The Transport Ministry (TM) has announced an open contest for an in-depth technical inspection of the European standard railway Rail Baltica II through Latvia and its possible affect on the environment. The goal of the in-depth technical inspection is to determine the exact route of Rail Baltica II on Latvia’s territory. This includes links to the port and airport, as well as performing preliminary surveys, landscaping, and initiation of construction before 2020, TM reports.
The winner of the contest will be required to perform the technical inspection, including the possible effects on the environment. The carrying out of the inspection, technical solution preparation and calculation of expenses will need to be carried out within 28 months from the day the agreement is signed.
Candidates can submit their applications to TM until March 21, 2013. It is planned to attract funding from the EU and the state budget. As it is known, in 2010-2011, AECOM‘s performed preliminary survey showed that the construction of a new 1 435 mm railway that would connect Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with Poland and other EU countries is socio-economically justified. As a result of the preliminary survey, the possible railway corridor was determined. The chosen corridor would connect Tallinn, Riga and Kaunas with the shortest and fastest route.
It is expected that territorial planning and technical project will be finished by 2015. This will make it possible to initiate the construction of the Rail Baltica project in the next EU financial planning period of 2014-2020.
The project’s realization will cost 1.27 billion EUR in Latvia alone, and 3.68 billion EUR in all three Baltic States. The European Commission has allowed the co-funding of this project in the amount of 85% of the project’s total costs.
Estonia has already carried out procurement, which had only two candidates despite the initially large interest. Other have admitted that the preparation time was short, but risks – high. The cheapest survey proposal was turned down because the enterprise had a tax debt. The Consortium of Estonian companies was declared the winner, reports LETA.
Lithuania, unfortunately, is unable to begin its survey, because the regulations that were approved before the survey carried out by the British AECOM had the route of Rail Baltica II set through Sauli, not Panevezh, as it is proposed by AECOM results. Lithuania has begun the necessary procedures in order to change the results, but the end decision can be expected to come no sooner than the middle of November of 2013.