Tartu government opts for 2+2 lane solution to Sõpruse Bridge renovation

Tartu's Sõpruse Bridge.
Tartu's Sõpruse Bridge. Source: ERR

Tartu's Sõpruse Bridge, which has been in poor condition for a considerable period of time, is finally set for renovations next year. The Tartu city government has decided that the design for the bridge's reconstruction will include 2 lanes of motor traffic in each direction (2+2).

According to the Tartu city government, two possible options were considered for the bridge's future. While cyclists may have benefitted from a narrower carriageway on the bridge and the addition of extra cycle lanes, the municipality considered that this would in turn lead to increased motor traffic in the center of Tartu. This would therefore reduce the possibilities of creating additional cycle lanes in the city center.

"The main justification is that the Sõpruse Bridge is a very important bridge, serving urban traffic and so all types of traffic need to fit on it," said Tartu Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm (Reform).

"If we are talking about meeting climate targets from the perspective of improving the situation for cyclists and pedestrians, then we are certainly moving in that direction. However, if we are talking about a drastic reduction in car traffic, then 2+2 certainly does not support that. These were the choices that the city government decided on," Tamm added.

Another Tartu Deputy Mayor, Elo Kiivet (SDE), admitted that the 2+2 solution was not the preferred option.

"We could move faster towards our goals. But, in any case, we have reached an agreement. What we certainly agree on with our partners is that this means we can start implementing changes in the city center more quickly. Our hopes are that we can then start to look at the Riga-Turu tänav junction and the cycle paths on Turu tänav. We are not going to put this on hold. With 1+1, the biggest concern was that that might come to a standstill," said Kiivet.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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