A bridge close to the Latvia-Estonia border which has long been the source of consternation for drivers and travelers from both countries may be replaced with a newer structure, Latvian public broadcaster LSM reports.
The bridge, in Salacgriva, Latvia, less than 15km from the border with Estonia, has remained essentially in a state of disrepair for 65 years now, LSM reports, and cannot deal with modern-day traffic volumes, leading to a serious bottleneck even as it forms a part of the E67 Via Baltica route.
The bridge is partly closed due to structural weakness, and traffic can only cross in one direction at a time.
Kaspars Briškens, Latvia's transport minister, says that €15 million has been earmarked to rectify that situation – by building a completely new bridge.
Currently, the bridge is under the auspices of Limbaži municipality, which lacks the funds to repair the current structure, which spans the Salatsi river, let alone build a replacement; EU Military Mobility may be viable as a source, Briškens said, while the state will seek alternatives if that proves not to be the case.
The issue was brought under the spotlight in late summer after large numbers of attendees at two major concerts at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds had come from Latvia and Lithuania and experienced serious tailbacks on the return journey.
More seriously, the current bridge would not be able to support heavy military vehicles – main battle tanks weigh around 60 tonnes, for instance.
Estonia's Transport Administration (Transpordiamet) contacted its Latvian equivalent on the matter in late August.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Karl Kivi