coordination with the national railways infrastructure companies. Various switching and shunting tracks are being added, alongside construction of a new border freight station.
The new bridge will have a total length of up to 1 440 metres in the case of the combined road-rail section, plus 1 040 metres for the approach railway bridge. A good example of bilateral cooperation between Bulgaria and Romania, it should remove a major bottleneck for international long-distance transport to Romania and Central Europe.