Major traffic upheaval in central Tallinn, the result of several street refurbishment projects coming all at once, will start to improve from September, Tallinn Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet (Center) says.
Not only does the work, which in some cases started last year, affect drivers and public transport, with street closures across several blocks in one of the busiest parts of the capital ongoing through the summer, but even navigating one's way on foot through the city center can be a challenge.
Once tramlines 2 and 4 are back to normal and major roadwork on Liivalaia, which has involved installing infrastructure pipelines, and Vana-Kalamaja, which is being thoroughly revamped and extended.
Of all the disruptions, Svet claimed that that which has affected tramline four has caused the most disruption to local residents.
This relates to a tram line extension to reach the Old City Harbor (Vanasadam) area.
"The Vanasadam tram construction, the Jõe-Pronksi reconstruction, Vana-Kalamaja and now the Tondi special level crossing are those areas that affect our traffic situation the most," Svet enumerated, talking to ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Friday.
Svet had added to the list a major rework of a north-south city center route (Jõe-Pronksi), which started last fall, and work to streamline a rather idiosyncratic rail line/tram line/road interface in the Tondi area, South of the city center.
Meanwhile, businesses trapped inside the city center zone, covered by several blocks, where not only road traffic but also pedestrian through-flow has been severely curtailed, continue to suffer the effects.
In some cases, potential customers literally cannot find or reach the businesses, owners say.
A spokesperson of a cafe located on Narva mnt, one of the main routes affected by the work since it bisects both the tram extension work and the Jõe/Pronksi project, told AK that turnover has fallen by around 70 percent since the work got fully underway, in the spring.
"Things are very bad, super bad," the cafe's representative said.
Olga Unda, owner of Jalatsite Parandus Köösner, a shoe repair service, told AK: "Certainly people are unaware that we are open, due to the major construction work, yet the vicious circle of falling revenue makes advertising that we are open unrealistic. /.../ We don't have any cooperation with the city, though I would like to hope that the capital also thinks about its small businesses."
Major construction companies such as Merko Ehitus, KE Infra also say that the situation will start to improve from September, by which time schools will be back and summer vacations over, meaning a surge in traffic.
The work is also on schedule, the companies say.
Vladimir Svet said "certainly all the major work on Vana-Kalamaja," would be done by September – this job has been ongoing since September 2022 and thus longer than most of the other projects.
After that, tramlines 2 and 4 will be back in service, the deputy mayor said.
"Then we can open traffic trajectorie such as Liivalaia-Pronksi-Kunderi, Liivalaia-Pronksi-Gonsiori, and Liivalaia-Pronksi-Raua," Svet went on (see map below).
"This will actually allow for a lot more traffic in the city center," he added.
AK also spoke to some regular passersby about the situation as it is now, not as it may be many weeks from now.
"This is still disturbing when there are roadworks everywhere and you don't know exactly where to go, how to get through etc." one, Mia, told AK.
"You're going to a meeting, but then that meeting gets canceled, because you aren't able to arrive on time," another, Eduard, said.
"I think the best thing we can do now is to get our jobs on the same page as soon as possible so that customers can easily find these companies again," Vladimir Svet commented.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael
Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Grete Teearu.