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Long queues of trucks at Danube Bridge near Vidin continue, international drivers furious

Photo: BNR Vidin

At the height of summer, let us take a look at the national road network, though not the thoroughfares leading to the seaside resorts in the environs of Varna but at the region of the town of Vidin. Once the capital of the Tsardom (Kingdom) of Vidin (1369 -1396), today the town is in the poorest and depopulated region of the European Union.

Alongside these problems, the people of Vidin and the surrounding towns and villages are eager to see the Vidin-Botevgrad expressway completed. The plans are for the 190-km. route to be finished in 2027. The road would connect Danube Bridge 2 with Hemus motorway, and that would ease the heavy traffic in the area. As to the yearly problem of freight traffic across the border check point with Romania, no solution has as yet been found. According to an analysis by the Directorate-General Border Police, commissioned by BNR-Vidin, the border check point has reaches saturation point for trucks. There are several reasons for this – on the one hand the summer season has started, on the other the routes for international drivers have been altered due to geopolitical, economic and other factors. One of the major obstacles to facilitating the functioning of the border crossing is, according to the analysis, the fact that traffic cannot be re-organized. And the reason for that is that such a re-organization is entirely up to our Northern neighbour – Romania – as the land on which the check point is located is owned by Romania. The check point and the area around it is run by a joint Bulgarian-Romanian venture - Vidin-Calafat AD.

BNR-Vidin talked to drivers waiting at the border, and they were all furious at the conditions they have to endure while they wait for hours to cross the border:

“If you manage to cross over within one 15-hour shift, then you’re lucky. It is not easy – with the sun beating down, temperatures of 30 degrees and over, no wind. I think the delay is due to the control on the Romanian side which takes more time, whereas in the opposite direction – in the direction of Bulgaria – the queue moves a little bit faster,” one heavy duty truck driver says.

“It is possible to reduce waiting time if the counters where the documents of vehicles from non-EU countries are checked and vignettes sold are moved after the check point,” another driver says.

“There is a major delay because of the gas analysis of some of the trucks at the check point,” a third driver adds.

All trucks have to be weighed with truck-scales, and that too wastes many hours at the border. Some of the drivers give the organization of this process in Hungary as an example. There, the procedure takes place at a parking lot outside the border check point. And this is one of the recommendations from the Interior ministry analysis – that some of the procedures be dropped, and others moved outside the border check point zone.

Editing by Yoan Kolev

Photos: BNR-Vidin, BGNES - archive
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