The Estonian Ministry of Finance has informed companies that it is waiting for a mandate from the new government before continuing with preparatory work on the Suur Strait (Suur väin) fixed connection. As a result, the ministry wants the current procurement contracts to be put on hold and is also asking the government to halt the development planning procedure.
In mid-April, the Estonian Ministry of Finance sent an e-mail to Reaalprojekt OÜ, stating that, before proceeding with the design of the national specific plan and other preparatory work at the location of the Suur Strait fixed connection, it was awaiting a mandate from the new government. The ministry therefore asked works ordered under the current procurement contract with Reaalprojekt to be put on hold.
The ministry's decision has caused discontent among businesses, as preparations had already begun and involve significant costs.
Although up to now the government has not taken any decision to terminate the state special planning procedure for the Suur Strait fixed link (which is not mentioned at all in the coalition agreement between the Reform Party, Eesti 200 and the SDE), it is believed that this decision may arrive soon.
"Given the current state of public finances and the government's objective to get public finances in order, all activities and services provided in the country need to be reviewed," Heddy Klasen, head of the Ministry of Finance's spatial planning department, told ERR.
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"In cooperation with a consultant, we will prepare a preliminary analysis of the site of the national special planning project for the Suur Strait permanent connection, including the necessary studies and strategic environmental impact assessment," Klasen added.
The reason for the preparation of a national specific planning project was to assess the feasibility of installing a fixed link across Suur Strait either in the form of a bridge or tunnel.
The Ministry of Finance was responsible for the preparation of the national specific plan as well as an impact assessment of the Suur Strait fixed connection.
Editor: Michael Cole