The start of the Old Harbor (Vanasadama) tram line construction in Tallinn is set to disrupt city center traffic. The municipal authorities have not yet found a solution to the looming problems.
Tallinn is looking at the largest and most expensive traffic change in recent years when it launches the construction of the Old Harbor tram line. The project, set to be completed by 2025, will make traffic in the heart of the city, including Laikmaa, Hobujaama and Ahtri streets, virtually impossible.
Even though construction is set to be launched in March, Tallinn lacks a set plan for diverting traffic.
"Of course, it will complicate city center traffic, considering that Jõe and Pronksi streets will still be under construction a few weeks into the tram project. We are planning most expensive work for the summer months when there are fewer people in the city, no school runs, and when everything is just a little bit simpler," Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet said.
However, the summer of 2023 is also set to host the Youth Song Festival that will bring tens of thousands of participants to the streets. Tallinn promises to accommodate the celebration.
"The most important thing is to make sure the intersections that need to accommodate the procession are open at the time," Svet said.
Public transport is the biggest question mark, the deputy mayor suggested, adding that while bus lines can be rerouted, existing tram lines will need to be suspended for a longer period of time.
"Once work starts on the main terminals, tram traffic will also grind to a halt. /.../ We are planning to add more buses where possible. We will try to organize public transport as conveniently as possible," said Grigori Parfjonov, expert with the city's transport administration.
He added, however, that replacing trams with buses will not be possible on all streets.
It remains unclear how much longer people should plan for city center trips next year.
The general message is the same we have had for the Pronksi tänav reconstruction. People who can avoid the city center should do just that. And if it is necessary to pass through the heart of the city, public transport should be considered," Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet said.
Editor: Merili Nael, Marcus Turovski