The Mystery “Smolyan – Madan bypass”, or how 8 million BGN sank into a landslide

The construction of the bypass road near the village of Vlahovo on the road Smolyan – Madan is about to become a mystery for millions of levs against the background of paralyzed institutions, absent state and overruled public interest

свлачището край Влахово
Minister Nankov with brand new rubber boots gives an interview in front of the landslide near Vlahovo on March 15 morning.
Photo: Otzvuk

The idea to circumvent the landslide with a bypass was first announced in the public space by the head of the Road Infrastructure Agency Doncho Atanasov. On March 12 (5 days after the road was closed because of the landslide) arriving “on an inspection,” he announced that the road would remain closed for a long time, and within maximum of 10 days (by March 22) a bypass will be constructed for the cars.

Three days later, on March 15, the construction minister Nikolay Nankov, came to the landslide. And he appeared in the morning blocks of the national TVs with the “news” that the strengthening of the landslide will take 7-8 months and at least 7-8 million leva. To convince us of the need for so much money and time, Nankov said it is

the largest landslide on a main road in the country.

And because people will go to a riot if the Smolyan – Madan road is closed for more than half a year, Nankov promised that within 10 days (by the end of this week) there will be a bypass road above the village of Vlahovo of 1.4 km for which only … BGN 500 thousand are necessary.

I leave aside the seriousness of the promises made by the construction minister and the head of the RIA that

over 1km new road will grow over the next 10 days

in the forest above the village of Vlahovo. The fact that the ten days have elapsed but the road is still at the drilling stage is sufficiently indicative.

All institutions (MRDPW, RIA, District Governor, Smolyan Municipality) continue willingly to promise us that next week the road will be ready but no one has announced who is constructing the road in question, who has assigned it, what are its overall dimensions, with what status (municipal, state, forest). There is no building permit which would make it clear. The chief architect of Smolyan Arch. Dimitar Dimov said that he had not issued a permit for construction of the road.

The unofficial information

as of today shows that the contractor of the road is the company “ISA 2000” of the Smolyan businessman Julian Indjov. The principal of the road was Forestry – Smolyan. Indjov himself said on Monday (March 19th) before the electronic edition that the road has already been pierced, that it is currently been expanded and that cars and trucks up to 12.5 tons will be able to pass. Yesterday, however, at a press conference in the capital, Doncho Atanassov announced that the road will be extended by only 600-800 meters and will be used only by cars and buses, i.e. up to 3.5 tons. In an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio on Tuesday, however, the Mayor Melemov sobered the fears saying that only TIR trucks will not be able to use the road.

One lane is clear but one pice of rock is left at the end on purpose so cars can not pass.
Photo: Otzvuk

All state men and women – the minister, governor, mayor and their deputies and subordinates, firmly declare that the landslide is active, that new rock masses can collapse at any moment, signs were placed indicating that the passage of people is absolutely forbidden. But they all pose daily in front of cameras on the road to the earth masses. Obviously

none of them is afraid of their lives. 

At the same time, hundreds of people walk every day on the same path. Forbidden because of vibrations, could provoke the landslide again. The bomb blasts nearby are obviously not dangerous. One lane of the road was cleared but in order the cars not to pass, a large rock piece was left on it. When a “special car” passes along the road, the rock is moved favorably away with front loader. It doesn’t matter that vibrations are dangerous.

Against this background, both municipal and state institutions

continue to disseminate tension and panic.

On March 21st, the Minister of Regional Development, Nikolay Nankov, in front of bTV said, that there are power lines at the site of landslide and if they fall, half of the area could be left without electricity. The truth is that one of the three transmission lines that feed the area with electricity is passing through there. But if the line fails, electricity will be fed through the other two. In addition, on the first day after the earth masses slided down (on March 7), the Electricity System Operator (ESO), placed benchmarks in place of the power lines above the lindslide. Yesterday, at the information meeting in Smolyan, the ESO representative Zdravko Shehov said that the benchmarks from then until now have not moved.

All these facts point out to one intruding conclusion. Until now, the landslide near Vlahovo could be cleared and life in the area continued in its usual rhythm. But there was no way to spend between 7 and 8 million leva. So the main road will remain closed for months, and the traffic will pass through the narrow and steep Vlahovo road. And all this will once again be presented as “good governance in the interest of the people”. Yes but no.


The truth is expensive. If you have found it here - please support us!

The truth is expensive.  If you have found it here - please support us!