Highways in Bulgaria

Highways in Bulgaria are dual carriageways, grade separated with controlled-access, designed for high speeds. In 2012, legislation amendments defined two types of highways: motorways (Bulgarian: Aвтомагистрала, Avtomagistrala) and expressways (Bulgarian: Скоростен път, Skorosten pat). The main differences are that motorways have emergency lanes and the maximum allowed speed limit is 140 km/h (87 mph),[1] while expressways do not and the speed limit is 120 km/h (75 mph).[2] As of the mid-2020, a total of 831.3 kilometers of motorways are in service.

The Bulgarian highway network as of 27 August 2020

Generally, there are no toll roads in Bulgaria, and instead a vignette is required, except for municipal roads. Two bridges − New Europe Bridge and Danube Bridge are tolled, both at Danube border crossings to Romania. However, introduction of toll system to replace the vignettes is under way as being a more fair form of payment.[3] In April 2016 the road agency launched a tender for implementation of an electronic toll collection system for vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes[4] and the contract was signed in January 2018.[5] Since January 2019, the electronic vignette is in charge instead of the sticker. Later, a toll system for vehicles over 3,5 tons got introduced.


Motorways construction timeline

The initial plan for construction of motorways dates back to 1973, when the government of Socialist Bulgaria approved a resolution to build a motorway ring, encompassing the country and consisting of three motorways - Trakia, Hemus and Cherno More.[6] By the democratic changes in 1990, a total of 273 km of motorways had been built in Bulgaria.[7] By 2007, the year of accession to the EU, this had increased to approximately 420 km with predominantly state funding.[7] The EU accession of the country in 2007, and the improved in the recent years utilization of the allocated EU funds enabled Bulgaria to speed up the expansion of its highway network. As of December 2018, 800 km (497 mi) of motorways are in service, with another 38 km (24 mi) being under various stages of construction.

The first fully completed motorway was Lyulin motorway, then designated A6, a short 19 km stretch connecting Sofia with Pernik and further merging with Struma motorway (A3) that continues to Greece at Kulata border crossing, opened in 2011. However, in 2018, the government decided to merge Lyulin motorway into Struma motorway as both are forming an interrupted route from Sofia to Greece.

After 40 years of construction, the first large motorway, spanning 360 km, Trakia (A1) was inaugurated on 15 July 2013, thus connecting the capital Sofia and Burgas, at the Black Sea coast.[8] Two years later, on 29 October 2015, the last remaining section of Maritsa motorway (A4), branching off from A1 nearby Chirpan and connecting with the border of Turkey at Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint, entered in service.[9] Sofia Northern Bypass motorway, an important thoroughfare north of Sofia, was inaugurated in 2015.


  Motorway From Route To Planned In service % Under construction Tender Estimated completion
  Trakia Sofia Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Yambol Burgas 360 km 360 km 100% Completed[8]
  Hemus Sofia Botevgrad, Pleven, Lovech, Veliko Tarnovo, Targovishte, Shumen Varna 418 km 175 km 41.9% 67.86 km[10][11] Late 2025 [12]
  Struma Sofia Pernik, Dupnitsa, Blagoevgrad, Sandanski Kulata;   172 km 135.8 km 78.95% 10.6 km[13]
  Maritsa Chirpan,   Haskovo/Dimitrovgrad Kapitan Andreevo;   117 km 117 km 100% Completed[14]
  Cherno More Varna Nesebar Burgas 103 km 10 km 9.71%
  Europe Sofia,   Slivnitsa Kalotina;   64 km[15] 33.5 km 52.34.% 14.5 km[16]
  Veliko Tarnovo-Ruse[17][nb 1] Veliko Tarnovo Byala Ruse, Danube Bridge;   towards Bucharest 118 km 75 km[18]
Total 1.352 km 831.3 km 61.49% 92.96 km


Expressway From Route To Planned In service % Under construction Tender Estimated completion
Botevgrad-Vidin Botevgrad,   Mezdra, Vratsa, Montana Vidin, New Europe Bridge;   185 km 18.5 km[19][20] 10% 63 km[21]
Shumen-Ruse Shumen,   Razgrad Ruse, Danube Bridge;   110 km
Stara Zagora-Kazanlak Stara Zagora,   Yagoda Kazanlak 26 km 11.1 km 42.5%

Construction works on the 31.5 km section from Botevgrad to Mezdra and the 12.5 km Mezdra bypass are expected to begin in 2013. Also in 2012, were tendered design works on the section between Mezdra and Vidin.

