Southeastern border construction may begin early next year ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Part of the Russian-Estonian border in Southeastern Estonia.
Part of the Russian-Estonian border in Southeastern Estonia. Source: Mirjam Mõttus/ERR

Procurement proceedings for the first section of border infrastructure in Southeastern Estonia have taken slightly longer than initially planned, but if there are no more hitches in the process, construction may begin a the beginning of the new year, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) said on Wednesday.

"The procurement is currently ongoing, and the deadline for submitting bids has been postponed from Dec. 3 to Dec. 13, as we accommodated the request of procurement participants to extend the deadline somewhat," Egert Belitšev, director of the Integrated Border Control Bureau of the Development Department of the PPA, told BNS. The PPA had initially hoped to see a contract signed by this fall already.

Belitšev said that the procurement processes has proceeded as expected thus far, but it has taken a little longer than planned for a number of technical reasons.

"For example, there was one appeal at a time when the committee was assessing bidders meeting tender conditions, and the signing of confidentiality agreements also took time," he cited. "The bidders have also had quite a few routine questions and clarifications in order to draw up their bid and build the best possible border for Estonia."

According to the bureau director, should there be no more hitches in the procurement process, weather conditions allow and the contractor is able to start work as soon as possible, construction may begin as soon as the beginning of the new year.

"This requires the successful bidder to first design a more detailed work project based on the PPA's main project, which will be used as the basis for construction," he added.

Construction work on the first section of Estonia's southeastern border infrastructure will run along a 23.5-kilometer section of the border in Võru County, from the meeting point of the borders of Estonia, Latvia and Russia to the border crossing point at Luhamaa. The construction procurement for the first section of the border does not include surveillance equipment or IT solutions, which will be procured separately after the infrastructure is completed.

"Border construction work will begin on this particular section of land first as, according to threat assessments, this is the most problematic section of border," Belitšev said. "The pressure on the border is higher especially in the direction from Russia to Latvia, which is often crossed illegally near the triple point.

The necessary preparatory work, from the transfer of land to the construction of electricity connections, has been completed on this section, he added. Current estimates suggest that it will take two years to build out the 23.5-kilometer border infrastructure.

The PPA announced the construction procurement for the first section of the southeastern border on Jan. 31, 2019. According to Belitšev, the procurement for the second section will be announced after a contract has been signed regarding the work for the first stage.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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