Bulgaria: transparency in motorway construction

Filed under - Integrity Pacts Programme

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In 2016 the European Commission teamed up with Transparency International to pilot the use of Integrity Pacts for 17 projects in 11 Member States, including Bulgaria, worth a total of over EUR 900 million. To find out more about each project click here.

The EU and national governments have come up with an ambitious pan-European improvement project meant to connect the continent with a modern and efficient transport network. One of the nine routes is called the Orient/East-Med Corridor. It will run through nine countries, from Greece in the south, through Bulgaria, and north to Germany, connecting the ports of the Black Sea, Aegean Sea and Mediterranean to the North Sea at Hamburg.

In western Bulgaria, the 150km Struma motorway is a key link in this network. It carries the heaviest volume of traffic of any route crossing Bulgaria in the north-south direction. One particular section that needs modernising connects six of the largest cities in the western part of the country, and the Road Infrastructure Agency of Bulgaria is undertaking a massive infrastructure project to improve it.

However, Bulgaria has struggled to overcome widespread corruption in public procurement following the country’s transition to democracy. Another recently-built link in the Corridor, the New Europe Bridge over the River Danube, was not controversy-free, going both over time and over budget. Since 2011, however, Transparency International Bulgaria has piloted Integrity Pacts in three public agencies in an effort to enhance transparency, performance, and accountability in the public contracting process.

Now, Transparency International Bulgaria is using an Integrity Pact signed with the Road Infrastructure Agency to monitor the design and construction of a €128 million tunnel near Zheleznitsa village, along the Struma motorway. This is a high-profile project; it is an important section of the motorway and, at close to 2km long, the tunnel is expected to be the longest in the country.

Project details

  • Project: Motorway construction
  • Civil society monitor: Transparency International Bulgaria
  • Contracting Authority: Road Infrastructure Agency
  • Private sector contractor: Tender evaluation
  • Project website: http://integrity.transparency.bg/en/

Country / Territory - Bulgaria   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Public procurement   
Tags - Public procurement   |   Integrity Pacts   |   Transport   |   Bulgaria   |   Transparency International Bulgaria   |   clean contracts   |   motorway   

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