Construction of the Estonian portion of the planned Rail Baltica high-speed line will not meet its original planned deadline of 2026, and is likely to be completed at the end of this decade. Finance, planning and engineering issues are the main factors in the delay.
Tõnu Grünberg, board chair at Rail Baltic Estonia, the firm overseeing the Estonian section of a line which will traverse all three Baltic States, from north to south, told daily Postimees that: “Until now, 2026 had been our own goal, but it has not been set in stone at European level.
“Unfortunately, it is now clear that this schedule is no longer possible. On the one hand, it cannot be carried out technically and structurally, on the other hand, the financing of the entire project is not covered,” Grünberg added.
The end of the 2020s is the final deadline, however, if the EU-wide TENT-T transport network deadline of a decade later is to be met.
Planning issues in Pärnu County, which borders Latvia to the south, have contributed to the hold up after the original plan was annulled by the Supreme Court in Estonia. A replacement plan and route is scheduled for year-end, it is reported.
Grünberg said that: “We have found very good alternatives to the previously proposed route. However, they also have their disadvantages. Now we have to consider what is the best solution for nature. In terms of time, it does not matter anymore whether we stay on the old route corridor or make changes to it. Public consultations, coordination and the rest of the whole involvement process must still be carried out again, in accordance with the law. If the new plan is approved by the end of next year, it will be fine.”
Read more: ERR.EE