On 2 September, the construction of the first railway bridge of the Rail Baltica Central Station project was officially launched in Riga, Latvia. Government representatives and the city authorities gave the green light to our BERERIX consortium teams.
Kārlis Eņģelis, Director of the Railway Policy and Infrastructure Department of the Ministry of Transport: “Rail Baltica construction works continue to expand, and changes in the center of Riga will become increasingly visible. The construction of the first railway overpass is an important moment in the development of the Riga Central Multimodal Transport Hub […] it will change the urban environment and allow the implementation of design solutions that will improve the movement of traffic, pedestrians and cyclists in a safe and convenient way”
It is one of the many infrastructures of this extraordinary project that will transform the city of Riga and integrate it into the European railway network. The works, carried out by BESIX and its partners RERE Būve and Rizzani de Eccher, include the construction of the city's new central station, which will accommodate international high-speed trains, a 1,000-metre-long major bridge over the Daugava River, and 2.5 kilometres of railway tracks in the middle of the city, with all the new urban infrastructure that these require.
Challenges & Solutions
The railway bridge over Lāčplēša Street is a good example of the many new urban infrastructures, as well as the challenges inherent in the project.
Located in the city centre of Riga, its construction was prepared to optimally minimise the disruption caused to traffic. In addition to the extremely precise planning and phasing, the project faces the logistical and other challenges of construction in an urban environment.
The design of the bridge, as with the other infrastructure, was carried out with a view to improving the quality of life in the city centre of Riga, and in particular in the station area. The design has therefore included plans to improve the flow of traffic, as well as the comfort and safety of users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians.
The design of the project was carried out with extensive use of BIM. In this area, the BERERIX teams are actively collaborating with Neanex, a company in which BESIX is a shareholder.
A symbol of European integration
Worth 430 million euros, the project is 85% funded by the European Union. It is part of the €5 billion Rail Baltica project, the largest infrastructure project in the region for 100 years, which will integrate the Baltic countries into the European rail network and link the cities of Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius and Warsaw. One of the aspects that makes this possible is the use of the European standard for rail gauge, alongside the old Soviet standard rails - in addition to the construction of new infrastructure, of which the Riga central station, to be built by BESIX and its partners, is one of the symbols.