Hemus Motorway

The route of Hemus motorway is part of the European Road Network from the connection with Corridor IV in the west, to Corridor IX near the city of Veliko Tarnovo. The completion of the motorway will provide a connection between the east and the west parts of Bulgaria with the Trans-European Network. Hemus motorway is considered as a strategic project expected to encourage economic and social development on a regional level. The construction of the motorway will impact the economies of three major regions in Bulgaria - Northwestern, Northcentral and Northeastern, and will positively impact on the business and job opportunities. The population benefiting from the improved infrastructure is estimated to exceed 2, 9 million, over an area of nearly 44% of the territory of the country.

Hemus motorway will connect the capital - Sofia with the sea capital – Varna doubling the first class roads E70 from Varna to Shumen, E722 from Shumen to Yablanitsa and E83 from Yablanitsa to Sofia.. The estimated length of the route is approximately 420 km. Sections of the motorway currently in operation are from the interchange Yana to the Sofia ring road reaching near Yablanitsa and from Belokopitovo, via Shumen, to Varna: approximately 170 km in total. Hemus Motorway will be the east-west connection between the northern region of Bulgaria and the port of Varna, a key hub for commercial activity into Ukraine, Russian Federation and Turkey.

Information brochure om the preparation for construction of Hemus Motorway – „Yablanitsa - Belokopitovo“, 2015 [Bulgarian]

Feasibility studies summary, 2014

Presentation of variant alignments, 2014

Maps of the routes, 2014


Hemus motorway - section "Yablanitsa - Belokopitovo"

The remaining section of Hemus motorway to be constructed starts in the west part of the country near Yablanitsa, Lovech district, and ends in the east part near Belokopitovo, Shumen district, with a length of approximately 252 km. The route is expected to connect the already built sections in the west and east end. The motorway will pаss through the territories of 6 regions – Pleven, Lovech, Veliko Tarnovo, Targovishte, Razgrad and Shumen and through 18 municipalities within the regions.

The project is provisionally divided into the following 8 sections:

  • Section 1 from Yablanitsa to road ІІІ-307/ ІІІ-305;
  • Section 2 from road път ІІІ 307/ ІІІ-305 to road II-35;
  • Section 3 from road II-35 to road III-301/Alexandrovo;
  • Section 4 from road III-301/Alexandrovovo to road III-303/Pavlikeni;
  • Section 5 from road III-303/Pavlikeni to road E85;
  • Section 6 from E85 to road II-51;
  • Section 7 from road II-51 to road II-49;
  • Section 8 from road II-49 to Hemus motorway (A-2) Belokopitovo.

The design of the eight sections is organized in 3 priority stages:

  • Stage 1 - including sections 1 and 2; starts at the connection of the already built part of the motorway after Yablanitsa, until its crossing with road II-35 (Nikopol - Pleven - Lovech - Troyan - Karnare); the length is approximately 59 km;
  • Stage 2 - incluing sections 3, 4 and 5; starts at road junction with road II-35 until crossing with road I-5 (Ruse - Kardzhali - Podkova); the length is approximately 85 km;
  • Stage 3 - including sections 6, 7 and 8; starts after road junction with road I-5 and ends up at the Eastern part of Hemus Motorway which is under construction; the length is approximately 108 km.


Activities for the preparation of Hemus Motorway, section “Yablanitsa – Belokopitovo”

The following preparation activities for the completion of the project have been identified:

