Minister of Transport and Communications Jaroslav Narkevič Assesses Progress of Kaunas City: “This is the Fastest Growing City”

The Minister of Transport and Communications Jaroslav Narkevič, who visited Kaunas, met with the Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis to discuss the most important infrastructure issues – implemented projects and planned large objects. According to the Minister, Kaunas, which has allocated a record amount of investments for city management this year with the help of the Government, can be considered as a clear leader in the whole country.

The south-eastern bypass from Kaunas Hydroelectric Power Plant to Ateities Highway, the Kėdainiai Bridge over the Nemunas and the future transport junction in Vilijampolė, at the intersection of Brasta, Jurbarkas and Neris embankment streets, are being designed. The heads of the Kaunas City Municipality presented these three most important projects for the future to the Minister of Transport and Communications J. Narkevič and his team who visited Kaunas on Thursday.

“As we drive through Kaunas, the changes and ongoing work can be clearly seen. The city invests twice as much as the state. This is impressive. In percentage terms, you are probably the leader in Lithuania. I think that Kaunas is the fastest growing city, cooperating well with the companies subordinated to our ministry”, the Minister of Transport and Communications welcomed the progress so far. Matijošaitis calculated that this year a record amount was allocated for the repair and renovation of Kaunas streets, pedestrian and bicycle paths – almost 40 million euros – about 28 million euros from city budget and 10 million provided by the government.

“When we came to work in Kaunas, only about 6 million euros a year were allocated for street repairs – the city was undeservedly abandoned. First, we made sure that the contractors and the municipal staff would know the numbers and understand the prices. When we negotiated the prices of the works, we ensured that the road workers would not have to move their equipment between the cities, but would be able to work continuously in Kaunas all seasons, said V. Matijošaitis. “I understand that the city looks like a large construction site at the moment, but that is because the entire administration team is working to implement the planned changes without delaying them.”

Kaunas City Mayor added that the streets in the city are not only smooth, but also neatly marked. Here he recalled the so-called diamonds, which had become a frequent subject of discussion, and noted that there had been no casualties at pedestrian crossings this year.

During the meeting, it was also discussed the accelerating revival of shipping in Lithuania, the initiatives of the Inland Waterways Directorate based in Kaunas, and the Rail Baltica project, which is of strategic importance to the city and the country as a whole.

Next year, it is planned to start the first stage of construction of the south-eastern bypass in Kaunas – a bypass from the Kaunas Hydroelectric Power Plant to Amaliai. In addition, Kaunas is continuing the design of the future bridge over the Nemunas in order to reduce construction costs. It would connect Vilijampolė at Kėdainių Street with Marvelė on the other side of the river. The city also continues to cultivate plans to implement a major project by radically changing the management of traffic flows at the P. Vileišis bridge in Vilijampolė – this will require approximately investment of 10 million euro.

The Minister promised to review possible sources of funding that would help to accelerate the development of projects of this scale: “Our priority is to pay attention to and further support active municipalities. We will look for opportunities to contribute to other ambitious projects in Kaunas, as it is clear that the city is doing well in implementing them.”

In addition to all the discussed projects and works, the issue of the Central Post Office in Kaunas under the Ministry of Transport and Communications was also touched upon. V. Matijošaitis reiterated the position of the city that an exceptional architectural object in Laisvės Avenue should be arranged and decorate the representative space of the city, but it would be irrational to use it to perform the functions of self-government.

During his working visit to Kaunas, J. Narkevič looked at one of the larger projects – the construction of a new bridge across the Neris on the A1 highway. After the meeting with the leaders of Kaunas city, the Minister of Transport and Communications visited the company “Kelių priežiūra”, which is of state importance.