“Critical for Europe”: Work starts on Rail Baltica’s Riga hub

The €430m project to build the Rail Baltica Central Hub in Riga, Latvia officially opened yesterday, putting the contracting joint venture of Belgium’s Besix and Latvia’s Sia Rere BÅ«ve onsite.

The JV, called "Bererix", will build the station building, a railway bridge over the Daugava river, an overpass, and will remove embankments.

Financed by Latvia and the European Union, the 870-km Rail Baltica scheme will integrate the Baltic states into the European rail network and connect Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius and Warsaw. It is billed as the largest infrastructure project in the region for 100 years.

"The launch of Rail Baltica construction in Riga represents a milestone in the entire history of integration of the European Union," said EU Transport Commissioner, Adina Ioana Vălean.

"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."

Earlier, Bererix engineers submitted the station’s design to wind tunnel and wind comfort tests, and received final approval.

Bererix project leader Xavier Debruche said the building site is set up to enable continuous work and social distancing for about 100 workers in day and night shifts.

"Bererix has assessed all on-site construction processes, performed a risk assessment for the work processes and intensity of worker interactions, as well as has prepared solutions and a work organisation plan in line with the WHO guidelines and the Latvian government instructions," he said.

Image: Render of the Rail Baltica Central Hub in Riga, Latvia (Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas)

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