Rail Baltica construction to begin in Latvia in autumn

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Construction of "Rail Baltica" has been started in Estonia and is scheduled for autumn in Latvia, reported Latvian Radio on May 24.

Rail Baltica is the largest infrastructure project in the Baltic States over the past 100 years. Railway lines of 870 km in length are to be built. Total costs in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are EUR 5.8 billion. 81%-85% of the projects will be financed by the European Union (EU), whereas the rest will be covered by each country.

Latvian Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits told Latvian Radio that the Rail Baltica project will be the driver for the economy in the entire Baltic region and employ experts from different areas - designers, geologists, planners, engineers, construction workers, bridge and road builders - over the next 6 years. 

This autumn, work will start at the Riga railway station. "The larger constructions that will affect the flow of passengers at the station will begin in spring 2021, but preparations will start by the end of this year," said Ilze Salna, Transport Minister's advisor for communication.

"At the central station, design work has been ongoing for several months. It is carried out by an international team whose core consists of the Latvian company RERE and the Belgian company Besix," said Kaspars Vingre, chairman of the European Rail Lines Board.

The Transport Minister estimated that all the work  on the Rail Baltica project will be continued in line with the planned timetable.

The design work is currently being carried out throughout Latvia, both in the central part of Riga and in the direction of Lithuania and Estonia. "Time limits depend on two circumstances: the completion of design work and resolving issues with local municipalities," said the Minister.

Latvia is expected to contribute EUR 393 million to the project, while EUR 1.968 billion will be co-financed by the EU.



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