– Mr. Vassilev, this year has presented many challenges. How has this affected your company?
– This year the world was facing a truly unprecedented situation, having a very wide social and economic negative impact. Inevitably, this also affected the construction sector, although it was one of the few sectors that did not cease operations. On the contrary, the industry has become the engine of the economies of a number of European countries. However, companies specializing in different types of construction had to form specific reactions to new market circumstances. As a socially responsible company, G.P. Group strives to keep pace with emerging „new“ trends. On our construction sites, we did everything in our power to provide suitable conditions for the workers. The sites are large enough and with good organization they can respond to anti-infective measures. Moreover, at a time when most of the people who lose their jobs are from the construction sector, we managed to give the necessary certainty to our employees. We have tried – and still do – to minimize the possible effects of the crisis for us. Construction must continue despite the pandemic.
– G.P. Group Jsc., together with Strabag, is to carry out the modernization of the railway section, part of the project “Modernization of the railway section Elin Pelin-Kostenets”. Please tell us more about this project?
– Our company will carry out the modernization of the railway section from km 62+400 to km 73+598, which is part of the largest project „Modernization of the railway section Elin Pelin-Kostenets“. G.P. Group Jsc. and Strabag Rail GmbH are part of the Strabag GP Rail 2017 Consortium. The project should be completed in 64 months, its value is BGN 473.4 million, and the financing is mainly with European funds. The project includes facilities that have never been implemented in Bulgaria. This is a very ambitious and large-scale enterprise, but after its completion we will have a high-speed route. It will include also eight tunnels with an approximate length of 5,478 m, two viaducts and eleven bridges.
– The construction of the longest tunnel in Bulgaria – “Zheleznitsa”, is also implemented by you. What are the challenges for such projects?
– Building a tunnel is a very complex and dangerous task. Currently, the construction of the Zheleznitsa tunnel on the Struma highway is on schedule. Despite the pandemic and the complicated situation in the country, the work on the tunnel has not stopped for a moment. The site will be about 2 km long, with two separate pipes in a direction, and will be the longest road tunnel in the country. The implementation is within a project funded by European funds under Operational Program „Transport and Transport Infrastructure 2014-2020“.
Such projects have not been implemented in Bulgaria for many years, but we are sure that we will handle perfectly this large-scale project, and everything will be implemented in accordance with European directives and international standards. The project also includes the implementation of several unique sites – a helicopter pad and two bridges over Suha Reka, which are 108 m and 18 m respectively.
– Over the years G.P. Group Jsc. has built several emblematic metro stations in Sofia. You received an award for „The most successful infrastructure project of the decade 2007-2017“. And only a few days ago the new third subway line was put into operation, from which two stations were built by your company. Eleven years a leader in the segment, how does it feel when you are part of the successful realization of something of such importance?
– Undoubtedly, our participation in the construction of the subway helps us a lot to develop as innovation and work technology. We constantly invest in the quality of construction. We are continuously developing our material base and qualifying our employees to meet all world and European standards. The construction of the metro is a process in which new technologies are implemented annually and our implementation makes it possible to use them. One such example is the introduction of the contactless network in the new metro line. And the new trains allow their use without human intervention.
– What are your views and perspectives on the development of the industry in the coming years?
– At G.P. Group we strive to embrace difficulties as the right path to development. We have achieved a lot in a short time, and behind these successes are a number of sleepless nights and creative solutions. Often weather conditions are not on our side, but nevertheless the working process must not stop in order to meet the agreed deadlines. We are working on many European-funded projects and cannot afford delays, poor implementation or flaws.
The situation in the construction industry is stabilizing, but even if there are some upheavals, I think the sector will be able to meet them without much impact, because one of the good practices is the implementation of innovative solutions. Construction is a driving economic force, in a period of turmoil we want to keep building. There are thousands of employees in the construction industry, who by working on projects, can contribute to improving the economic situation in the country.