After many years of discussion, a contract was finally signed for the construction of a tunnel under Shipka Peak. The idea of a direct connection between North and South Bulgaria dates back 125 years. It is expected that this will increase traffic safety and facilitate the passage of drivers on both sides of Stara Planina mountain throughout the year. This project will also have a positive impact on tourism, as well as the economic and social development of the region. According to the Road Infrastructure Agency, with the construction of the tunnel, heavy goods traffic should increase by more than 90 percent, and light traffic – by more than 50 percent. Calculations show that traffic through the tunnel will be twice as high and will increase to more than 10,000 vehicles per day. The facility should be completed in 3.5 years.