Rīga approves tram line to developing area

On Tuesday the Rīga City Council greenlighted building a controversial tram line to the booming Skanste neighborhood, reported Latvian Radio.

The project, approved with 34 votes 'for' and 15 'against', was the source of much contention as it had become known it will run through the Great Cemetery

The c. €100m project of the new 3.65 km-long line also includes a reconstruction of three kilometers of existing line plus the purchase of twelve low-floor trams.

The new line would start on Pērnavas st. on to Senču st., Zirņu st., Skanstes st., and end on Sporta st. Senču st., which runs through the cemetery, will have to be reconstructed for the project. 

Director of the Riga Transport Department Emīls Jakrins said that there is no worry over graves being moved due to the project.

While Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs said that the Skanste neighborhood will become the new center of the capital, already experiencing rapid development. Furthermore, €70m have been earmarked for the project from EU funds.

"We can't let this opportunity pass us by," said Ušakovs.

He said that "the three graves [on Senču st.] - and we don't know who's buried there - will not be touched."

The Rīga City Council has said before that a single vault at the cemetery will be affected as the line will be built.

Skanste is a business neighborhood in Rīga. It's also home to the capacious ice hockey, basketball and concert space Arena Riga, and in due time will also house Latvia's modern art museum

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