No agreement reached on Rail Baltica route in Salacgriva, northern Latvia

  • 2016-07-13
  • BNS/LETA/TBT Staff/Riga

An agreement as to where a Rail Baltic high-speed rail line route through the Salacgriva Region will be built was not reached today between the Salacgriva Regional Council, the Transport Ministry, and the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry, as the parties involved did not compromise on the issue.

Transport Ministry representatives said that they plan to submit to the government a route which avoids the region's Natura 2000 protected area, as one of the possible alternate routes violates at least three national regulations. Additionally, they stated that this would also cause the loss of 4 million euros earmarked for research and analysis activities on finding the most suitable Rail Baltica route.

The Salacgriva Regional Council has opted to take a break in order to consult with environmental specialists before making a decision as to how it should proceed.

The Transport Ministry has noted that if the route proposed by the local government is accepted, it will cut through the Natura 2000 protected area, potentially costing the government several millions in EU financing. The ministry also said out that alterations in the already-passed Rail Baltic route could increase project delays by up to two years.

Conversely, the Salacgriva Regional Council is not planning to accept the route proposed by the government because it cuts through a sizeable portion of agricultural land. The local government also attests that environmental damage along the route it is proposing would be minimal.

As reported, the Rail Baltica project is managing the construction of a new standard-gauge railroad in the Baltic States. The European Commission has allocated Latvia 238 million euros for the first part of the project.

The Baltic nations will have received a total of 442.2 million euros (co-funding of 81.82 per cent) for this project by 2020.

The Rail Baltica standard-gauge railroad in Latvia will be 265 kilometres long, running through the Salacgriva, Limbazi, Seja, Incukalns, Ropazi, Garkalne, Stopini, Salaspils, Kekava, Baldone, Iecava, Olaine, Marupe, and Bauska regions, as well as Riga.