The longest road tunnel in Europe will be built along the new stretch of the Struma highway in Bulgaria.
It will be underneath the Kresna gorge between Bulgaria’s towns Blagoevgrad and Sandanski. The total length of the two tunnels will be almost 37 kilometers.
The tunnels are required for environmental reasons and will be dug in at 30 meters underground.
The total length of the highway stretch will be 65 kilometers.
“This is the longest tunnel facility in Europe and the second longest in the world,” said the Minister of Regional Development Desislava Terzieva at a press conference.
The planned speed along the stretch is 120 km/h. The projected cost is BGN 1.7B.
According to Terzieva the tenders for the construction will start by the middle of this year and will continue through 2014. She said the Struma highway will be toll free.
There will also be three helipads suitable for emergency evacuation, a control center for servicing the two tunnels and the highway where there will be winter maintenance equipment, ambulances, fire apparatus and surveillance cameras. The center will spread on an area of about 40 decares and will be located between the towns of Krupnik and Simitli.
The total length of the Struma highway from the village of Daskalovo to the Greek border is 150 km.
It is part of the Pan-European Transport Corridor IV and the Trans-European North-South Highway.