Tartu deed of the year is new traffic intersection

Tõnu tunnel, part of the Riga-Vaksali intersection reconstruction awarded Tartu deed of the year for 2021.
Tõnu tunnel, part of the Riga-Vaksali intersection reconstruction awarded Tartu deed of the year for 2021. Source: Tartu City Government

Residents of Estonia's second city, Tartu, have voted the construction of a traffic intersection as the most important deed of the year, ahead of other shortlisted highlights such as an olympic fencing gold medal, a weekly coronavirus survey and a self-driving bus.

Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform) said the winner, the Riga-Vaksali traffic intersection (Riga referring to the name of the street, actually Riia, in Estonian, and one of the main thoroughfares in the city – ed.)

Klaas said: "The Riga-Vaksali traffic junction was one of the most important road construction objects in Tartu in the past decade."

"It affects a large number of city residents, especially pedestrians and cyclists, who can now conveniently and safely cross this very busy intersection. The traffic junction has also gained attention due to the unique tunneling technology employed, and its attractive appearance," Klaas went on, according to a city government press release.

The intersection was opened earlier this month.

The competition, entitled Tartu Deed of the Year 2021, is organized jointly by the Tartu City Government and regional daily Tartu Postimees, while the award was presented at an event in Tartu's Town Hall, with Klaas and Editor-in-Chief of Tartu Postimees Rannar Raba thanking the parties involved in the intersection construction, along with those involved in the most notable deeds of 2021.

Other shortlisted entries included a vaccination center, Julia Beljajeva's epee gold medal at last summer's Tokyo Olympics, weekly coronavirus waste-water surveys conducted by the University of Tartu, and a self-driving bus operating linking the city museum on Narva mnt in the town center, and the Estonian National Museum (ERM), just outside the city.

The Riga-Vaksali intersection April 2020 and was opened on December 9 2021,with the stated aim of making the surrounding area safer and more convenient for cycle and pedestrian track users, the city government says, along with boosting the intersection's capacity.

Cycle and pedestrian traffic tunnels have been installed on both sides of Riia street, while a pedestrian/cyclist bridge has been constructed. A rail viaduct which crosses the highway (Vaksal being the Russian word for rail station - ed.) was also refurbished as part of the project.

This year's Tartu Deed of the Year was the 24th of its kind and attracted over 4,500 votes from the public.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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