Rail Baltica route could affect more than 100 culturally significant sites in Latvia

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There are 126 potentially significant cultural and historic sites along the Rail Baltica railroad section in Latvia that will have to be further assessed before construction of the railroad gets under way, Ilze Lukstina from the company implementing the project in Latvia, told reporters on Tuesday, according to the LETA newswire.

Two expert teams have done a great amount of work over the past twelve months, said Lukstina, adding that the teams included sixteen archaeologists, four architects, three geodesic engineers, two art historians, three historians, and one technical operator.

Now the experts' conclusions and recommendations will have to be taken into account in further planning of the Rail Baltica railroad in Latvia, said Lukstina, and experts will have to analyze each individual cultural and historic site and structure to determine whether it can or cannot be preserved during the implementation of the Rail Baltica project.

According to company Archeo archeologist Uldis Kalejs, who participated in assessment of the potential cultural and historic sites where the Rail Baltica railroad is to be constructed, some of the sites date back to the Middle Iron Age, others to 16th-19th centuries. There also are many trenches and dugouts, some in very good condition. Furthermore, the entire length of the railroad will have to be inspected by ordnance disposal experts as there still is a lot of unexploded ordnance there.

The Industrial Heritage Foundation CEO Andris Biedrins said that a number of industrial sites and structures of cultural and historical importance had been inspected by experts in Riga and Greater Riga Region. Some of these - water towers, the Gas Factory, remains of the Iron Bridge - will definitely be preserved. The fate of the other objects will be decided by companies implementing the Rail Baltica project in consultation with experts, reported LETA without quoting any of the participants directly.

The Rail Baltica project provides for the construction of a new fast European standard gauge double electrified railway line from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border at a cost of around 6 billion euros.

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