Construction of the four-lane Tallinn-Tartu highway has run into difficulty related to funding, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Centre) said on Wednesday.
Speaking on ERR discussion show "Otse uudistemajast", Aas said that EU structural funds for the project had dried up, leaving the Estonian state needing to find €66 million for the Võõbu-Kose stretch of the road.
"The amount found wanting from the EU came to €66 million. The sum was not permissible [so far as the EU goes] and has to be replaced by [state] budgetary means," Aas said, noting that the topic had come up in recent state budget discussions.
The total cost for the stretch is €95 million, of which €29 million is forthcoming from the EU, Aas said.
"It is vital that at the end of this year and into the beginning of the next, this can be procured so the road can be continued up to Mäo," he added.
The stretch of road in question crosses Harju and Järva Counties. Mäo is about equidistant between Tallinn and Tartu.
The work is ongoing, Aas, who was Tallinn mayor until winning a Riigikogu seat at the March 3 general election, pointed out.
"If you drive along the highway at the moment, you'll see trees are being cut in preparation," he said.
All stretches of the highway intended to be four-lane require funding, to the order of about €3 million per year, Aas said, adding that the projected construction completion date is 2023-2024.
The original broadcast (in Estonian) is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte