Cabinet agreed on potential routes for Rail Baltic

On Thursday, the Cabinet endorsed the preferred route corridors for Rail Baltic as proposed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MEAC) and consultants.

A more detailed examination will be conducted on two prospective routes in Harju county and the northern part of Rapla county and on one route in the southern part of Rapla county. The preferred route options in Harju county include the solution proposed by the county governor and the route corridor east of the Nabala Nature Reserve. In the southern part of Rapla county, the Government supported the route option 16d, proposed by the county governor, taking the rail track even further to the east from Kohila small town and Prillimäe village. In Pärnu county, work continues on one route corridor, which runs over fields and is least disruptive to the sensitive natural environment while also saving almost 11 million euros in costs.

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructures will propose a preferred route option for Harju county and the northern part of Rapla county to the Government in the spring of the coming year, following the publication of a draft plan. MEAC also continues development of a conceptual design for the entire route.

Furthermore, MEAC and the Technical Surveillance Authority have to draw up proportional alleviation measures to reduce the negative impact of railway construction on the built, natural, economic and cultural environments near the railway.

The length of the route in Estonia will be approximately 211 kilometres; it will cost 1.1 billion euros to build, of which 650 million will be paid from the EU budget and 500 million from Estonia’s contribution to cost-sharing.

The next stage will be drafting of more detailed plans for track crossings, various access routes and new transport links. The preliminary draft plan will be presented in the beginning of 2015 during public consultations in local governments.

Rail Baltic is an envisaged railway to connect Estonia with the rest of Europe as well as with the neighbouring Latvia and Lithuania. Supported by EU funding, the project is currently at a preparatory stage, with construction expected to start in 2017 or 2018.

Source: Government Communication Unit via Estonian Review

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