The cost of the Estonian section of the planned high-speed Rail Baltica link has been revised upwards, to an estimated €1.8 billion, daily Postimees reports - nearly double the figure originally budgeted for.
At the same time, the paper writes (link in Estonian), it is difficult to forecast exactly how much the construction will cost, and a clearer picture will be obtained once an estimate is made based on the main route's technical project, and its ensuing procurement process.
Rail Baltica is already five years behind schedule, with the planned opening date of 2026 now put back to 2030, mainly due to delays in the main route's design process – the Estonian Supreme Court annulled a section planned for Pärnu County some years ago, while issues linked to a Spain-based design bureau have also dogged two sections of the main route.
Anvar Salomets, board chair at RB Eesti, overseeing the project in Estonia, told Postimees that: "It is indeed the case that the design of the main route of the railway has proved difficult."
Construction of the main route is due to start in late summer next year, while close to a billion euros have been earmarked for that project in the 2023-2026 state budget strategy; €150 million of that derives from the 2023 state budget.
Work on infrastructure aspects such as interfaces with highways and underpinning the boggy ground often found along the planned link's route has already begun.
The line will run from Tallinn in the north, to the Poland-Lithuania border in the south, connecting the Baltic States to Poland and with it the "continental" EU.
Editor: Andrew Whyte