In order to speed up the construction of the Kaunas railway node on the European-gauge railway Rail Baltica, the procedures for buying out the land plots needed for the project are moving forward rapidly. The Ministry of Transport and Communications has received consents from private owners for the acquisition of 17 out of 20 land plots or parts of them into the ownership of the state on commercial grounds, before the approval of the special plan and the beginning of the procedures for acquiring land for public needs.
“We are grateful to the owners of the land plots, with whom we were able to find a quick agreement on compensation. The purchased land plots will soon be transferred to the state, allowing us to accelerate the infrastructure works necessary for the Kaunas railway node. It is important to emphasize that for Lithuania and all the Baltic countries Kaunas railway node will be one of the central objects that will ensure the connection with the West and the return to the European railway network”, Mindaugas Tarnauskas, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, noted.
When private property is bought into the ownership of the state, the aim is to compensate the property owners as fairly as possible for the land in cash based on the market value and individual assessment.
Of the 20 land plots, totalling 1.6 hectares, needed for the construction of the so-called “point-type” infrastructure objects, such as viaducts, bridges, tunnels, that have already been identified, sale and purchase agreements have already been signed for 11 land plots or parts of them. A further 6 agreements are expected to be signed by mid-November.
“The process of land acquisition is going on smoothly and quickly, so we can already see that the tactics chosen for the project implementation, when land acquisition for specific infrastructure objects is started even before the approval of the special plan, are proving to be successful,” Dovydas Palaima, Head of Rail Baltica Management at LTG Infra, said. “In the near future, tenders will be announced for the design of specific infrastructure facilities at Kaunas railway node. Thus, design work on viaducts and tunnels on this section will start early next year. It is expected that preparations for construction works will be completed in early 2025.”
The special plan of the Kaunas railway node is expected to be approved by the Government by the end of November. Then the procedures for the taking of the remaining land plots needed for the Kaunas railway node for public needs will start.
At present, a railway crossing and engineering structures are being built on the most mature section from Kaunas to the Lithuanian-Latvian border – almost 30 kilometres from Kaunas towards the Latvian border. The construction of the longest railway bridge over the Neris River in the Baltic States is also intensifying.
In other sections of the project, Kaunas–Vilnius and Kaunas–Lithuania–Poland border, special plans are currently being finalized and procurement procedures for design works are underway. Following the approval of special plans (scheduled for Q1 2024), land acquisition and design activities will be carried out simultaneously.
Rail Baltica is the largest railway infrastructure project in the history of the Baltic States, which will build a fully electrified double-track European gauge railway connecting Warsaw, Kaunas, Vilnius, Panevėžys, Riga, Pärnu and Tallinn. The total length of Rail Baltica in the Baltic States is 870 km, with 392 km in Lithuania, 265 km in Latvia and 213 km in Estonia.
Frequently asked questions about the Rail Baltica project (territorial planning and land acquisition stages) are available here (in Lithuanian).