The four-nation Rail Baltica infrastructure project has signed two new construction contracts for sections of its mainline through Estonia. 

The contracts are worth €107m ($115m) together and cover two contiguous sections of track totalling 16km. 

Rail Balitca explained two firms, Verston and Järelpinge Inseneribüroo, won the tender with a joint bid for the two connecting contracts. 

The northern section of the track will run 9.4km from the border of Harju and Rapla counties, approximately 30km south of Estonia’s capital Tallinn, to the village of Loone. Along with the line itself and embankments, seven major structures will be built under the contract (1 eco-duct, 5 road viaducts, and 1 pedestrian tunnel), according to Rail Baltica. 

The southern 7.1km section of the construction runs from Loone to Hagudi, and will include another six auxiliary constructions including bridges and viaducts. 

Rail Baltica said approximately 10km of various maintenance and access roads will be built as part of the same contracts. 

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Anvar Salomets, CEO of Rail Baltic Estonia, said the competitive tender process was positive for future tenders on the project. 

“The construction contracts signed today in Kohila municipality, covering over 16 kilometres of mainline construction, represent a significant milestone, showcasing the increasing maturity of our railway development. It is also gratifying to witness the sustained interest of our construction companies in participating in Rail Baltica tenders, with competition remaining fierce,” he said in a company statement. 

He added that work would be assigned or begin on further sections in 2024

“This year, we anticipate finalizing contracts or even commencing actual construction activities on approximately 50 kilometres of the Rail Baltica mainline in Estonia,” he said. 

Chairman of Verston, Veiko Veskimäe, said the international partnership on a major infrastructure project like Rail Baltica is vital. 

“Considering the current geopolitical situation, it is evident that every connection with Europe and its partners is crucial for us. However, it is precisely infrastructure investments that stimulate the economy during challenging times and create competitiveness for the future,” he explained.

Veskimäe added that Estonia’s relatively small size made such connections ever more crucial. 

“Modern infrastructure that considers the needs of people and the environment, along with robust connections, is strategically important for our small country as they ensure development, competitiveness, and security.”