Balodis said that the Riga City Council has started work on two projects related to Rail Baltica – construction of the multimodal transport hub in Torņakalns and reconstruction of Riga Central Market. Plans for other adjacent territories will be drawn up later when there is clarity about the adjacent territories affected by the Rail Baltica project and the solutions proposed for their development.
The multimodal transport hub will be built in an undeveloped Torņakalns territory between Vienibas Gatve Street and the railway. The EU Cohesion Fund has provided €7 million to this project, providing for the construction of a new regional coach terminal, a parking area and a passenger terminal. The local authority has so far allocated €290,000 for drawing up the project’s technical plan.
Balodis said that the Torņakalns multimodal hub will serve as an alternative to the current coach terminal during the development of the Rail Baltica railway line, but that there are no plans to move the coach terminal to Torņakalns for good.
The Torņakalns multimodal hub is being planned as a regional coach terminal, while the question about the future location of Riga Central Coach Terminal has yet to be debated.
Riga Central Market’s revitalization is another project the Riga local authority plans to implement as part of Rail Baltica. The city council has provided €290,000 also for this project’s technical plan.
In order to better prepare for the Rail Baltica project, the city council’s urban development department has started talks with the Transport Ministry on signing a memorandum, which among other things envisages forming an inter-institutional workgroup for Rail Baltica.
As previously reported by Latvian Radio, Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs hinted that in the long term the central bus terminal might be moved either under the projected railroad station or to the Torņakalns neighborhood.
The Riga Central Railway Station will be rebuilt for the Rail Baltica project using design by architect firms PLH Arkitekter and COWI.
The project entails a massive rebuild of the central station, leveling the embankment currently all but separating two parts of the city, as well as building a new bridge over the Daugava River featuring a bicycle and pedestrian path.
Preparatory works should be carried out in 2018 but construction might start in 2019 or 2020.
Rail Baltica is a proposed high-speed line to link Helsinki with Berlin through the Baltic capitals by 2024.
The key goal of the project is to renew regional integration by re-joining the Baltic states with the European rail network.
The project will cost Latvia about €1.27b. The first part of the project acquired more than 80% in funding from the Connecting Europe Facility.