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State to carry out cost and socioeconomic analyses for Saaremaa bridge

Minister of Economic Affairs Kadri Simson.
Minister of Economic Affairs Kadri Simson. Source: ERR

Minister of Economic Affairs Kadri Simson (Center) said on Thursday that her ministry will analyze the potential cost of construction as well as maintenance of a bridge from the Estonian mainland to the islands of Muhu and Saaremaa.

Simson said in an interview with ERR that the cabinet discussed the matter in its Thursday meeting with the businessmen that came out with the most recent proposal to build the bridge.

"The Ministry of Economic Affairs has been given the task to carry out an analysis of the cost of construction and maintenance of the bridge," Simson said. "If without a more thorough analysis the cost is estimated to be €500 million and a subsidy of €800 million needed, then if the construction gets more expensive the initiators would likely have greater expectations towards the state as well."

The ministry will carry out the construction and maintenance cost analyses as well as a new estimate of the project's socioeconomic impact, Simson added. All are to be completed by March next year.

Businessmen Raivo Hein and Raivo Kütt, along with a number of interested investors, are hoping to start building a bridge across the Suur Väin strait between the island of Saaremaa and the Estonian mainland already in 2020 if the government approves of the idea. The project would be completed in three years and cost an estimated €500 million, according to Hein.

Crossing the bridge would cost travelers roughly the same amount of money they currently pay for a ferry ticket, Hein said. The initiators' calculations include a hefty state subsidy both for the construction of the bridge as well as for its later operation and maintenance.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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