Tartu seeking government funding for Sõpruse Bridge restoration

Images from the Sõpruse sild study.
Images from the Sõpruse sild study. Source: Ehituse ja Tarkvara Inseneribüroo OÜ

Tartu City Government is seeking support from the government to restore Estonia's longest bridge which has deteriorated significantly over the last three years.

Sõpruse sild, which spans both the Emajogi River and Anne, was completed in 1981. Over the last 40 years, rainwater has severely damaged its structure.

The bridge was surveyed three years ago and a new study carried out in June shows the damage has increased significantly in that time.

Siim Idnurm, the engineer who conducted the study, said: "The situation is getting worse and worse. If the errors are not corrected in time, they will increase exponentially over time and at the same time the cost will increase in the same way."

The city government wants to renovate the bridge by 2025 but needs state funding to do so. Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm said reconstruction work will cost approximately €8 million.

"This is a very large amount in the context of the budget of the city of Tartu. In essence, this is half of our total investment budget," he said.

Indrek Gailan, an official from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, said the government will have to decide whether it can grant state aid. He also suggested European Union funding could be applied for.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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