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New contract – first stage of the infrastructure on the south-eastern border

Today, on 12 May, the Police and Border Guard Board and the two contractors that will share the duties of performing the work, AS Merko Ehitus Eesti and AS GRK Infra, signed a contract for engineering and construction of the first stage of the infrastructure on the south-eastern border.

At the signing, the director general of the Police and Border Guard Board Elmar Vaher said that the land border construction programme had been prepared for more than five years, considering the best of the border guard’s experience in both Estonia and other EU member states as well the state of the art in ensuring border security. “Alongside clearing brush along the border, marking the border and engineering works, the signing of the construction contract is an important way stage for arriving at the start of actual construction, greater border security and Estonian security,” said Vaher.

Chairman of the management board of Merko Ehitus Estonia Ivo Volkov, who signed the contract on behalf of the consortium, said that the completion of the south-eastern borer infrastructure requires exceedingly precise planning in terms of the result and the work process. “The exceptional circumstances, challenging soil conditions and limited access to work sites that the border area involves make the project a challenging one, but it will impel us to rise to the occasion in building a project so important for Estonia,” he said.

“Strengthening border surveillance is a priority for the government and I am pleased to say that the understandings in the coalition agreement are beginning to be realized,” said Minister of the Interior Mart Helme. “Signing the border construction contract is an important step towards launching the construction along the eastern border as quickly as possible,” he added.

In the scope of the contract, infrastructure – gravel road and fences – will be built along a 23.5 km segment of the border in Võru County. The border segment to be constructed starts at the tri-country border point between Estonia, Latvia and Russia and ends on the southern shore of Lake Vanigõjärv in Tserebi Village 3.5 km north of the Luhamaa border checkpoint.

Technically and in terms of work organization; this is a project that requires extremely precise planning and solid preliminary work. The works must be performed in a narrow corridor with strict border regime rules. Part of the road must be supported on pontoons to cross a marshy area and the access conditions for construction machinery are very complicated. Due to the challenging conditions, the construction period must be long enough so that the more complicated border segments can be established over two winters while the ground is frozen.

The deadline for completion of the works is April 2023. The lead partner in performing the work is AS Merko Ehitus Eesti and the partner is GRK Infra.