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“Via Lietuva” launches this year’s military mobility projects: large-scale works planned around key military training areas

2024 05 23

In the context of the geopolitical situation, strengthening military mobility connections remains one of Europe’s priority objectives. This year, in order to ensure the smooth movement of military equipment in the country, “Via Lietuva” is going to invest almost EUR 140 million from the Government’s temporary solidarity contribution appropriations of banks in dual-purpose projects.

“Strengthening military mobility connections is a particular focus for us in the current context. This year, we have planned infrastructure upgrades alongside the country’s military training areas, we will continue the modernisation of the Via Baltica from Marijampolė to the Polish border, and intensive work is planned on the Vilnius-Kaunas-Klaipėda motorway. This is not only important for national security and the mobility of military personnel in the region, but also has a significant impact on the development of the country’s business and the convenience of the population,” said Marius Skuodis, Minister of Transport and Communications.

Currently, the funds of the Government’s temporary solidarity contribution of banks are used to build and ensure the cross-border movement of military capabilities and military Schengen in Lithuania. The use of the funds of the temporary solidarity contribution of banks for military mobility projects in Lithuania started last year, with a two-year commitment period.

The company responsible for the development of national roads, “Via Lietuva”, is planning the adaptation of the dual-purpose, military and civilian, road infrastructure.

“Given Lithuania’s geographical and geopolitical situation, it is important to make sure that the country’s technical road infrastructure is developed properly. In Lithuania, our troops, allied troops and special equipment need to move comfortably and quickly. By ensuring the long-term use of the road infrastructure even in difficult conditions, we contribute to enhancing the country’s security and promoting its economic prosperity. Within two years, 2023 and 2024, by using the funds of the temporary bank solidarity levy, we will have implemented projects of particular importance for the country’s security for more than EUR 291 million,” says Marius Švaikauskas, CEO at “Via Lietuva”.

This year, “Via Lietuva” has already planned and signed contracts for infrastructure upgrade works near all the country’s major military training areas. Procurement procedures for some of the planned projects are still ongoing. Military training areas are among the most important strategic military facilities in Lithuania. In order to ensure that all the planned works are carried out to the highest possible quality, “Via Lietuva” pays individual attention to the implementation of each infrastructure project of importance to the country’s national security.

In June, the 1st phase of construction work of the Jonava bypass will start. The Jonava bypass project is planned to be implemented in two phases, with the first phase to be completed early next year. The Jonava bypass will become a particularly important artery for the movement of NATO allied military equipment around the nearby Rukla training area. The cost of the first phase of the bypass is EUR 4.8 million including VAT.

This year, the intensive work in the vicinity of the Rūdnininkai training area that started last year is planned to continue. In total, more than 32 km of road sections will be upgraded around the training area, ensuring that heavy military equipment can be operated comfortably and without damaging the road infrastructure. Among the road sections to be upgraded are Pirčiupiai-Jašiūnai, Mikašiūnai-Rūdninkai, Ąžuolijai-Juodšiliai-Jašiūnai (the section up to the Jašiūnai railway station).

The work started last year at the Pabradė military training area will be actively continued this year. Currently, four road sections are being designed, with a total length of almost 20 km. Plans include upgrading the Pabradė-Meškerinė and Molėtai-Pabradė roads and adapting them to dual-purpose infrastructure.

Lithuania’s major traffic arteries are also crucial for ensuring the real functioning of military Schengen, which is why this year will see the continuation of the modernisation of the Via Baltica road from Marijampolė to the Lithuanian-Polish border. The longest section to be reconstructed, 16 km from Marijampolė to the village of Skardupiai, is scheduled for completion this year, while the final 12 km section, near the border, is scheduled for upgrading. In total, around EUR 80 million of investment is foreseen for the modernisation of the Via Baltica this year, from the banks’ temporary solidarity contribution budget approved for this year.

Intensive work also continues on the Vilnius-Kaunas-Klaipėda motorway, where part of the military mobility funds will be used for the reconstruction of the Kruna bridge, which is about to start (more than EUR 4 million of the military mobility funds). Last year, part of the temporary solidarity contribution from banks was invested in the reconstruction of the A. Meškinis bridge over the river Neris (EUR 18.2 million last year).

This year, as part of the development of the country’s road network infrastructure, not only dual-purpose road infrastructure works are already underway and planned to start. The most heavily trafficked and worst-quality road sections are being repaired throughout the country, with a particular focus on the country’s bridge and viaduct infrastructure. However, bridges on national roads remain a critical part of the infrastructure. Currently, there are 109 bridges in Lithuania of unsatisfactory quality, requiring EUR 470 million to be repaired. In 2024, over 30 bridges and viaducts will be upgraded.

Despite the lack of funds, “Via Lietuva” is making every effort to stabilise the condition of bridges in the country – in the absence of financial capacity to repair all bridges in poor condition at once, an individual technological solution is being sought for each of them, which would prolong the service life of the bridge.

Most of the bridges and viaducts in Lithuania were built more than 40 years ago, according to the construction solutions, traffic volumes and loads which were in force at the time, and which have increased more than tenfold in recent years.

This year, the budget of “Via Lithuania” includes EUR 583 million from the Road Maintenance and Development Programme (part of which is redistributed to municipalities), EUR 140 million from the budget for military mobility projects, and EUR 159 million from the European Union’s Structural Funds.

“Via Lietuva” manages more than 21,000 km of national roads, more than 1,500 bridges, viaducts, and tunnels and more than 5,000 km of footpaths and cycle paths. The company aims to ensure that the country’s road infrastructure is continuously developed, renewed and modernised, creating added value for the country and its residents, and becoming synonymous with positive change for visitors.