On 21 December, Rail Baltica national implementer in Latvia, SIA Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas, and “E.R.B. Rail JV PS” concluded a contract for the construction of the Rail Baltica mainline in Latvia. The international competition was won by a consortium consisting of Eiffage Génie Civil SAS (France), Budimex S.A. (Poland), and Rizzani de Eccher S.p.A (Italy). Each participant of the joint venture has experience in the construction of strategic infrastructure projects in Europe.
Preparatory work for the start of mainline construction in Latvia has been completed, including the availability of land, funding for the first phase of construction, design, and an internationally recognized and experienced construction supervisor and contractor.
The construction works for the Rail Baltica mainline outside Riga will involve railway substructures, embankments, road crossings, and railway superstructures, including track and other related infrastructure, over approximately 230 km. This FIDIC contract sets the estimate contract amount at 3.7 billion euros. The specific costs of each section of the works will be calculated after reviewing the construction designs. The client and construction engineer, Italferr (Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group), will manage the contract, work, and cost supervision, while the Ministry of Transport will oversee the execution of the contract.
The construction will be carried out in stages, initially commissioning the first-phase construction works in the Bauska region near Iecava, where the future Rail Baltica infrastructure maintenance facility will be located. The works will commence in early 2024 and will involve the mobilization of resources for the southern regional team, the review of construction designs, preparation for construction, the establishment of a construction base, and railway substructure works in accordance with the first five construction permits over a length of 13 km. Funding of 165 million euros has been secured for the implementation of these works.
“The specificity of high-speed railway construction in accordance with European standards requires internationally experienced partners with the qualifications and economic capabilities to undertake such commitments, responsibilities, and risks. Experience shows that Latvian and foreign entrepreneurs form strong partnerships,” emphasizes Kaspars Vingris, Chairman of the Board of Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas. “Initiating extensive railway construction and attracting experienced construction contractors are crucial steps in building the track by 2030. Equally important it is for securing of further funding because, in the application process, meticulous evaluation is given to the readiness and ability to execute planned works.”
Each participant in the joint venture, boasts extensive experience and qualifications in the construction of strategically significant projects in Europe, aligning with the project’s scale and achieving annual turnovers that meet world-class quality standards. Considering the substantial scope of work, we anticipate the extensive involvement of national construction companies.
“Rail Baltica undoubtedly stands as the most significant construction project in the broader sense for years to come – for contractors, designers, supervisors, and material manufacturers. Rail Baltica will become an anchor project for the sustainable development of the industry, mobilizing the best experts, equipment, and technologies. The attraction of foreign contractors provides an opportunity for the exchange of competencies. On one hand, it brings Western expertise to Latvia; on the other, it offers Latvian colleagues the chance to demonstrate their ability to work on complex, extensive, and innovative projects, positioning them for future international endeavors,” emphasizes Gints Miķelsons, Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Construction Contractors Association.
“Taking into consideration the ongoing construction on specific Rail Baltica railway mainline sections in Lithuania, the recently signed mainline construction agreement in Latvia, and the announced construction tenders in Estonia, we plan for more than 100 kilometers of the mainline, parallel to the already ongoing construction of necessary infrastructure, to be in progress next year. Moving ahead, our paramount focus is on maintaining the highest standards, ensuring the comprehensive functionality of the rail network and its seamless interoperability,” said Kitija Gruškevica, Member of the Management Board at Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail AS.
The railway mainline construction includes the development of Rail Baltica outside the borders of Riga city. The contractor will be responsible for providing the infrastructure of the Rail Baltica railway mainline over approximately 230 km – construction of track substructures and superstructures, including land preparation, embankment, railway bridge, road, underground road crossing, transport structure construction, relocation of engineering networks, and installation of tracks and ballast. Currently, the most technically prepared and strategically significant section, to establish a connection with Europe as quickly as possible, is the southern segment towards Lithuania.
A comprehensive international competition took place in two stages. In the first stage, six candidates, consortia consisting of 17 construction companies representing a wide region from a total of 8 countries, applied for participation in the Rail Baltica mainline construction. After negotiation procedures, the final financial offer was received. Rail Baltica is an infrastructure of strategic importance and dual use, where all risks are carefully assessed. In accordance with the law, the State Security Service evaluated all candidates.
The procurement is organized in line with the Rail Baltica construction strategy and the project implementation timeline, which demands a significant construction pace. The procurement is designed to attract experienced companies in high-speed railway construction, ensuring competence, international competition, eliminating cartel risks, and enabling Latvia to benefit from economies of scale in both terms and costs.
For more information about the Rail Baltica mainline in Latvia visit https://edzl.lv/projekta-ieviesana/rail-baltica-pamattrase.