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LEAKED GIBRALTAR FRONTIER ROTA BELIES SPORADIC CLAIMS.
SERBIA/BULGARIA: New road effort Nis-Sofia.
Western Europe to the Black Sea by mid-2016?
The 160km Corridor X motorway between Nis and Sofia will open in mid-2016 said Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic after a meeting with Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev in Sofia yesterday. Thus the Bulgarian capital will be connected to the European motorway network for the first time, as will the Black Sea.
Work is on-going on the Serb section with officials boasting this week of their 58.1km/year construction rate, far above the European average of 52km/year. The Sofia ring road will have to be completed before the Bulgarians start their stretch but at just 40km over easy terrain it is expected to be a straightforward job.
Meanwhile, China’s Shandong Hi-Speed will start construction on the vital central section of the Corridor XI Belgrade-Bar (Montenegro) motorway by the end of the year. The 40 mile Obrenovac-Ljig stretch has a build time of 37 months. Two other Chinese companies, CCCC and CRBC, begin work on the Montenegro section in February 2014, fingers crossed, the third start date so far. The 80 mile section Bar-Boljar, straight through mountains – widely described as the most important highway in Montenegro – will cost in excess of €2bn, financed by Chinese banks.
Ultimately, Corridor XI will link the Adriatic Sea with the Black Sea via Podgorica, Belgrade and Bucharest.
BELARUS. More roads are to be added into the electronic road toll scheme, in two phases. From 1 January the entire M4 Minsk-Mogilev highway will be chargeable. Exactly which roads will be tolled from 1 July 2014 depends on upgrades but is almost certain to include M5 Minsk-Gomel (see map). Tolls apply to all non-CIS vehicles. For more info see www.BelToll.by. Meanwhile, authorities are working on a simplified toll scheme for drivers attending the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championships in Minsk in May 2014. Spectators have already been exempted from needing a visa. More details soon. UZBEKISTAN. An easier route south from Samarkand to the Afghan border, avoiding the foothills of the Tian Shan mountain range, should be up and running within two years. A tender to upgrade the 43 mile P87 Kukdala-Chim-Guzar to four lane highway was issued today with finance from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.