Road reconstruction will help to attract investors


The reconstruction of the section of Via Baltica, one of the most intensive highways in the country, is planned to start next year. The section from Marijampolė to the Lithuanian-Polish border is planned to be reconstructed by the end of 2024. Reconstruction plans for this road are welcomed by the Marijampolė business community as the region’s attractiveness for new industrial investments grows.

Via Baltica leads in strategic directions

Today’s Via Baltica is a huge improvement over what it was three, four years ago or even earlier. The entire highway, especially the section from the Polish border to Kaunas, is one of busiest on the traffic load map. Thanks to the state’s strategic planning, development and investment, one of the busiest roads in Lithuania will be arranged and managed in such a way that it will be possible to drive safely at higher speeds or take turns only on viaducts; safety will be increased by green belts.

Via Baltica is strategically important for Lithuanian and international traffic. Further reconstruction of the section from Marijampolė to the border of Poland will soon advance, as we have allocated funding, a clear working plan and established work stages. 

The Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis.

Simonas Petrulis, director of the Baltic FEZ free economic zone near Marijampolė, emphasizes that a road that meets international infrastructure safety and traffic management standards is a very important shift, which is important not only for the economic development of the region, but also for the whole country.

“Most of the flow of both incoming and outgoing goods take place by road. The loading possibilities of Šeštokai, Mockava and Marijampolė railway stations are assessed, but the big junction, the big intersection of Lithuania is Kaunas and Palemonas. Strategic directions branch to the port, the capital and to the north, further to Latvia, Estonia, even Finland. On the other hand, when we look to the direction of Western Europe, the flows inevitably pass through the gates of Marijampolė. Here the significance of the Via Baltica is vital, and its development and safety at the crossroads of several levels, to my mind, really need to be addressed as soon as possible ”

Marijampole has its own practical insights

Reconstruction works of the Via Baltica section from Marijampolė to the Lithuanian-Polish border (from 56.83 to 97.06 km) will start in 2022. A strategic environmental assessment has already been carried out and a special plan for the reconstruction of this section has been approved. According to it, the road will be widened to have four lanes. Land acquisition procedures and design work are currently underway. This section, with a total length of 40.23 km, will be reconstructed in accordance with the requirements for motorways. The speed limit will be 130 km/h.

Following the reconstruction, safe two-level interchanges and roundabouts (at junction roads), junction roads parallel to the main road, and a new parking lot for heavy vehicles will be installed in this section. It is also planned to widen the existing or install new bridges over the rivers, and to build roadside noise barriers. The first section from Kaunas to the city of Marijampolė was reconstructed at the end of 2018.

“I have to represent Marijampolė, the industrial and logistics town, that has had its own opinion and practical insights for many decades. As a Marijampolė FEZ management company, we constantly have to communicate, listen, participate in municipal and regional development council meetings, and act as an interpreter or mediator between national, regional and international interlocutors”.

S. Petrulis.

Manufacturers that have invested in Marijampolė, such as Dovista, Juodeliai and Mantinga, generate a traffic of thousands of vehicles. They have their own strategic, development, export plans, delivery needs. Transport hubs, city entry or diversion of major flows by branches are relevant for major employers in the region.

Lithuania cannot be seen through the mountain of Polish interests

The stretch of the Via Baltica, which is being renovated, leads all the way to the Polish border. According to the director of Baltic FEZ, Lithuania’s neighboring country is both a region of opportunities and of a challenge. Poland has always been a strong lobbyist in the European Union and the European Commission. With a large internal market and a sufficiently low cost structure, Poland is making good use of its influence and bargaining power in speaking at the European Union’s round table.

“For many years, Poland has overshadowed the Baltic States and Lithuania, whose relationship with the rest of Western Europe is the most sensitive. Investors from Germany, the Netherlands and other developed Western countries have not crossed the metaphorical hill of Poland’s potential, lobbying and quick solutions going far to Europe, Brussels, Strasbourg. The great economies of Western Europe during that mound no longer saw any development opportunities in Lithuania or the country’s development itself. The impression was that Poland’s East was deliberately developed in the last place, assuming that it would only get worse further east. “

S. Petrulis

The director of FEZ, who has had a lot of communication with foreign investors, notices that they are often surprised when they land in Vilnius or Kaunas and see developed inner city, intercity road infrastructure, old towns, centers, business centers, railways and airports in Lithuania.

Convenient location for exporting producers

Marijampolė FEZ has large strategic development plans.

“Negotiations are underway with investors in the food and metal processing industry. For the most part, they are foreigners, as we are focused on the Scandinavian, German and Dutch markets, on the higher value-added producer, which is mostly (90 and more percent) ready and planning to export its products. Thus, our client is a sophisticated exporting manufacturer, for whom an infrastructurally and logistically convenient hub, which is located immediately upon entering or just before leaving Lithuania, is relevant, ”

S. Petrulis.

Reconstruction of the highway is a new reason for investors to start talking to the developers of the free economic zone closest to the Polish border. In cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and Innovation and the municipality, it is planned to cover about 20 ha of new areas in Marijampolė FEZ.

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