  • Preparation of feasibility studies for the completion of Hemus Motorway. The purpose of the studies is on the basis of all variant alignments, proposed during the past years, to reasonably define one preferable variant. The activity is finalized in May 2014.
  • Preparation of preliminary designs for the completion of Hemus Motorway under priority stages. During this phase will be carried out design works based on the chosen variant alignment, including elaboration of detailed cross and longitudinal sections, etc. a Bill of Quantities and a detailed assessment of the construction costs will be prepared. The technicalities elaboration level should allow for the conduct of all the relevant approval procedures, stipulated by the current legislation, including meeting the requirements for environment protection, fire and emergency safety. The preparation of preliminary designs for the three priority stages have been assigned respectively in April 2014 for stage 1, in July 2014 for stage 2 and for stage 3 in November 2014 in three separate postions. 
  • Preparation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the completion of Hemus Motorway `(Yablanitsa - Belokopoitovo). Based on the feasibility study, the preparation of an EIA and Appropriate assessment reports the whole route has been assigned. In July 2015 an EIA decision has been issued for the whole route of Hemus Motorway to be completed.The identified mitigation measures for reducing environmental impacts will be included in the scope of work of the Contractors for the detailed design and construction.
  • Preparation of preliminary archeological studies - investigation of archeological sites for the completion of Hemus Motorway. The goal is to determine whether or not any archeological and other items of cultural value exist in the proximity of the motorway’s alignment. The results will be used as the basis for planning the on-site archeological studies prior to the construction stage.


Construction activities

In January 2015 a restricted tender procedure has been launched for design and build of Hemus Motorway, Stage 1 under separate positions: position I – section from A2 (Yablanitsa) to III-307 and position II – section from III-307 to II-35. In December 2015 contractors under the two separate positions were appointed and contract agreements are to be signed.

For each of the construction contracts under the two separate positions in stage 1 a tender procedure will be carried out for appointment of contractors for the supervision activities.


The preparation of the project commenced decades ago and a number of feasibility studies and discussions have been carried out. Most of the studies do not define complete East-West alignments, but review variant solutions for separate shorter sections.

A feasibility study, carried out in 1992-1993 by Patproject EOOD, is available and it summarizes the main surveys from previous years. On the basis of this study, 4 main design alternatives for the motorway alignment may be derived and the preferred alignment being a combination of all of them. Motorway gauge А4 (28 m) with 3,0 m strip and speed of 120 km/h is considered. The feasibility research contains incomplete parts that must be corrected during the preparation and construction process.

An environmental impact assessment `(EIA) of the project has been prepared but it dates back before the current environmental legislation has been adapted to the European standards (protected areas, birds and habitats, etc.) There is EIA decision from 30.07.1999, which permits next phase of design from km 90+000 to km 235+000 to begin. An environmental impact assessment has been carried out again in 2008.

In August 2000, Patproject-2000 EOOD was appointed to prepare a new study for the route of Hemus Motorway from interchange Yablanitsa to I-7 road Silistra-Shumen-Yambol. Comparison of the new variants with the preferred one from 1992-1993 has been made from the Techno- Economic Expert Board of Road Executive Agency. The motorway gauge is A29 with 3,5 m strip, and speed 120 km/h. The option of paid access to the motorway has been discussed. From environmental point of view three variants have been described in details. The studies are accepted by the Techno- Economic Expert Board but a final decision was not made.

Ten years later, on the basis of the Road Masterplan Model in Bulgaria (assigned by MTITC) in 2011 a new traffic forecast for Hemus Motorway was prepared by AECOM. The forecast considers three main alternatives, as the preferred one is combination of them. The variants used are from 1992-1993 study, while the variants from 2001 are not discussed. Cost-Benefit Analysis is prepared and it is done according to the requirements of Operational Programme on Transport 2007-2013 for financial justification of projects.

For the whole alternative a motorway gauge and project speed are accepted, but this does not comply with the intention that Veliko Tarnovo – Shumen section is carried out as a speed road. There are no detailed variants for construction stages. The investment value is calculated at low level of accuracy and detail.


Project Financing

In July 2013, a contract for grant assistance was signed between NCSIP and the Managing Authority of Operational Programme Transport 2007-2013 under Project № BG161PO004-2.0.01-0018 for “Preparation for the completion of Hemus Motorway” with a value of BGN 5 246 400. It is financed through Operational Programme on Transport 2007-2012 by means of the Cohesion Fund. The construction of stage 1 of the Hemus Motorway will be considered in the Programme period 2014-2020.