Tartu's northern bypass awaits new government's decision

A tentative plan for the northern bypass of the city of Tartu.
A tentative plan for the northern bypass of the city of Tartu. Source: Roadplan OÜ

The construction of the northern bypass of Tartu, which was scheduled to begin in 2025, was not funded by a government decision. The completion of the project is contingent on the incoming administration.

The bypass linking the Tallinn-Luhamaa maantee with the Jõhvi-Valga maantee, together with a new bridge, was to be the next major road-building project for the city of Tartu.

"This bypass is crucial to the city as it substantially cuts transit-related intra-urban traffic. The northern bypass, after all, is used by everyone passing through Tartu, including the city's residents," Urmas Ahven, head of Tartu urban planning and land use department, said.

"The need is particularly serious for Tartu and its residents, as well as for transit traffic in the direction of Jõhvi. It will certainly reduce the load on Narva maantee and Riga tänav," Janar Taal, head of the southern unit of the transport board, said.

According to the road maintenance plan, the bypass and bridge construction should have begun in 2025 and been completed within four years.

However, last December the government approved a new road plan that excludes the construction of the Tartu bypass.

"It came as a surprise, but given that this road maintenance plan has been approved today, it is now certain," Ahven continued.

The potential construction delay for the bridge and bypass caused by this is now unknown.

"Funding decisions go with the road maintenance plan, which is a political document. If it allocates funding, we will implement it. It will depend on what the new government wants to do," Taal explained.

With no funding in sight for the coming years, the Transport Administration (Transpordiamet) has partially suspended the transfer of land in the region. Landowners have therefore put pressure on the city to cancel the municipal detailed plan so that they can use the land as they see fit.

"However, whether the [state] detailed planning is repealed or not, the city's master plan still applies. In the city master plan, this bypass route has been planned for decades."


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Kristina Kersa

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