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Mon December 04 2023

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Besix team lands €430m Latvian rail contract

4 Jun 19 A team of Besix and Sia Rere Būve has won a €430m (£380m) design-build contract for a new station in Latvia, as part of a €5bn rail project to connect the Baltic states.

The Rail Baltica Central Station project in Riga includes the new central station building as well as a major railway bridge on the Daugava River, the railway embankments and track works. Work is financed by the European Union and the republic of Latvia and the contract was awarded by Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas (EDzL), an executive agency of the Latvian Ministry of Transport.

The project is part of the €5bn, 870km Rail Baltica project, which will integrate the Baltic States into the European rail network and connect the cities of Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius and Warsaw. Historically, the Baltic states have been part of a west-east rail corridor using a 1520mm track gauge instead of the European rail network’s 1435mm gauge.

The Central Station building has an area of 12,600m² and consists in a long-span steel structure with a 2,100m² glazed roof. The works also include the passenger platforms, the renovation of the existing station building, pedestrian tunnels, the junction between Timoteja and Elizabetes streets and associated demolition works.

The new railway bridge, which will have a total length of 1,056m, will be installed next to the existing one over the Daugava River. It has been designed to be slender, to blend in with the architecture of the city. Its construction includes embankments, emergency access and safety barriers as well as the improvement of adjacent areas.

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The joint venture will also install new rails and a new catenary system over a 2.5km distance within the city. The installation of the new rails involves the reconstruction of the 1,520mm-gauge track as well as the construction of 1,435mm-gauge infrastructure complying with the European rail network standard.

Besix said that the project presents challenges and a high degree of complexity. The plan is to integrate construction methodologies at the design stage in order to minimise difficulties during execution. In addition to the constraints imposed by the urban environment - such as limited working areas - the project also needs to be divided into several phases so that the station, adjacent roads and public transport lines can remain in operation at all times while the two different rail gauge systems are combined.

The work is due for completion in 2026.

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