The section runs from Kaunas in Lithuania to the border with Latvia. The overall €5bn (£4.2bn) Rail Baltica route will be 870km long. The 10-year project includes five European Union countries – Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and, indirectly, Finland.
The work has been completed by Spanish company Idom and Lithuania’s UAB Kelprojektas, which are responsible for the detailed technical design of the Kaunas-Ramygala section.
Antanas Širpūnas, head of RB Rail in Lithuania, said that all key geodesic, geological and geotechnical investigations have been completed for the section. “A total of 700 boreholes were drilled with more than 2,000 samples tested in the laboratory. Most of the wells were 10m and some of them even 25m deep.”
He said that thorough investigations were required in order to develop value engineering solutions for the project. “These solutions will be used to devise key construction elements for the most important infrastructure objects,” he said. The main structure in the section is a 1.4km-long railway bridge over the River Neris.
This section crosses five municipalities in Lithuania. Investigations were conducted across a 565-hectare area.
Value engineering solutions have been prepared for a 30km long section from Šveicarija to Žeimiai and from Žeimiai to Šėta. Designers were trying to find the best solutions for road and rail viaducts and animal passages. Elements were considered in relation to cost, technical, environmental and construction parameters.
The infrastructure will have to last for 100 years so it is being designed to be durable and to require as little maintenance as possible, said Širpūnas. “We are considering not only the composition of soil, adhering to the project design guidelines, but also making sure that the infrastructure is designed to tackle challenges posed by future climate change,” he said.
The designers will soon present the value engineering solutions to the public. Detailed technical design of this section and the section from Ramygala to Lithuanian-Latvian state border is due for completion in 2021.