Baltic auditors learn about Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas and the progress of the Rail Baltica project (+ photo)
On 12 October the participants of the meeting of the supreme audit institutions of the Baltic States visited the headquarters of Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas (EDZL ) – the Rail Baltica project’s national implementing body in Latvia. The visitors learned about the company’s role in the implementation of Rail Baltica and about the project’s progress so far. The participants also visited the Riga Central Station, where they witnessed the planned changes with the help of VR technology.
The representatives of supreme audit institutions of Baltic States, Poland and Finland, were welcomed by Agnis Driksna, Head of Development and Cooperation Department in EDZL. He introduced the visitors to the legal framework behind Rail Baltica project, as well as the corporate structure and financing of the company. As to the company’s role in implementing the Rail Baltica project in Latvia, A. Driksna indicated that EDZL is a 100 percent state-owned company and that it holds 33.33 percent of the shares in RB Rail AS, a joint venture company established for the purpose of completing the railway and developing the Rail Baltica project across the three Baltic States.
Speaking about the accomplishments in the implementation of Rail Baltica, A. Driksna emphasized that Latvia was the first of the three Baltic States whose government approved the location of the route, extending over 263 km across Latvia and the territory of 15 municipalities, and that Latvia has also approved the project’s status as that of an “object of national interest”.
Moreover, A. Driksna informed about the many procurements being carried out by EDZL. For example, procurements for studying the cultural heritage along the planned railway route, for land surveying and land surveying services, for the launched study on the Rail Baltica’s impact on air traffic control systems, as well as for the selection of the second-stage candidates for building the Rail Baltica station in the Riga International Airport territory. Additionally, the visitors were presented with information about the Land Alienation process Advisory Center. The Center has been established by EDZL to make the land alienation process as effective as possible, and to assist the land owners by providing necessary consultations on the process. As presented by A. Driksna, the land alienation process in Latvia will be carried out in several stages, firstly alienating the properties necessary for the construction of Rail Baltica station at the Riga International Airport and for the reconstruction of the Riga Central Station.
Particular attention was paid to the biggest challenge – the reconstruction of Riga Central Station and the construction of a new bridge. The scale and complexity of both objects makes them two of the most complicated tasks on the Rail Baltica route, especially considering that a project of such a large scale has never been carried out in the heart of Riga. The projects have to be completed in the next five years. A. Driksna informed that EDZL has received the first stage tender submissions for the procurement „Elaboration of the construction project and construction works of Rail Baltica's Riga Railway bridge, railway embankment and Riga Central Passenger Station premises“. Seven international associations, consisting of highly experienced national and foreign construction companies, including companies from Lithuania, Poland, Turkey, Spain, Belgium and Italy, wish to demonstrate their expertise. Currently, the Procurement Commission carries out a selection of candidates meeting the requirements of the procurement rules, in order to invite them to submit offers for the second round of the tender, which is to be announced at the end of this year.
To get the feel of the neighborhood, which is expected to undergo significant changes, the representatives of supreme audit institutions of the Baltic States were taken on a walking tour to the Central Station and its surrounding territory. The tour included the embankment along the Central Market, Gogoļa square and the railway platforms, as well as the main lobby of the Riga Central Station. The tour ended at the Station Square where with the help of virtual reality googles the visitors could see with their own eyes the changes to the area as envisioned by the winner of the design contest – the Danish PLH Arkitekter in cooperation with COWI. The tour was led by specialists from the EDZL: Ilze Lukstiņa, Coordinator of the Project implementation department, and Jānis Eiduks, Director of the Technical department.
Watch the photo here: