Gallery: Rail Baltic cornerstone laid

The cornerstone of Rail Baltic is laid.
The cornerstone of Rail Baltic is laid. Source: Martin Dremljuga

On Thursday, the cornerstone of the first structure to be built on the Rail Baltic mainline, the Saustinõmme viaduct, was laid, marking the start of construction of the fast rail link in Estonia.

Riia Sillave, the head of Rail Baltic Estonia, said that the project has moved forward in Estonia over the last few years. "The main design of the route is underway, the architectural competition for Ülemiste Joint Terminal has been successfully completed and negotiations are underway with the winners, and the design of Pärnu Terminal is about to begin. The continued strong European Union support for the project has been confirmed again today," said Sillave

The ceremony was attended by Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and the Head of the Directorate General of the European Commission for Mobility and Transport Henrik Hololei.

The Saustinõmme viaduct, which crosses the Rail Baltic mainline, is the first cooperation project between Rail Baltic Estonia and the Estonian Road Administration (Maanteeamet). 

In the coming years, various intersections between the future Rail Baltic and the existing infrastructure will be developed in cooperation with the Road Administration and major network operators. This includes the construction of highway bypasses, relocation of high-voltage lines, and gas pipelines.

The construction agreement signed with AS YIT Infra Eesti covers a four-lane highway with a 4.1-kilometer separation strip that connects Luige and Saku junctions. In addition to the road bypass crossing the Rail Baltic route, new twin bypass units and a wildlife tunnel are planned for the section. Work should be completed by the second quarter of 2021, it is reported.

The total cost of the works is approximately €19 million, of which the EU's Cohesion Fund's contribution comes to €10.31 million. 

The Rail Baltic line from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border costs approximately €5.8 billion and is planned to be completed before the end of 2025. It is projected that the trip from Tallinn to Pärnu by high-speed train will take 40 minutes, and to Riga the journey would take two hours.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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