site.btaBulgaria, Romania Take Steps towards Construction of Third Bridge over Danube
Nearly two decades after the announcement of the project, Bulgaria and Romania have started real action for the construction of a third bridge over the Danube, the Ministry of Transport and Communications press service reported on Thursday. The two countries have submitted a joint project to the European Commission (EC) for a feasibility study on a second Ruse-Giurgiu bridge, effectively starting the process of building a second combined road and rail bridge over the Danube at Ruse.
Minister of Transport and Communications, Georgi Gvozdeikov, signed a letter of joint commitment with the Romanian Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communications, Sorin Grindeanu, confirming the position of both countries that the project is a priority and both governments will work towards its implementation.
The activities will be coordinated by the Transport Ministries of Bulgaria and Romania. The Bulgarian Ministry, together with its associated partners the National Railway Infrastructure Company and the Road Infrastructure Agency, will carry out the study on the connecting infrastructure in the country. The Bulgarian financial contribution to the project is EUR 1.4 million or BGN 2.73 million, of which up to 50% is expected to be a grant under the Connecting Europe Facility.
The studies will analyze the different alignments and the points from which the bridge will start in Ruse and Giurgiu respectively to facilitate the selection of a technical solution.
Whether the project has been approved for funding is expected to be announced in early 2024. The timetable foresees the signing of a contract with the EC by mid-2024 and implementation by the end of 2026, when the two countries will decide on the location and financing modalities of the infrastructure facility.
The possibility of using public-private partnership mechanisms for the construction will also be analyzed, as such mechanisms could speed up the full implementation of the bridge and attract additional funding from other sources.
Ruse will host a conference entitled "Bridge of Expectations: the importance of Schengen for Bulgaria and Romania" on Friday. The forum aims to provide an opportunity for an in-depth discussion between Bulgarian and Romanian politicians, ambassadors of the two countries, business representatives and the public.