The construction of Struma Highway will cost about 1 billion Euros and its completion has been planned for 2020. Initially, the 160 km long highway connection between Sofia and Thessaloniki had to be completed in 2004. Until recently it was considered that the project would cost 600 million Euros and this amount has been provided to Bulgaria from the cohesion fund of the EU. However, the Ministry of Environment and Water has calculated that in order to secure the necessary protection of the rare species of animals who live along the Struma river, another 200 million Euros will be required. As result the Council of Ministers has included the final completion of the Struma Highway in the financial plans for 2020. When the highway will be completed it will take only one and a half hours to take the distance from Sofia to Thessaloniki.
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