Other highway projectsEdit

In 2012, the Bulgarian government announced talks with Qatar to build a South–North motorway/expressway as a PPP from Svilengrad, at the Turkish/Greek border, to Ruse, at the Romanian border. The route is part of the Pan-European Corridor IX. In October 2012, a tender for a feasibility study was announced.[22]

Access to highway networks of neighbouring countriesEdit


Struma motorway connects near Kulata with the Greek A25 motorway (SerresLagkadasEgnatia Odos). The route is part of the Pan-European Corridor IV.

Also an intersection on the Maritsa motorway is built near Svilengrad, to connect with the future A21 motorway in Greece.


BotevgradVidin, Veliko TarnovoRuse and Shumen–Ruse expressways, all branching off from Hemus motorway are planned to connect with Romania. The Botevgrad-Vidin expressway is likely the first to be built. The Romanian PM Victor Ponta made a statement after the inauguration of New Europe Bridge that Romania plans to build a motorway between Craiova and Calafat.[23]

Also, in long terms, Cherno More motorway is planned to connect with the future Romanian A4 motorway to Constanţa (interchange with A2 motorway, leading to Bucharest).


Maritsa motorway (A4) connects near Kapitan Andreevo with the Turkish O-3 motorway, heading to Istanbul.


A 31.5 km section of the Kalotina motorway from Sofia to Kalotina was tendered in 2012 and is expected to connect with the future Serbian A4 motorway to Niš. The route is part of Pan-European Corridor X.

North MacedoniaEdit

Dupnitsa-Kyustendil expressway branching off from Struma motorway is planned to connect with North Macedonia.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Still not designated.


  1. ^ "Bulgaria Ups Hwy Speed Limit to 140 km/h". novinite.com. 26 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Amendments in the Roads Act". State Gazette (47). 26 June 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  3. ^ "The World Bank Will Consult Road Infrastructure Agency for the Introduction of a Toll System at the Use of the National Roads". RIA. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Bulgaria launches 102 mln euro electronic toll collection system tender". SEE News. 6 April 2016.
  5. ^ "The Work on the Construction of the Toll System Starts". www.api,bg. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Магистрална равносметка" (in Bulgarian). Tema Daily. 6 April 2013.
  7. ^ a b Maria Andonova (27 June 2008). "Защо няма магистрали" [Why are there no motorways]. вестник "Капитал"/www.capital.bg. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Bulgaria Opens Monday Its First Completed HWY Trakiya". novinite.com. 15 July 2013.
  9. ^ "След 36 години АМ "Марица" най-после е готова!". plovdiv24.bg (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Започна изграждането на нов участък от АМ "Хемус" - от п.в. "Буховци" до п. в. "Белокопитово"" (in Bulgarian). API. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  11. ^ "API :: Започна поетапното строителство на АМ „Хемус" между Боаза и пътя Русе - Велико Търново". www.api.bg (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  12. ^ "Магистрала "Хемус" може да бъде готова през 2025 г." (in Bulgarian). expert.bg. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Най-скъпият и дълъг тунел: 2 км за 250 млн. лв" (in Bulgarian). capital.bg. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Construction of Maritsa Motorway Completed". Bulgarian News Agency. 29 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Пореден краен срок: Магистралата София-Ниш готова до края на 2016 година". mediapool.bg (in Bulgarian).
  16. ^ "Bulgaria launches two tenders for upgrade of 31.5 km of main road". SEE News. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Bulgaria Plans Construction of Ruse-Veliko Tarnovo Motorway". novinite.com. 13 February 2015.
  18. ^ "Bulgaria launches tender for 75 km of the Veliko Tarnovo - Ruse motorway". SEE News. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  19. ^ "The long-awaited day for Danube Bridge Vidin Calafat, 14.06.2013". Archived from the original on 2013-10-18.
  20. ^ "Над 46,5 млн. лв. са инвестирани в изграждането на обходния път на Монтана" (in Bulgarian). RIA. 29 December 2015.
  21. ^ ""Автомагистрали" получи още 1 млрд. лева за пътя Видин - Ботевград, 02.10.2020". Archived from the original on 2020-10-02.
  22. ^ "Tender for feasibility study of Ruse-Svilengrad was announced". stroitelstvo.info (in Bulgarian). 22 October 2012. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  23. ^ "Premier Ponta: Motorway connection envisaged between Craiova and Calafat". agerpres.ro. 14 June 2013.