Rail Baltica seeks contractor for building longest railway bridge in the Baltic States

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LTG Infra, the company responsible for the implementation of the Rail Baltica project in Lithuania, has launched the second stage of a tender, during which it will select a contractor for the railway bridge over the river Neris near Jonava. This will be the longest railway bridge in the Baltic States, spanning more than 1.5 kilometres.

“The railway bridge over the river Neris will be the most technically complex engineering construction of the Rail Baltica railway project. This will be the longest bridge not only in Lithuania, but also all of the Baltic States. Another engineering challenge is that there will not be a single support in the water, and so the selected construction contractor will face a serious challenge in this task,” LTG Infra CEO Karolis Sankovski says.

He noted that this tender, just as other works and future tenders for the Rail Baltica project, could become a serious “cushion” for the Lithuanian economy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In total, the new bridge would reach a length of 1,510 metres. So far, the longest bridge in Lithuania spans the river Dubysa near Lyduvėnai, reaching a length of 599 metres, while the longest bridge for car traffic spans the Nemunas river near Jurbarkas, reaching a length of 494 metres.

The longest span on the bridge between supports at the location it will cross the river will reach 150 metres.

Based on the contract, the contractor winning the tender will have to not only construct the bridge but also perform landscape modifications, install noise suppressing barriers, reconstruct nearby water delivery and other engineering networks, and reconstruct drainage systems.

The new bridge will be a part of a completely new 1,435 mm width gauge railway stretch for Rail Baltica between Kaunas and the Lithuanian-Latvian border.

Rail Baltica is the largest railway infrastructure project in the Baltic States’ history. Through its implementation, across the entire length of the Rail Baltica route, an electrified European standard gauge two-way railway line will be laid down, spanning from Warsaw through Kaunas to Riga and Tallinn.

The combined length of the Rail Baltica railway line in the Baltic States will reach 870 km: 392 km in Lithuania, 265 km in Latvia and 213 km in Estonia.

The project’s constructions, which are planned to be valued at around 5.8 billion euro, are the largest investment aimed at improving mobility and travel opportunities, developing business, tourism and goods exchanges in the region.

“Rail Baltica”: essential decisions should be taken jointly by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia

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High-level transport ministries representatives of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have agreed for closer political level cooperation on “Rail Baltica” railway project in the meeting of 16 May in Riga.

This will facilitate an agreement on intergovernmental treaty, which should structure necessary commitments at the States level implementing “Rail Baltica” fast conventional European gauge railway in all three countries, as well as define basic conditions for completing this strategic project.

Representatives concluded that intergovernmental treaty has to take into account interests of all participating countries and ensure sustainable framework for coordination of actions between the countries.

R. Sinkevičius: I hope that construction works of Phase 2 of Rail Baltica will start soon

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Rimantas Sinkevičius, the Minister of Transport and Communication of Lithuanian considers the key event of the year for European transport – the TEN-T Days  to be another opportunity to discuss the details of further implementation of Phase 2 of the Rail Baltica Project with European politicians and experts.

“This is an excellent opportunity for presenting Rail Baltica. I believe that the project that has been recognised as a priority EU project will receive due attention. I also hope that our neighbours will also start the preparatory and construction works under the Rail Baltica Project which is financed by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)”, says Minister Rimantas Sinkevičius.

It should be noted that Phase 1 of the Rail Baltic Project that has already been completed by Lithuania is considered a success story by the European Commission (EC). A section on the North Sea – Baltic Corridor on the EC‘s website states that, despite recession and lack of funds, Lithuania undertook the construction of the 1435 mm gauge railway and completed the line between the Lithuanian-Polish border and Kaunas.

Lithuania and its partners – Latvia and Estonia have already agreed with the European Commission that, along with the works on the Rail Baltica line, the implementation of a European signalling and control system (ERTMS) in the section between the Lithuanian-Polish border and Kaunas will be funded. This is a very important agreement, showing the economic viability of Rail Baltica in the nearest future.

“We will do our best to achieve that the second phase of the project is successful as well. I am grateful to Ms Catherine Trautmann, the European Coordinator for the TEN-T North Sea – Baltic Corridor who is investing lots of energy to ensure that the project partners undertake the works of construction of the European gauge railway in their respective countries”, says Minister Rimantas Sinkevičius.

This year the TEN-T Days are held in Rotterdam on 20–22 June. The development of the Trans-European Network is the main subject of the event, with a focus on the issues of implementation and financing of the main network corridors.

Violeta Bulc, the European Commissioner for Transport, and Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Minister of Infrastructure and Environment of the Netherlands, are inviting the EU Ministers of Transport, Members of the European Parliament, and other interested parties to take part in discussions held during the TEN-T Days.