Serbia and Bulgaria Celebrate the Opening of New Sofia-Nis Highway
Nov. 11, 2019 (EIRNS)—Serbia and Bulgaria celebrated the opening of the new Sofia-Nis highway connecting the Serbian city of Nis and the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, on Nov. 9. This forms one of the east-west forks of the strategically important north-south Trans-European Corridor Ten, which begins in Budapest, and passes through Belgrade, Serbia and Skopje, North Macedonia, and terminates in Thessaloniki, Greece. The completed Nis-Sofia fork continues northwest to Zagreb, Croatia, Ljubljana, Slovenia, and on to Salzburg, Austria.
The opening ceremony for this four-lane highway was attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, along with government representatives of the two countries, foreign creditors, and companies that worked on this section of the road.
Proudly, Serbian President Vucic addressed the event:
“Happiness is a word not strong enough to describe how I feel today. When we started changing our country a few years ago, this was what I wanted. The dream was hundreds of miles of modern roads. This is a miracle. We have done more miles than in the previous 40 years. We have made them in order for our citizens to use to return from Europe to our country, to make economic progress, to open new factories, to protect our citizens.
“We have worked hard and fought hard, and we are making rapid progress. We are celebrating these 87 km that divide Nis from Gradina, and note that the last section of Corridor 10 is finished. We can now reach the border with Croatia in less than 4 hours. This is a transit corridor from Central Europe to Turkey, and farther to the Middle East. This will mean a lot for our people, because we lost more people in the Sicevacka Gorge than in the wars of the 1990s,”
Vucic said, referring to the high accident rate on the previous roadway.
Urging young Serbians who had left the country, to consider returning, he told them that this was their country, and that they should return “to make our Serbian dream come true.”
For his part, Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov said, “The Bulgarian industry will use this highway as a whole to market its goods to Europe. Let Serbia be happy, I want you to use it in health.” He stated that Serbia now has direct access to Bulgaria’s Black Sea ports. The two leaders then warmly embraced.
The slopes around one of the tunnel entrances where the ceremony was held were festooned with banners declaring, “Serbia connects Europe,” “Responsibly towards the goal,” “Building towards the future,” “The path of victory,” “The path of success,” etc. Citizens carried Serbian flags and a large banner, “The Future of Serbia.”
The entire fork from Nis to the Bulgarian border includes 87 bridges and five traffic loops. The tunnels are equipped with state-of-the-art safety systems, and managed by a technical and operational center. The road cost around €476 million, funded in part by the EU’s European Investment Bank. The construction of the eastern fork of Corridor 10 had begun in 2010.