A new investment package worth €86.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) adopted earlier this month will finance further works on the western part of the third line of the Sofia Metro, Sofia Municipality announced. The funding will be used to build four new underground stations on a 4 km-long section, from the city centre (Zhitnitsa Street) to the Sofia Ring road via the Ovcha Kupel district, in the south-western part of the city.
The state co-financing amounts to BGN 214.7 million. Sofia Municipality insisted on the construction of a multi-stacked parking right next to Gorna Banya station so that more people could leave their cars and shift to subway transport.
The new underground stations are part of metro line 3 that will run from Valdimir Vazov Boulevard to Zhitnitsa Street and include eight stations. It will link the districts of Suhata reka, Hadzhi Dimitar, Krasno selo, Slaviya, Belite brezi, Lagera, Hipodruma with central Sofia and provide connections to Lyulin, Mladost, Obelya, Nadezhda, Lozentets and Druzhba via lines 1 and 2. The investment also covers the construction of a depot and the purchase of 20 metro trains. When complete, line 3 is expected to expand to a total of 16 km in length, with 19 stations, bringing the network to 56 km of lines and 53 stations by 2020.
Over half a million people a day now use the Sofia Metro and with completion of the first phase of line 3, this is set to rise by additional 96 000 people. The reductions in travel times are expected to generate savings for the economy of over EUR 19 million by 2020. By diverting passengers away from other forms of transport, the new line should help to eliminate 90 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, as well as cutting traffic accidents and transport maintenance costs, leading to additional savings of over EUR 8 million by 2020.
EU co-financing from the ERDF for the Sofia Metro in the period 2014-2020 amounts to EUR 361 million. This equates to a total EU funding contribution of EUR 847 million for the construction of the Sofia Metro from 2007 onwards.