Construction of Rail Baltica’s Central Hub begins in Riga
The beginning of construction of the Central Hub is a significant milestone for the Rail Baltica project, which is the largest infrastructure project in the region for 100 years.
Construction of the Rail Baltica Central Hub in Riga has begun as expected in November 2020. The start marks a significant milestone for the BESIX- SIA RERE BŪVE Joint Venture, which can now bring the ‘design-and-build’ concept to life. The project includes a new central station building, a major railway bridge on the Daugava river and various rail infrastructures.
Financed by the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Latvia, the project is part of Rail Baltica, the largest infrastructure project in the region for 100 years, that will integrate the Baltic States in the European rail network.
On 23 November 2020, the newly developed building site of the Central Hub in Riga was formally opened by senior representatives of Rail Baltica, the project implementer and the supervisory team of the civil engineers. They welcomed the builders and congratulated them on the commencement of construction works.
Attendees of the event, including the residents of Riga, and fellow countrymen and women, were also remotely addressed by the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Ioana Vălean, the Latvian Prime Minister, Krišjānis Kariņš, the Minister for Transport, Tālis Linkaits, and Mayor of Riga, Mārtiņš Staķis.
“The launch of Rail Baltica construction in Riga represents a milestone in the entire history of integration of the European Union. A modern railway network will soon bring us all closer together. Rail Baltica is one of the European Union’s priorities, since this infrastructure project is critical for Europe. Congratulations to the entire team – national and municipal authorities, project implementers, designers and builders, local and international suppliers. This is a truly remarkable day,” said the EU Commissioner, Adina Ioana Vălean, in her opening speech.
The Central Hub in Riga represents one of the most important construction phases of the Rail Baltica Project. It includes the reconstruction of Riga Railway Station complex, construction of a railway bridge across the River Daugava, construction of the European standard gauge tracks, removal of embankments and construction of an overpass, as well as construction of the adjacent infrastructure. BESIX is responsible for the design and build of it, as part of a joint venture with SIA RERE BŪVE.
Earlier, the JV BERERIX engineers successfully saw the complex design of the future railway station pass the wind tunnel and wind comfort tests and received the final approval for the master designs. The team is now eager to make the Rail Baltica project visible and tangible for citizens and guests of Riga, while strictly following all restrictive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“The building site is set up to enable continuous work and social distancing for about 100 workers employed on the site who are working in day and night shifts. In order to meet all requirements, prevent carrying and spreading of COVID-19 on the building site and to ensure a timely construction process of the Central Hub in Riga, and also in an emergency situation, BERERIX has assessed all on-site construction processes and performed a risk assessment for the work processes and intensity of worker interactions, as well as prepared solutions and a work organisation plan in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines and the Latvian government instructions,” explains Xavier Debruche, BERERIX project leader.
The project is part of the larger Rail Baltica Project, which will integrate the Baltic States in the European rail network and connect the cities of Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius and Warsaw. It is the largest infrastructure project in the Baltic region for 100 years.