RB announces first stage of Ülemiste Terminal construction procurement

Render of Rail Baltic's Ülemiste Terminal in Tallinn.
Render of Rail Baltic's Ülemiste Terminal in Tallinn. Source: Rail Baltic Estonia

Rail Baltic Estonia announced the first stage of the construction procurement for Tallinn's Ülemiste Terminal, with which the company is seeking a builder for the passenger terminal's load-bearing structures.

The latest announced procurement involves construction work for the load-bearing structures below the railways at Ülemiste Terminal, upon which the terminal's future underground level, to be named the Linda level, and other related rail facilities will be built.

These structures will be built following the demolition of the current railway and must be completed before new railways can be built, requiring close cooperation between infrastructure contractors and the contractors building the load-bearing structures as well.

"We're procuring the construction of the Ülemiste joint terminal by stages and now that the railway infrastructure reconstruction procurement is complete, we can move forward with the next stage, i.e. the construction procurement for the concrete structures below the railways," Rail Baltic Estonia COO Marko Kivila said. "We're essentially procuring the underground portion of the terminal building."

The construction procurement is worth an estimated €66.5 million.

According to Kivila, construction won't impact current rail traffic.

"Passengers can continue using current railway platforms through spring 2025," he explained. "In spring 2025, rail traffic will originate in a new location, and passengers will be able to use a new railway platform."

First construction procurement a flop

It was reported this August that the previous construction procurement for Ülemiste Terminal had attracted just one bidder, whose price exceeded the estimated construction cost of €176 million by nearly twofold. Italian general contractor Rizzani de Eccher, who had submitted the sole tender, had quoted a total price tag of €346 million.

Following the failure of the procurement, several smaller procurements were announced instead in order to bring down the price of the project.

"We did things differently this time ⁠— we're ordering various bits," Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Secretary General Ahti Kuningas told ERR on October 19. "We ourselves are one big project manager. Previously we would order the entire project from one contractor; now it's been split into five. The project remains the same."

According to Kuningas, the tender submitted for the construction of the entire terminal got so expensive primarily due to the war started by Russia.

Nearly 16.3 kilometers of track to be dismantled

The recently completed construction procurement for the reconstruction of railway infrastructure connected to Rail Baltic's Ülemiste joint terminal, which was announced in September, attracted three tenders corresponding to the expected price level included in the procurement.

The goal of these construction works is to rebuild existing rail infrastructure in order to make space for Rail Baltica's future 1435 mm, standard-gauge railway. This will involve the dismantling of nearly 16.3 kilometers of existing track, which will be replaced with more than 8 kilometers of new 1520 mm, Russian-gauge rail.

Rail traffic operations must be ensured on the main tracks throughout construction, for which the existing relay-based traffic control system will be temporarily restored. Also included in the volume of the construction procurement in addition to railway works is the overhaul of utility networks to bisect the railway and reconstruction of the Kantsi underpass.

Building permits for the works in question have already been issued and the vast majority of rail works must be completed within the year 2024, however contractual works are slated to continue through 2026. The hope is to sign a contract with the best bidder before the year is out so that work can begin in 2023.

Design work for Ülemiste Terminal's railway infrastructure was completed by OÜ Reaalprojekt and OÜ AllSpark. The author of the architectural design of the future Ülemiste Terminal is Zaha Hadid Architects, with design work by ESPLAN OÜ.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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