Further extension of airport tram line to Jüri under consideration (1)
Construction work on the extension of the number 4 tram line remains on schedule and if everything goes according to plan, passengers will be able to begin taking the tram all the way to Tallinn Airport beginning in August. In the future, however, the tram line may be further extended to the nearby small town of Jüri as the adjoining Rae Municipality is considering the option as an opportunity to reduce traffic congestion.
The new extension of the tram line extending to the airport is 1.3 kilometers long and tunneling work under the railroad tracks by Ülemiste Station has already been completed, reported ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."
"Now we are already continuing along Keevise Street toward the airport," said AS Merko Ehitus Eesti project director Tiit Jootsi, who detailed that work was underway on excavation, utility lines and other work needed to tunnel under Suur-Sõjamäe Street and exit at Keevise Street.
Suur-Sõjamäe Street will soon be closed to traffic in one direction. Contracting authority Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS (TLT) currently believes that construction on the tram line extension will be completed on time and that passengers will be able to access Tallinn Airport by tram by August of this year. They also believe, however, that Ülemiste could be the site of a large public transport hub in the future.
"TLT will certainly not be implementing this plan, however there are indeed visions which foresee a great such logistics hub into which the currently not-yet-existent Rail Baltic would run," detailed Enno Tamm, chairman of the board at TLT. "There would also be a suburban rail station, a bus station and naturally we would then flow into the first floor of the great building with our own tram terminal."
Rae Municipality, at least, has made such a proposal with regards to Harju County plans, as heavy traffic flows in both directions during both the morning and evening rush hours every day — with office workers heading from the suburbs into the city and industrial park workers heading from the city out into the suburbs for work every morning and both sets of people traveling home in reverse in the evening. In order to convince people to favor public transport over their own cars, however, the transport available must be both fast and comfortable.
"According to our solution, there should be a rapid connection to the airport area, to Ülemiste, and from there we would need to find solutions which would get people to Lasnamäe and Mustamäe quickly," said Priit Põldmäe, deputy mayor of Rae Municipality. "Tallinn's current transport network is unfortunately such that this endeavor is complicated and time-consuming."
Põldmäe added that the potential costs of other alternatives, including new roads and new two-level interchanges, have also been calculated, however they have also proven to be costly.
More detailed plans and feasibility studies yet remain ahead.