2 Dec 2012

Delay in Danube bridge crossing

8:47 am on 2 December 2012

A second bridge across the Danube between Romania and Bulgaria was to be officially opened on Thursday.

But the two countries intend to take each other to court over how to share the revenue from bridge tolls. Meanwhile, Deutsche Welle reports the bridge between Calafat and Vidin is closed.

Two ferries go back and forth between the towns daily. Crossings take an hour and passport and customs checks are quick, but trucks often have to wait for at least 20 hours during peak periods on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Construction of the 270 million euro ($US351 million) bridge began in 2004. Bulgaria organized the bulk of construction, by the FCC company of Spain to build the bridge.

The bridge was originally scheduled to be finished before 2010 - but Deutsche Welle reports there was a delay due to geological characteristics that made a new structural analysis necessary.

"We easily need another year for static load tests," said deputy construction manager Julio Ruis.

The official opening was set for Thursday, but it has been postponed. Access roads are not quite done and border control posts are yet to be established.

In the meantime, there is more political bickering on the horizon: Romania and Bulgaria want to take each other to court over how to share revenue and bridge tolls.