The Monitoring Committee of Estonia – Latvia Programme approved three new strategic cross-border projects – reconstruction of Ape – Mõniste road, costal and maritime spatial planning and renovation of Valga / Valka Railway station – in its Tartu meeting on May 11, 2012. Implementation of all three projects is expected to start in a near future.
The total amount from European Regional Development Fund to be allocated to these projects via Estonia – Latvia Programme is 5 030 000 Euros. All together 6 strategic project ideas were submitted by Latvian and Estonian partners. The final decision on funding for other three projects has not been made yet. Following are descriptions of the three approved projects.
Ape-Mõniste road. Two important transport corridors in the South-East region in Estonia and Vidzeme region in Latvia are Pskov-Riga and Võru-Valga-Valmiera highways, which are actively used for haulage of goods in EU, West-East direction, and between South- Estonia and North-Latvia. These two roads are connected by Ape-Mõniste cross-border road, which is also the most direct connection between Võru/Põlva counties in Estonia and Vidzeme region in Latvia. Poor condition of roads sets limits for usage, especially for heavy trucks. The project aims to increase the competitiveness of the border regions through improving traffic possibilities and road infrastructure. As a result of the project 8,926 km of national roads in Estonia and 9,067 km of national roads in Latvia would be reconstructed according to the EU standards. The project would be implemented on the territory of Mõniste municipality (Võru county, Estonia) and Ape municipality (Vidzeme region, Latvia) jointly by project partners Estonian Road Administration and State Joint Stock Company “Latvian State Roads”. The road construction works are planned for spring – autumn 2013.
Costal and maritime spatial planning. The Costal and maritime spatial planning project aims to improve the integrated maritime and terrestrial governance in and around the Baltic Sea by upgrading legislation, implementing demonstration projects in coastal municipalities and promoting cooperation between Latvia and Estonia in maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management. A considerable amount of European Union's coastline is currently eroding despite the development of a wide range of measures to protect shorelines from eroding and flooding. The prospect of further sea level rise due to climate change and the heritage of mismanagement in the past imply that coastal erosion will be a growing concern in the future. Especially significant environmental hazards are threatening the sandy beaches which are typical for Baltic Sea Region in Latvia and Estonia sea shore. Over the three year period this project would be implemented by the Ministry of Interior, Pärnu county from Estonia and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Kurzeme Planning Region, Riga Planning Region from Latvia.
Valga Railway Station. The project aims to establish and reconstruct joint Estonian – Latvian transportation centre in Valga and create conditions to develop bus- and train traffic between Estonia and Latvia. Riga-Pskov railway line was officially opened in 1889 with Riga as main station, Pskov and Valga as second-class stations. The station building that stands there today was completed in 1949 after the World War II. Over the years the station building has been renovated little by little, depending on available finances, but there is a great need for full renovation. At present many Estonians and also Latvians are using in Valga railway junction, therefore it is very important to reconstruct Valga railway junctions as joint bus- and railway transportation centre of twin town of Valga and Valka and create decent conditions to all travellers. Unfortunately conditions for waiting passengers of Valga railway junctions are currently very modest. Besides the Railway station renovation, this project would also improve train – bus connections, improve joint ticket sales system, set up electronic information boards etc. The project would be implemented over two years by project partners Valga Municipality and Valka Municipality.
Picture: Ape – Mõniste road today.