NEWS: A new road from the Serbian border will put Sofia very close to the European motorway network. Monaco is shut for the weekend. Snow shuts central Portugal roads. A need to know on Milan’s restricted zone as it scoops a top transport prize. Basel police trial a roadside eye test. This week’s cross-border anti-speed op nabbed a healthy crop of drivers in Luxembourg and Germany. Land Rover goes adventuring in Albania’s Accursed Mountains (Prokletije).
GIBRALTAR QUEUE WATCH: 45mins at lunchtime. Currently no delay.
SOFIA CLOSE TO EURO MOTORWAYS
From the Channel to the Bulgarian capital non-stop in four years, max
A new highway from the Serbian border will bring Bulgaria’s capital tantalisingly close to the European motorway network.
Yesterday, a tender was announced to upgrade just over half of the 57km I-8 ‘Slivnitsa Boulevard’ between the Sofia ring road and Kalotina.
The road will be let in two sections, from Kalotina to Dragoman to be completed in three years, and from Dragoman to the Hrabarsko junction to be finished in two years. The winner will be announced later this summer.
There’s no word yet on when the remaining 15.5km to the ring road will be built.
I-8 was not thought to be a high priority road but as north west Bulgaria is the EU’s poorest region it was eventually included in the 2014-2020 programming period for Cohesion Funding. Direct via Hungary and Serbia, Sofia is 2,250km (1,400 miles) from Paris.
Meanwhile, Corridor X – from Serb third city Nis to Dimitrovgrad, just over the border from Kalotina – is well under way and due to open next summer.
roundup: PORTUGAL. Freak snow storms have shut some roads in the mountainous Serra da Estrela region in the centre of the country says The Portugal News. Spring-like weather is expected to return by the weekend. SWITZERLAND. Police in northern border city Basel have improvised a roadside eye test along with a local optician. They will use it when called to incidents/collisions for the rest of this year, especially at night and with people of a ‘certain age’. Drivers stand three metres away and read different ‘E’ positions off a card. ITALY. Milan’s congestion/low emission zone won the top 2014 Transport Achievement Award at the OECD’s International Transport Forum in Leipzig today, mainly it seems because it is supported by just under 80% of the local population. Read this everything-you-could-possibly-want-to-know sheet though be aware Milan’s is subtly different to other no go zones in Italian historic city centres. LUXEMBOURG/GERMANY. Despite widespread publicity police nabbed 1,453 drivers during their 24 hour cross border speed blitz yesterday. Around 21,000 vehicles were checked, including for documentation, by a combined 249 officers.