TALLINN – Peter Vesterbacka, champion of a project to build an undersea railway tunnel between the capitals of Estonia and Finland, on Monday introduced the FinEst Bay Area tunnel project led by him, as well as his partners from China Railways and Touchstone Capital Partners, to Estonia's Prime Minister Juri Ratas and Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson.
The ministers noted at the meeting that the initiative and interest of the private sector are important, spokespeople for the government told BNS. It is also very important for Estonia for the project to be carried out with the participation of the governments of Estonia and Finland.
The construction of the tunnel must happen pursuant to European Union principles and rules and taking into consideration all environmental impacts.
Estonia and Finland already are working together with a view to designing the tunnel, and as part of that cooperation also the tunnel's potential cost and timelines of construction have been looked into. Considering that the assessment of the environmental impact would take 5-6 years and construction could start in 2025 at the earliest, the tunnel could be completed in about 2040.
Therefore, there were questions at the meeting from the Estonian side as regards the timelines of the FinEst Bay Area project led by Vesterbacka. Their plan is to have to tunnel ready in about five years, by 2024.
At the same time, a joint analysis conducted with Finland shows that planning and the environmental impact assessment would take at least as long.