TALLINN – The Estonian government will probably decide in October whether or not to launch the procedure for a national designated spatial plan for a permanent transport link to the island of Saaremaa, the news portal of public broadcaster ERR said.
While numerous surveys have been conducted with a potential standing link with Estonia's biggest island in mind, the environmental impact assessment carried out in 2011 did not take into account all circumstances and the options concerning the eventual route have to be determined by a designated spatial plan, the "Aktuaalne kaamera" evening news program of ERR said on Thursday.
"In the environmental impact assessment at the time certain aspects were assessed incompletely, they have to be re-assessed," said Ain Tatter, head of the department for roads and railways at the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
"So we do not have the kind of knowledge today about whether the route will run along the northern or the southern route. And it is a Natura area, so what the additional mitigating measures have to be -- also that will become clear only in the course of the procedure of the national designated spatial plan," Tatter said.
The procedure will take about a couple of years and no outcome is ruled out, including the possibility that neither a tunnel nor a bridge can be built, the official added.
According to a roadmap endorsed earlier, construction a permanent link to Saaremaa could start in 2029. Provided that the link is a bridge, it could be completed in 2033 if the necessary funding is found.