A building permit for bridge repairs has already been issued and preliminary repair costs have been calculated. The bridge has not been overhauled for several decades. The headache in the municipality is caused by the fact that the bridge is the only way to get to the other side of the Daugava, because the nearest alternative bridge across the river is in Svente, 15 kilometers from Latvia's second-largest city.
The current version of the bridge dates from the early 1960s. Since the end of the 1980s, Vienības bridge has not been seriously repaired and it is high time to start it, Deputy Chairman of Daugavpils City Council Valērijs Kononovs told Latvian Radio.
"The capital repair of the bridge has not been carried out for at least 30 years. There are specialists' opinions that it is not in good technical condition. After some time, if measures are not taken, it may be difficult to move across it. A technical project for capital construction works has been developed, we plan to finance part of it in next year's budget either from the road fund or from other financial means. The preliminary costs could be around 4 million euros," said Kononovs.
It is not possible to carry out capital repairs of the bridge only with the funds of the municipality, so the council hopes for state support, both from the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Environment and Regional Development.
The idea of a second bridge in Daugavpils has been brewing for many years, and the headache that would be caused by the closure or partial closure of the only current option certainly does not reduce the appeal of an alternative route. However, at the moment, maintaining the only exsiting bridge is the priority – though renovation work is not likely to start until next year at the earliest.