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Tue June 15 2021

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Rail Baltica seeks help finding UXO

18 May Bids are being invited the identification of unexploded ordnance (UXO) across a 4ha former military area that is on the route of Rail Baltica project in Latvia.

The Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail AS has launched the procurement with aim of identifying UXO and carrying out geotechnical works in the former Cekule military area. The contaminated area, which is approximately 20km from Riga, is planned to be used for the Vangaži-Salaspils-Misa secton of Rail Baltica’s main line.

The Cekule area is where warehouses of the Latvian National Armed Forces were located in 1920s. During WWII, the warehouses were blown up, scattering the munition throughout the area. Later, the area was backfilled with about 1m-2m of soil to make it safer. The area saw continual military use up until the USSR army left the Latvian territory in the 1990s.

The territory is now covered by trees and underbrush, and according to local planning documents is considered as a forest area. The Latvian National Armed Forces are gradually cleaning the territory by carrying out explosive ordinance disposal training. The proposed Rail Baltica railway line crosses the eastern part of this area, where previous scanning efforts have detected approximately one to 10 possible UXOs per 100m2.

Currently, the land plot is considered to be dangerous, and no geotechnical investigation works can be carried out until the territory is cleaned.

Magnetometer, gradiometer and geo-electrical survey methods will be used to identify the UXOs. The magnetometer and gradiometer measure the earth’s magnetic field and detect changes in it due to the presence of metallic objects in the ground. The gradiometer measures the change in the field, increasing the accuracy of the magnetometer. The mapping must be done with an individual, mobile equipment, but in larger areas there is a possibility to use a drone.

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The aim is to identify magnetic field anomalies with an accuracy of up to 10mm.

After mapping the UXOs, it will be possible to assess the resources and time required for the territory clearance needed ahead of the geotechnical investigations.

The territory to be addressed under the works being procured is approximately 4ha, while a territory up to 10 times larger will be cleaned as part of the construction works.

The activity is being financed by the EU Connecting Europe Facility and the Latvian state budget.

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