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Constructing the fast lanes on main road 70 at the Niirala border station
Start date: Apr 30, 2004, End date: Aug 30, 2005 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Niirala-Värtsilä international border crossing location was opened during 1995 and has an annual processing capacity of 150,000–200,000 border crossers. Nearly 925,000 people crossed the border during 2003, and traveller traffic is expected to increase by 5–10 per cent annually during the next few years; therefore, the estimated volume during 2010 would be 1.3–1.6 million travellers. A significant proportion of the border traffic was heavy transport (wood transport), which is why the existing road structures had deteriorated. The investment project was intended to implement the construction of the fast lanes and lane signage for both the arriving (three lanes) and the departing (two lanes) light traffic lanes. In addition, the existing road structures were to be reinforced throughout the traffic area. The project would bring the light traffic lane arrangements at the Niirala border station up to the current border crossing regulation standards as well as the level required by EU’s border traffic practices. 50 percent of the project funding was received from the European Regional Development fund and 50 percent from the Finnish Road Administration. Achievements: The Niirala border station lane arrangement improvement work progressed as planned and included the additional lanes at the border crossing location in order to accommodate swifter border crossings. The work included the following structures: • A departing traffic lane with a length of 500 metres • An arriving traffic lane with a length of 580 metres • An additional departing traffic lane near the border with a length of 200 metres • A vehicle X-ray area at the border station, which included two lanes with a length of 100 metres each. The total combined road length was approximately 1.4 km. The road embankments and drainage were implemented as part of the project. The road construction work also included installing the cable piping needed for the traffic control system. The improvements to the lane arrangements were not complete when the project ended; however, the work had reached a level of completion that met the funding granted for the project. The road surfacing, traffic signage, fixed traffic control system and finishing work remained incomplete. These tasks were to be completed with separate additional funding granted for the project.
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