Pärnu city center bridge is to be fully closed down for renovation.
The decision was made following studies which revealed the bridge was in too dilapidated of a state to even have one lane running, as had been the case, ETV current affairs show Aktuaalne kaamera reported Tuesday evening.
Pärnu City Council chair Andres Metsoja said the study, which recommends the renovation and/or extension of the bridge, which carries Tallinna maantee across the river, north to south, in the direction to and from Pärnu's beaches, is startling in its content
Unfortunately, the analysis says unequivocally that the pavement has to be removed, the bridge must be disengaged; whether this takes a year or a year and a half...We will definitely try to find an alternative bridge solution – be it a pontoon bridge, or a river ferry for transporting people," Metsoja said.
Clearly, we need to tell people honestly: We have to create this mad situation for everyone's safety," Metsoja went on.
The bridge was opened in 1956 and last repaired in the mid-1990s; a bridge extension is also viable as part of the work, ERR reports, though the bridge's foundations and supporting pillars are reportedly sound.
"Since the bridge pillars are strong, we're just talking about the superstructure for the city center Bridge. If the bridgehead has to be removed, perhaps to build a light traffic road a little wider, there is the matter of user comfort. With a grant of €15 million, we would be able handle both bridges over the next ten years," said Metsoja.
There are currently two bridges spanning the Pärnu River within city limits; the city center bridge, the one in question, and another bridge east of the city center. The city center bridge was already closed to traffic last Saturday afternoon, and drivers experienced congestion getting out of the city.
The cost of renovating the existing city center bridge looks set to prevent any proposed third bridge projects getting realized in the next few years.
The original Aktuaalne kaamera segment is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte