Sofia welcomes third metro extension
Sofia’s underground transport network is set for another major upgrade to link key districts and landmarks across the capital.
The third phase of the upgrade sees Sofia International Airport and Business Park Sofia coming within easy reach of the Central Business District, Central Railway Station and Bus Terminal, as well as the main highways entering the city. The extension also brings the metro closer to an additional 190 000 residents. In fact, the entire population will reap the benefits of the new lines through reduced travel times and lower CO2 emissions.
The overarching goal is to make the metro Sofia’s main transport system, allowing for better connection with European, national and local transport networks – particularly with the railway network. About 900 jobs are expected to be created during implementation and the metro company is expecting to hire a further 325 permanent staff to operate the extended service.
Extending two branches of line 1
Lot 1 of this third phase of the major infrastructure project extends metro line 1 with 7.1 km between Tsarigradsko Shose Blvd to Sofia International Airport adding 6 metro stations. Lot 2 sees the construction of 4 metro stations on a 3.6 km stretch between Mladost I RD and one of the largest business complexes in South-eastern Europe, Business Park Sofia in Mladost 4. On completion of stage 3, line 1 aims at having a total of 22 stations along a stretch of 28 km.
Back in time
Interestingly, the original construction of Sofia's metro only started in the late 1990s. This is because the city never had an urgent need for an underground system but is also due to a lack of sufficient funding. Another factor was the depth at which the construction works had to be carried out: being one of the oldest cities in Europe, Sofia contains many historical layers underneath its central areas, which also resulted in delays. Evidence of ancient times can be clearly seen at the Serdika Station which houses many prime examples of Thracian and Roman ruins and architecture.
All three stages of the Sofia Metro Extension project are technically and financially independent of each other.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “Sofia Metro Extension Project: Stage III Lot 1 “Tsarigradsko Shose Blvd. - Sofia Airport” and Lot 2 “Mladost 1 RD – business Park in Mladost 4” is EUR 239 755 041, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 116 087 083 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. The project is funded through the priority “Improvement of intermodality for passengers and freight” of the Operational Programme “Transport”.