Tallinn Mayor Taavi Aas (Centre) has said that the proposed Reidi Road (Reidi Tee) in central Tallinn, construction of which begins on Monday, has more supporters than opponents.
The new road, which is planned to service the Tallinn harbour area and is to run along the seafront towards the Russalka Monument in Kadriorg, has drawn criticism from environmentalists and others, even making the international press in a (critical) article in quality UK daily The Guardian.
However, speaking to ERR's Vikerradio morning show 'Vikerhommik', Mr. Aas pointed out that in his opinion large projects like this will always have their detractors and that the Reidi Road construction was nothing unusual in this regard.
Not a new idea
He also noted that the route had been planned decades ago.
''Interestingly, for as long as the project remained on paper only, there was no opposition. As usual, it is only once that actual work starts on a project that people start to voice their criticism,'' he said.
He also said that the name 'Reidi Road' doesn't quite do the project justice since it is not merely a road designed for motor traffic only, but has many other aspects of which the road in the strict sense of the word is but a part.
Mr. Aas had previously stated that the Reidi Road was to include recreational facilities like a running track, presumably running alongside it, parking areas, and was to have a maximum speed limit of 40 km/h.
Road not to infringe on existing beaches and park areas
He was also keen to stress that the sandy beach areas beyond the Russalka monument will remain intact.
The development will ''give people the option to move directly from the city center towards Pirita,'' he explained, as well as developing the somewhat derelict seafront between the harbour and Kadriorg. Up to now such a journey would involve travelling up the main Narva Highway from the centre before joining the Pirita Road at the main junction by Kadriorg Park, or using other often-congested routes.
''I think that there are more people who are perfectly happy with the work starting, and that proportion can only grow when the road is functioning,'' he went on.
The Pirita Road itself, together with the embankment it runs along, was built in preparation for the 1980 Summer Olympic Games; the watersports events were hosted in Pirita.
Editor: Andrew Whyte