New details about Rail Baltica revealed

The developers of the Rail Baltica high-speed rail line have worked out more than 500 technical solutions for tailoring the railway to the country's roads, power lines and other man-made and natural objects, reported Latvian Radio Wednesday.

The promo video shows a few of these solutions in action along with infrastructure objects such as an extra bridge over the River Daugava next to the existing rail bridge.

The local objections voiced by municipalities have become quieter.

"I wouldn't want to say that the ax of war that was raised in March is now as large and threatening [as it was]," Neils Balgalis, the spatial planning expert for the railway's planning company RB Latvija told Latvian radio, referring to the municipalities' objections voiced previously.

He said that most of the contentious points have been resolved. As of now the developers of the project can offer specific solutions to the municipalities, and the inhabitants' objections have been taken into consideration into working them out. However, if these matters are not resolved in talks, the last word will be with the state, said Balgalis.

The developers stress that the railway line will be crucially different from others in Latvia, as it is planned that it'll interfere as little as possible with the existing infrastructure and locals' lives. Such a result can be achieved, for example, by combining the railway track with the existing power lines, said Arnis Skrastiņš, the head of the RB Latvija work group for research.

By merging the infrastructure there'll be only a single protective lane, so the track will take up less valuable space, said Skrastiņš.

While Evija Brante, an expert from the Estonian, Latvian & Lithuanian Environment company noted that there will be paths for animals to cross the railway.

The track will have a fence surrounding it all the way, but it'll be colorful enough so that birds can see it, and about 8 to 10 animal crossing paths are planned to be built in Latvia, said Brante. 

Meanwhile the region of Torņakalns in Rīga - one of the most argued-about parts of the track - will be traversed by means of a tunnel built below the existing railway before crossing the Daugava on the new bridge.

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 €1.27 billion. It is co-funded by the EU's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The first part of the project acquired more than 80% in funding from the CEF.

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