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Swan Bridge , Source: Trilog Studio / Parnu linn

Pärnu gives go-ahead to construction of Swan Bridge

Pärnu gives go-ahead to construction of Swan Bridge

The elegant and demanding structure will likely be completed in the summer of 2023

Pärnu City Government has issued a building permit for the Raba-Lai Bridge, otherwise known as Swan Bridge because of its elegant design reminiscent of the airy curves of a swimming white swan. The public tender will be launched in the coming weeks and the construction of the 364-metres-long bridge is expected to begin this autumn with completion date tentatively set for the summer of 2023.

"Words are followed by deeds. We are doing business so that construction can start soon," said Pärnu Mayor Romek Kosenkranius, as quoted by the city website. 

Dream come true

Residents of this Estonian seaside resort city have been dreaming of a third bridge for 20 years now. Last year, the architectural competition for the new bridge was won by Trilog Studio with their holistic design “Luik” (swan). The bridge’s architect and Pärnu native Mari-Liis Vunder told ERR she was inspired by the swans on Lake Zürich where she lived for nine years. Stricto Project OÜ is responsible for the engineering part of the project.  

The city will contribute EUR 10 million to the cost, but a lot more money is needed. So the city government has applied for additional EUR 8.6 million from the Cohesion Fund. Another EUR 8 million may come from next year's state budget, as the Estonian state traditionally supports local investments.

Coming next

After the completion of the Raba-Lai Bridge, in about five years the city government plans to overhaul the Downtown Bridge, expanding the pedestrian and bicycle paths along its edges and leaving two lanes for cars in the middle. 

Even though the old bridge will likely experience less traffic after Swan Bridge becomes operational, Downtown Bridge will not be entirely closed to motor vehicles, contrary to some press reports. Indeed, this has been one of the options discussed to make Pärnu city centre more pedestrian-friendly, but the traffic solution of Downtown Bridge and its surroundings will be decided after the completion of Swan Bridge, assures Mayor Kosenkranius.

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