Countries to start work on super-highway, following end of preliminary stages
Representatives of the countries that surround the Black Sea have finished the planning and negotiation stages, in order to build an international highway that would link important cities in the region.
Projected to cross eight countries in Eastern Europe and Western Asia, the Black Sea Ring Road is a four-lane highway measuring an impressive 7.140km in length. It will have a speed limit of 130 km/h and a weight limit of 12,5 tons. The route will use many of the existing highways, which will be linked to newly-built road sections. The aim is to allow motorists and cargo vehicles to move faster in the region, thus making for a more efficient long-distance form of transport.
Eight countries to benefit from the super-highway
The future highway will pass through eight countries, all of them located around the Black Sea. As a result, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Turkey will each have at least one city through which the highway will pass. Besides these eight main countries, the highway is set to connect to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Albania and Serbia through additional routes.
The project doesn’t have a total official budget set up. This is because every country will build its own sections, using any form of financing at their disposal. Individual funding is expected, but European Union contributions are also encouraged, along with other international sources. Russia, for instance, is set to spend close to 500 million Rubles (8 million USD) for every kilometer of highway built. This estimate includes costs for land purchase and other amenities. On a similar note, Ukraine will have a total estimated cost of 500 million USD for its 618 km of road.
Possible in the next few years
The project itself should be officially commissioned sometimes in 2019 or 2020. However, individual countries have already started the build process. Russia’s Ministry of Transport, for instance, announced that 113 km of the highway should be completed by the end of 2016, with 167 km more to be commissioned in 2017 or 2018. On the other hand, much of the section passing through the country has already been built before the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. Russia will have a total of 2,230 km of highway passing through.
A project dating back ten years
The Black Sea Ring Road project came to life back in 2006 when representatives of the States of the Organization for Economic Cooperation of the Black Sea (BSEC) met. A year later, 12 BSEC states signed a Memorandum of Understanding, in Belgrade (Serbia). The project was later approved in 2011.