Estonia to close Narva-Ivangorod pedestrian border bridge later this month
The Ministry of the Interior has decided to close the Narva-2 border checkpoint and pedestrian bridge connecting Narva and Ivangorod in the final week of November, as the number of people to cross through the checkpoint has dropped so low that it's no longer reasonable to keep it running.
"After a thorough analysis, the Ministry of the Interior has indeed decided to close the pedestrian bridge connecting Narva with Ivangorod," Vootele Päi, adviser to Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE), told ERR on Wednesday.
"Not due to security considerations, however; as we have previously indicated, this bridge doesn't pose any sort of security risk, as it's used only by people with residence permits and citizens," he emphasized.
"We confirmed via analysis and consultations with the local government that the closing of the pedestrian bridge wouldn't significantly interfere with local residents' daily lives, while at the same time, in the current situation, the closing of Narva's second border checkpoint is appropriate and necessary for several other reasons," Päi said.
"First of all, we will begin preparing for the possibility of fully automating the bridge in the future," he explained. "The number of people currently crossing the border has likewise fallen so much that it's pointless to continue operating several border checkpoints. People can make their trips via the main border checkpoint too, and the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) will be able to more effectively implement the Narva-2 border checkpoint's human resources elsewhere."
The minister's adviser also noted that necessary developments and additions at Narva's border guard station are slated to begin soon, which also means that some of the workers will need to be temporarily relocated elsewhere. "The buildings at Narva's second border checkpoint are a huge help here," he said.
Estonia plans to close the pedestrian bridge at the northeastern border city's Narva-2 border checkpoint during the last week of November. The ministry believes this will provide everyone with enough time to adjust to the new situation as well as inform the Russian Federation of the planned temporary closure of the border checkpoint.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla