Construction tenders for the next Rapla County stage of the Rail Baltica project have been announced as work continues apace on viaducts and other essential structures.
Rapla County is the first county south of Harju, location of Tallinn.
The new round follows the completion of the viaduct at Saustinõmme, Harju County, one of the largest such structures in the Estonian stretch of the project, which will link Tallinn with Warsaw, Poland, via a high-speed rail link which will pass through Latvia and Lithuania as well.
Tõnu Grünberg, Rail Baltic Estonia board chair, said interest has been high.
He said: "Since with our project time is an extremely important component in addition to construction price, we stagger the procurement stages for the construction of rail structures by means of a so-called dynamic procurement system, which enables us to significantly cut down on red tape and move on to the construction stage with objects faster."
At the same time, the Road Administration (Maanteeamet) is commencing its procurement rounds as well, including for a viaduct at Assaku, Harju County, where the proposed line will cross the Tallinn-Tartu highway.
Rail Baltic Estonia's new procurement round starts in early 2021, with a separate procurement system for the construction of intersections with utility lines is to be established before year-end.
Both Estonian and foreign companies interested
Fourteen Estonian and foreign firms have signed up to the procurement scheme with Rail Baltic Estonia, with some joint applications also taking place.
Multi-level crossings are planned in the Kohila rural municipality, in Rapla County, with the Tagadi and Kunka road viaducts and the Loone wildlife crossing bridge due for tender in spring. These structures will be between 50 and 75 meters in length, BNS reports.
A second "ecoduct" - a wildlife crossing aimed at facilitating the high-speed rail link's coexistence with Estonia's wild fauna – is planned for Urge, near Kohila, with procurement due in the next few months, BNS reports.
The total cost of 22 intersections, including electricity and gas connections, has been valued at around €15 million for a late-2023 deadline.
A total of 90 road and rail viaducts and 24 "ecoducts" are planned for the Estonian stretch of Rail Baltica, a European standard-gauge (1.435 mm) electric rail link, which will be 870 km in length.
The rail line itself will be built after the infrastructure, which includes in places deep concrete pinions to cope with Estonia's often boggy terrain, has been put in place. A winning design for the Tallinn terminal in the Ülemiste district of the capital was announced some months ago.
The line will approach the Latvian border in Pärnu County.
Editor: Andrew Whyte