A total of 84 kilometers of the Tallinn to Tartu highway is now four-lanes, following the completion of the latest section of the road widening project.
Expanding main highway between Estonia's first and second cities has been talked about for many years given the growth in traffic in recent years, but the matter has often run into funding and political issues.
The total highway is around 180km in one direction.
The most recent section to have been completed (pictured) runs between, Kärevere and Kardla, just outside Tartu city, cost €12.6 million, exclusive of VAT, and was constructed by AS Nordecon, supervised by OÜ Toomtsentrum, after being given the go-ahead by the Transport Board (Transpordiamet) in February 2021.
The 4.3km stretch opened to the public on Monday, bringing the total 2+2 (ie. two-lane in both directions) highway length in Estonia to 84km.
The section passes through a Natura 2000 nature conservation and bird reserve area, meaning two wildlife tunnels were built under the road, along with two culverts for smaller animals, and roadside fencing of a little under 8km in length.
Each lane is 3.5m in width, the median strip is 2.8m wide, while there is a 2m to 2.5m hard shoulder at the side of the highway; new access roads and turning points to interface with minor roads and for access to properties at the road-side have also been built.
Around 100m of noise barriers have also been installed, while improvements to communications and electrical infrastructure, traffic control devices and landscaping works were all part of the project.
Completion of two-lanes in each direction along the entire length of highway between the two cities may be many years away, while road building in general is likely to be dependent upon EU funding for the next few years.
Properly speaking, the entire highway, designated T2, or European route E263, runs beyond Tartu and all the way to Luhamaa, on Estonia's southeastern border, though traffic is heaviest between Tallinn and Tartu.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mirjam Mäekivi