TODAY: there is no prospect of a ‘Transfagarasan motorway’ in Romania any time soon.
Tesla’s free-to-use European supercharger network is growing at a furious pace.
GIBRALTAR FRONTIER WATCH: quiet overnight, around 60mins at 15:00CET, max 30mins since.
‘TRANSFAGARASAN MOTORWAY’ STILL MANY YEARS AWAY
Bad news for Dacia but some better news for mountain pass fans.
The enormous technical challenge involved in building a motorway across the Southern Carpathian mountain range means the much vaunted road is still many years away said the new Romanian transport minister last week.
The government is under severe pressure – notably from auto maker Dacia – to complete the A1. It will stretch from capital Bucharest to the Hungarian border at Nadlac in the west, and form the backbone of the still-to-emerge Romanian core motorway network. Currently only sections in the west and south are open for traffic.
In March the then transport minister said work would start next year but in a TV interview last Thursday, his successor poured cold water on the idea.
While acknowledging the road would ‘eventually’ be built, the recently appointed Ioan Rus said the costs were likely to reach $30m per kilometre, some ten times the cost of roads in neighbouring, albeit less mountainous, countries.
Such were the difficulties he said that building the A1’s central section could be compared to a ‘new Transfagarasan’ referring to the high cost of the original DN7C high altitude road whose route the new road will closely shadow.
Built in response to the soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, as a strategic route between army garrisons in Sibiu and Pitesti, either side of the Southern Carpathian mountain range, construction officially took four years and claimed 40 lives. In reality, Transfagarasan took until 1980 to finish, a further six years, and many hundreds of workers died.
For drivers from Western Europe hoping to drive the famous mountain pass road there is some better news. Of the 70 miles of new motorway expected to open in Romania this year, the vast majority will be on the stretch between the Hungarian border and Sibiu near the northern end of Transfagarasan. By summer 2015 less than fifty miles will be single track cutting several hours off the 1,300 mile drive from Calais.
Read about our attempt to drive Transfagarasan in May 2013.
UPDATE 6 August: the Transfagarasan motorway is key to joining the Euro says the National Bank governor today, explaining that the road is vital for developing the regions outside of booming capital Bucharest. Romania has previously set a target date of 1 January 2019 to join the Continental currency.