Italian company to build longest bridge in the Baltics

LTG Infra’s rendering of the completed bridge
LTG Infra, the Lithuanian Railways subsidiary overseeing the Rail Baltica project in that country, has recruited Italian company Rizzani de Eccher to build a 1.5km-long railway bridge over the Neris river near the city of Jonava, set to be the longest in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

The bridge impinges on a site protected by the EU’s Natura 2000 ecological network, so work will not be carried out during fish migration and spawning. To avoid damage to the ecosystem, the bridge’s supports will not be located on the river bed, and will be as much as 150m apart.

Karolis Sankovski, chief executive of LTG Infra, commented in a press statement: “This bridge is especially important for the implementation of the project in the construction of the railway towards the Latvian border – it will transport 50m-long rails that can only be carried by rail.”

The Rail Baltica network is intended to reorientate Baltic states towards the EU (RB Rail AS/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Franco Alzetta, the chief executive of Rizzani de Eccher, added: “We are honoured and proud to be awarded the contract which will allow us to bring all of our bridge engineering and construction skills and experience to an important and challenging project for Lithuania’s rail infrastructure network.”

The company has tackled similar schemes in, among other places, Canada, Russia, Turkey, the UK and US.

Rail Baltica will be an electrified, double-track, standard-gauge railway between Warsaw and the Estonian capital Tallinn. Some 392km will run through Lithuania, 265km through Latvia and 213km through Estonia. An undersea tunnel taking it on to Helsinki has also been proposed (see further reading).

Marius Skuodis, Lithuania’s transport minister, said that in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Rail Baltica has become not only an economic project, but also a geopolitical one, allowing “our rail network to be fully integrated into Europe”.

The estimated duration of the Neris bridge works is 2.5 years.

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