In order to cross the Emajõgi, drivers coming from the north currently have to go through the heart of Tartu. While the 2021-2030 national roadbuilding plan suggests work on two bypasses could be launched in 2025, soaring construction prices mean it is likely that the projects will be postponed.
The matter concerns the planned Kärevere bypass and the Kardla-Tartu section of the 2+2 Tallinn-Tartu-Võru-Luhamaa Highway to link the Tallinn-Tartu-Luhamaa and Jõhvi-Tartu-Valga highways. The city also wants to build a north side bypass that would create a corridor between the Jõhvi and Räpina highways.
Mart Michelis, head of the Transport Administration's planning unit, said that environmental impact assessments have been approved and relevant aspects will be observed.
"The projects are ready, with expert analysis and making sure various aspects are in accordance with regulations still in the works, which constitutes standard practice to make sure everything is in order. We also plan to hold an architectural contest for the Kvissental Bridge design over the Emajõgi in the future," Michelis said.
The bridge would be part of the northern Tartu bypass. The 2021-2030 national roadworks plan reveals that both sections require lands to be swapped all of which should take place this year. Michelis admitted that since funding for the sections has not been secured, land swaps cannot take place in 2022.
"Once funding is in place, land acquisition will follow, but as long as we have no certainty in terms of when that might be, and considering there are higher-priority objects, land acquisition will start there instead and continue based on priority."
Luunja Municipality Mayor Aare Anderson said that while the local government has kept open a land corridor from where the Tartu north side bypass would end and where it could be linked to the fourth stage of the eastern ring road, land swaps can only start when it is clear how the north bypass will be funded.
Therefore, it is unlikely that the north bypass and the Kardla section will happen in 2025.
"It is possible in terms of the planning phase, while the funding situation makes it unlikely. With a new plan expected in late November, the project will likely be shelved to await financing. It is probable that the Kardla-Tartu section as part of the main road network will be done first, and the support network, one part of which is the northern bypass, will follow once main network projects have funding. That is why the projects could be done in different years, even though it would make sense to build them simultaneously. But because the cost is great, all of it will be determined at a later time," Anderson said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski