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The first 70 m of the longest two-pipe railway tunnel in Bulgaria have been dug

The first 70 m of the longest two-pipe railway tunnel in Bulgaria have been dug
photo: Ministry of Transport, Information and Communications Bulgaria/The first 70 m of the longest two-pipe railway tunnel in Bulgaria have been dug
25 / 08 / 2021

The first 70 meters of the longest two-pipe railway tunnel ever built in Bulgaria have already been dug. It is 7 kilometers long and is a component of the large-scale railway project Elin Pelin-Kostenets, whose implementation started a little over a month ago, the Ministry of Transport announced.

At the end of yesterday, the Minister of Transport, Information Technology, and Communications Georgi Todorov inspected the construction activities of the site. What I see is that the work is being done at a very good pace. At the moment, the builder has completed work on the eastern and western portals of the tunnel and is carrying out excavation works in the tunnel body, he commented.

Mr. Todorov pointed out that this is one of the important strategic projects for Bulgaria. Its implementation will improve the connectivity on the main railway line from the East-West direction, which is part of the European corridor No. 8 and the passing TEN-T network in Bulgaria.

It is therefore important not to delay, despite technical and operational challenges. Continuous control over the entire process is also important to ensure high-quality construction, the minister said.

The tunnel is expected to be completed in 3 years. The technology on which the facility is built includes the implementation of a new Austrian method. It is one of the most commonly used methods of tunnel construction, providing flexibility and safety.

In addition to the long tunnel, another tunnel facility is currently under construction, with a length of almost 1 km, explained representatives of the contractor. The geology of the terrain in which the tunnels are being built is the big challenge, said project manager Plamen Mitov. With each change in the geological conditions, the type of fortification is determined - heavier or lighter. In the process of work, it changes. The tunnels are operated around the clock and adequate and quick decisions must be made constantly, he explained.

The railway line from Elin Pelin to Kostenets, 51 km long, is the most complex section of the Sofia-Plovdiv route. In order to overcome the mountainous terrain through which the high-speed railway line will pass, almost half of the section will be built underground. It is planned to build over 20 km of tunnels and 3 km of bridges. The design speed of the new route is up to 160 km / h for passenger trains and 120 km / h for freight trains.

The modernization of the entire route is worth BGN 1.024 billion, which will be provided by two operational programs - Operational Program "Transport and Transport Infrastructure" 2014-2020 and Program "Transport Connectivity" 2021-2027.