Rail Baltica construction underway, building transport hubs first

Rail Baltica groundwork already underway.
Rail Baltica groundwork already underway. Source: ERR

Construction work on Rail Baltica, an EU project aimed at providing a continuous rail link from Helsinki to Warsaw, has already begun in Estonia, according to a report on ERR current affairs show Aktuaalne kaamera Wednesday evening.

The project follows a very different rationale than traditional rail building, however, and is coordinated with other transport links construction, according to the report, with key hubs being built first.

In addition, rather than building the entire link in one go, with both groundwork and infrastructure laid by one company, the two aspects are being treated as separate projects, the report said.

Viaducts and other points where the proposed line meets the roads are under construction first, including a viaduct to be built at Saustinõmme, about 20 km south of Tallinn city center. This and other parts of the construction are being project-managed by the Road Administration (Maanteeamet), and will probably take around three years to complete.

Work in area around the Saustinõmme stretch are complicated by boggy ground, which requires concrete pins inserting to a depth of 20 meters, to support the weight of the infrastructure (around 7-8 meters of ground in the area is not stable).

"In future projects, we will see Rail Baltic designing these intersections according to the requirements of the Road Administration," said Janar Tüük, head of the Northern Road Maintenance Department at the Road Administration.

The cost of the 112-meter Saustinõmme viaduct is said to be €19 million, €7 million of which will be paid for by Rail Baltic Estonia. The remaining €12 million is to be provided by the Road Administration, which in turn gets 85 percent of this money from the EU Cohesion Fund, it is reported.

The approach also takes into account the proposed Tallinn Ring Road, and so it killing two birds with one stone, according to Rail Baltic Estonia technical manager Anvar Salomets.

Throughout Estonia, there are around 80 points, about half of which are are intersections with the highways or viaducts, and about half of these in turn occur on state roads," said Salomets.

The original Aktuaalne kaamera segment (in Estonian) is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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