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Bold new bridge project threatened as complainant takes matter to court

Project image of the planned bridge.
Project image of the planned bridge. Source: Port of Tallinn

Port operator Tallinna Sadam is planning to build a new pedestrian bridge between Tallinn's A and D ferry terminals. Its design is likely to make the bridge itself a tourist attraction, but now preparations for the construction of this latest fancy addition to Tallinn's image are delayed, as a company in the area is fighting the project in court.

The design competition for the new bridge was won by Dutch-Latvian tandem SIA Witteveen + Bos Latvia. Their "New Balance 100" project for the bridge has the potential to turn into one of Tallinn's landmark structures.

Everything is ready: Tallinna Sadam (Port of Tallinn) picked a design and project, was issued the building permit in August this year, and the tender for the job is up, with results expected for still this month.

But while preparations should be underway in Tallinn's passenger port, the project is now subject to a court ruling. Lootsi Holding, a company in an office building close to the planned location of the bridge, objects to Tallinna Sadam's plans and has taken the matter before the Tallinn Administrative Court.

Lootsi Holding want a smaller bridge farther away from their premises. For now, they are contesting the city's building permit, which means that the court case concerns the planning department of the city, while the port operator is involved only in the capacity of a third person.

The company feels that the bridge will turn a quiet area into a busy one, and beyond pedestrians also bring plenty of light and noise disturbances, as there will be signals whenever the bridge is about to be raised for ships.

Margus Vihman of the port operator's management board said that there had been a meeting, and that there had been the distinct impression that all of Lootsi Holding's questions had been answered.

"We've dealt with their objections. There were questions concerning vibrations and noise," he said, adding that raising and lowering the bridge would not damage Lootsi's building in any way, and that noise would be minimal.

Vihman also pointed out that the holding company hadn't submitted any objections in the 30-day period following the issuing of the building permit as specified in the law.

Tõntson's complaint also includes the fact that he thinks the bridge is bigger than originally specified in the spatial plan and too wide considering that it is thought only for pedestrians.

Lootsi Holding filed for legal protection with the administrative court, in which case Tallinna Sadam would have had to stop their preparations for the construction of the bridge. They were rejected, which means that the construction permit remains valid.

While the operator is now continuing with the project, Lootsi Holding have said they will take the matter to the Tallinn Circuit Court next.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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