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The reconstructed Riga-Vaksali traffic junction , Source: Tõnu Tunnel / tartu.ee

New traffic intersection voted Tartu Deed of the Year 2021

New traffic intersection voted Tartu Deed of the Year 2021

Residents picked Riga-Vaksali junction ahead of shortlisted contenders such as an Olympic fencing gold medal, a self-driving bus and weekly wastewater coronavirus surveys

Residents of Tartu, Estonia's second largest city, have chosen the reconstruction of the Riga-Vaksali traffic junction as Deed of the Year 2021.

The annual Tartu Deed of the Year competition is organized jointly by the Tartu City Government and Tartu Postimees daily newspaper. The 24th edition of the competition saw more than 4500 votes cast for the most important city projects, initiatives and achievements over the year.

Safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists

This year’s award was presented at an event in the Village of Light in Town Hall Square by the Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas and the Editor-in-Chief of Tartu Postimees Rannar Raba. Both men thanked the parties involved in the intersection's reconstruction and the rest of the most notable deeds of 2021.

The choice of residents was hardly a surprise for Mayor Urmas Klaas. “The Riga-Vaksali traffic junction was one of the most important road construction objects in Tartu in the past decade. It affects a large number of city residents, especially pedestrians and cyclists, who can now conveniently and safely cross this very busy intersection. The traffic junction has also gained attention due to the unique tunnelling technology employed, and its attractive appearance,” the Mayor said, as quoted by the city website.

The Riga-Vaksali junction was opened on 9 December after a thorough reconstruction which had commenced in April 2020. The aim of the overhaul of one of the busiest intersections in Tartu was to provide cyclists and pedestrians with safer and more convenient crossing options, as well as to increase the junction’s capacity. To this end, biking and pedestrian traffic tunnels were built on both sides of Riga Street, the road and the overhead railway viaduct were revamped, and a bridge for walking and cycling was built alongside the viaduct.

Shortlisted candidates

Other shortlisted candidates for Tartu Deed of the Year 2021 include:

  • The Tartu Vaccination Centre, which has set a good example for the whole of Estonia
  • The ULA snow bar
  • Weekly surveys of coronavirus levels in wastewater: an essential initiative for the whole of Estonia
  • Julia Beljajeva’s gold epee medal from the Tokyo Olympics
  • The Raatuse Health Centre
  • The Tartu Ministry of Climbing
  • New cafes along the banks of the Emajõgi River
  • A self-driving bus operating on the route between the City Museum and the Estonian National Museum.
  • Solaride, Estonia’s first solar car
  • The performance of Serafima and Bogdan at the Tartu New Theatre

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