The Basin Directorate in Blagoevgrad gave a positive opinion
The basin directorate in Blagoevgrad has given a positive opinion on the construction of the “Struma” highway through the Kresnen Gorge, according to a statement from the department uploaded on its website. According to him, the infamous Lot 3.2 is eligible because it is compatible with the River Basin Management Plan. But several pages of obligations are attached to the permit, which the investor must comply with while the technical designs are drawn up and then during construction.
The permit is part of the procedure for approving the EIA of this section and in practice
enables the start of construction,
which should start any minute. For this section of the highway, the road agency is about to conclude contracts with GBS and “Groma Hold”, which were selected with public procurement already 2 years ago. However, the contracts themselves could not be concluded, because the Deputy Prime Minister and Eco-Minister of the quadruple coalition Borislav Sandov stopped two of the approval procedures, which depended on the MoEW. The road agency will also appeal at the end of 2022.
two different panels of the SAC overruled the decisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
However, a new problem arises – the EIA report is valid for 5 years, which expire at the end of May 2023. If construction does not start by then, the document becomes invalid and a new one must be made, which takes years.
Two months ago, the Acting Minister of Regional Development, Ivan Shishkov, told “24 Chasa” that he was about to issue partial permits for construction through the gorge. This was necessary in order to save the current EIA and it was not necessary to make a new one.
The other reason was that anyway
there are no ready detailed development plans for the entire route,
as there are still unallocated private lands.
On Friday, the regional ministry and the road agency commented succinctly that when they have something specific to announce, they will do so. However, the expectations are that the contracts with the builders will be signed and some construction will begin before May.
The two contracts have a total value of BGN 1.2 billion including VAT and the financing is included in the new Operational Program “Transport Connectivity”. If the project is not delayed again, it could be completed by the end of 2027.
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