A bird's eye view of Mannerheimintie in downtown Helsinki, Source: Unsplash

Helsinki began a 2+ year renovation of its main boulevard, largest such project ever

Helsinki began a 2+ year renovation of its main boulevard, largest such project ever

Reportedly, Mannerheimintie still contains obsolete urban infrastructure from the start of the 20th century

At the start of this week, Helsinki authorities launched what has been described as the largest urban renovation project in the history of the Finnish capital. This concerns the revamping of the city’s main thoroughfare – the Mannerheimintie.

The authorities have warned residents to huddle up and get ready for some inconvenience in terms of traffic redirection, noise and dust as the whole renovation is expected to go on until the end of 2025. The overhaul work will unfold in two stages: first, the section between Postikatu and Runeberginkatu will be built, after which it will move to the section between Runeberginkatu and Reyolakakatu.

A facelift of Helsinki’s iconic thoroughfare

Mannerheimintie is a wide boulevard that crosses the city and is the address of many of Finland’s important buildings, such as the House of Parliament, the central office of the Finnish Post, the National Museum, the Helsinki Opera, Hotel Marski and Tilkka Military Hospital. Its name refers to Finland’s great hero and statesman Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, who was a president during the Second World War when Finland fought the Winter War (1939) to preserve its independence from a Soviet invasion.

It is steeped in history, however, and so is its municipal technology and that is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed – hence the renovation. Much of the sewage lines and cables were placed at the start of the 20th century. Reportedly, the street’s oldest water pipe dates back to 1877 and is still in use!

In the overhaul, the water pipes under the street, electric cables and other municipal technology, the tram tracks and the bridge over Baana will be renewed, and one-way bicycle lanes will be built.

The thoroughfare will be accessible at all times throughout the renovation but with only one lane in each direction. Congestion will likely be a problem, according to project manager Liisa Taskila.

"We hope that this will be a time when people switch to public transport when entering the city centre, wherever possible. It's worth considering alternative routes and whether it's really necessary to take your own car or whether you could hop on a bus or tram," she said, as quoted by Yle news agency.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU