Danube Bridge 2, Bulgaria
The Danube Bridge 2 is part of a major transport infrastructure upgrade in Bulgaria and Romania. The new road and rail bridge is being constructed over the Danube River between the towns of Vidin in Bulgaria and Calafat in Romania. It is also known as the Vidin-Calafat Bridge.
The project is being supported by the European Union (EU) through its PHARE (Poland and Hungary: Assistance for Restructuring their Economies) and ISPA (Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession) programmes. The construction of the long awaited bridge, which has been planned since 2000 (tenders were put out in March 2005), started in May 2007.
The project was originally scheduled for completion in 2010 but got delayed due to construction-related issues between Romania and Bulgaria. Completion of the bridge has been re-scheduled to 2011 with a target opening of early 2012.
Bridge of reunion
The bridge construction is an important part of the Pan-European Transport Corridor 4 passing from Thessaloniki through Sofia and Vidin to Romania by providing connection to Central and Western Europe. It is a key element of the European transport corridor from the German city of Dresden to Istanbul in Turkey.
Currently, Bulgaria and Romania are connected by a bridge built in 1954, which is on the 610km section of the Danube that forms the Bulgarian-Romanian border. This bridge links Ruse in Bulgaria and Giurgiu in Romania by road and rail. Bulgaria and Romania, which both joined the EU on 1 January 2007, signed an agreement to build the Vidin-Calafat Bridge in 2000, but various bureaucratic obstacles have delayed the project.
Danube Bridge 2 construction
In April 2007 the Mayor of Vidin signed over the writ of possession for the building site to FCC Construction (Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas SA) of Spain and the consortium between Ingerop of France and High-Point Rendel of the UK who will carry out building supervision, project management and engineering services on the project.
The Ingerop and High-Point Rendel contract is worth €7m and lasts 51 months including a one month preparatory period before construction and a 12 month guarantee period when construction is complete.
A 9.2ha building site for mustering the construction components is situated outside Vidin near kilometre mark 796 where the bridge will be situated.
The writ of possession for the site was required prior to FCC supplying the site with equipment and store materials.
In addition FCC has also obtained temporary use of 12ha in a Duty Free Zone to use for steel fabrication and as a concrete mixing centre.
On the Bulgarian site, the foundation works of the bridge are nearing completion. As a part of the foundation works, eight concrete piles were built and work on the ninth one has started.
A small port in the Duty Free Zone and a temporary dike in the Danube River have been built, both to assist in the construction of the bridge. The bridge will be built of ferro-concrete. Along with two road tracks and an electric railway line, a pavement and bicycle alley are also planned for construction.
The bridge will be 1,971m long with two lanes in each direction and a central railway line. The construction contract for the bridge amounts to €236m with €100m due to the FCC.
Bridge construction is contracted for completion within 38 months. In addition, infrastructure connecting the bridge to the existing road and rail networks will be required to be completed by 2010. The separate contract for this is €60m and the tender process is still underway.
Land acquisition for the new road infrastructure near the villages of Antimovo, Pokraina and Kapitanovtsi were completed in 2007 (86% obtained so far). The final plans for adjoining road and railway infrastructure have been approved by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works of Bulgaria.
Finance and support
The bridge construction is costing a total of €226m ($318m), €70m of which has been granted by the ISPA and PHARE programmes. The European Investment Bank (EIB) also granted a credit for €70m. The financial contract entered into with the EIB provided a loan utilisation period until 2010. However, the contract was modified in July 2009 to extend the utilisation period to until 2011.
In addition, the German bank KfW offered additional credit of €2.045m by grant and €18m by loan. Additional assistance was offered from the Credit institution for rehabilitation of Federal Republic of Germany.
The French Agency for Development (AFD) gave €5m towards the bridge. The Bulgarian Government's stake in the project is €60.8m. In addition, a further €10m is planned for environmental studies, consulting and surveying projects around the bridge.