Partnership RB Latvija, in cooperation with local governments and residents, has completed work on three alternative routes for the Rail Baltica railroad, and says that solutions for the more densely populated areas will be found soon, The Baltic Course informs.
RB Latvija spatial planning expert Neils Balgalis said that finding optimum solutions required balancing out the interests of local governments and residents, history of the given areas, environmental factors. For those areas where Rail Baltica has stirred the most controversy, three alternative railroad routes have been prepared.
One alternative route will now be offered to Marupe Region, taking into consideration local residents and municipality’s opinions. RB Latvija representatives could have an extra meeting with Marupe residents later this month to discuss the alternative.
The other two alternative routes have been offered to Salacgriva Region, and they will also be discussed with the region’s residents.
Following meetings with residents in fifteen municipalities earlier this summer, RB Latvija received more than 500 proposals. Various solutions were considered for Bauska, Baldone, Kekava, Marupe, Incukalns, Seja, Limbazi, Salacgriva regions and Riga. In the more densely-populated areas, finding a common denominator was harder as it is impossible to take into consideration all residents’ interest.
Assessment of the project’s impact on the environment will also be released in October.
The Rail Baltica standard-gauge railroad in Latvia will be 265 kilometers long, going through Salacgriva, Limbazi, Seja, Incukalns, Ropazi, Garkalne, Stopini, Salaspils, Kekava, Baldone, Iecava, Olaine, Marupe, Bauska regions and Riga.
EU has allocated EUR 238 million to Latvia for implementation of the first round of the Rail Baltica project, and the largest part of the amount will go to construction of a railroad connecting the Riga Central Railroad Station and Riga Airport, according to Edvins Berzins, member of the board at Baltic joint venture RB Rail set up to coordinate implementation of the Rail Baltica project. By 2020, the Baltic States will receive a total of EUR 442.2 million (co-funding of 81.82%) for this project.