Helsinki–Riihimäki rail project
Finland is updating level crossings along railways in order to improve traffic safety. Residents on Linderintie are excited about the project, which will also protect children on their way to school.
We are building a railway project in the Mustio area of Raasepori, where the level crossing of train traffic is being converted into an underpass to improve traffic safety and for the upcoming electrical engineering of this section of the railway.
“There’s a school in the area, so schoolchildren will no longer have to cross the train tracks. The safety of other traffic will also improve at the same time. Our customer, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, intends to remove many level crossings in Finland in order to avoid unfortunate level-crossing accidents in the future,” says Production Manager Markus Malmivuori from YIT.
As part of the same project, we also built an underpass which meets the height requirements of special transport routes under a nearby bridge so that special transport can pass through the area even after the level connection has been removed. The road under the bridge was lowered by about 80 centimetres during the work.
Construction of the underpass bridge will begin in spring 2022. Snow has already been removed at the site to allow the frost to melt faster and work to start as planned in early April.
“We will dig an excavation for the underpass, then build the bridge, complete the train connection and let trains run along the bridge. We will simultaneously complete the work related to safety devices on the track. The work also includes street arrangements and work such as the road running under the bridge and linking it to existing roads. We will also move water supply, that is, clean water and sewage pipes, underneath the new road. Finally, we will landscape the old connection,” explains YIT Construction Manager Lauri Häkkinen.
In addition to the above, the work also includes a supporting wall to separate the pedestrian and bicycle route from the road and adding lighting on the new street.
The construction work also includes the construction of a passing loop for the duration of the work in order to ensure smooth train traffic. The passing loop will come into use immediately after the winter break, as everything besides the connection work was already finished in the autumn. A passing loop is an unusual solution in rail construction and brings an interesting addition to the project for railway construction professionals, who have been excited about it.
“The contract began quickly. We had a month to build the passing loop and lower the road before the winter break, but everything went very well,” Markus Malmivuori says.
A good team, accurate forward planning, work phasing and smooth collaboration with the customer led to rapid progress in a short time. Workdays were long at the construction site, but no shift work was required. A quick start before the winter gave the construction site the energy and passion to succeed.
“The weather does not impact the construction of a road, but it does have an impact on the passing loop. Together with the customer, we decided to wait with the finishing touches on the passing loop until spring, as winter came to Southern Finland relatively early,” Markus Malmivuori says.
During the winter break, plans were specified with the customer and detailed work planning was carried out for the work in the summer. Changes to the level crossing’s safety equipment were also prepared. Special attention was also paid to the availability of materials in order to get them to the site on time in the current world situation.
“Our strength in rail construction is in the work carried out in the railway area and its surroundings, as we are able to use our own equipment. We are able to carry out rail construction with our own equipment and manpower, including small-scale support work,” says Construction Manager Veli-Matti Aaltonen from YIT.
Particularly interesting for the railway team are railway projects that pass through growth centres where zoning and construction must be coordinated. YIT has the know-how to plan zoning in densely populated station areas and combine the wishes of various parties.
“Together with the city, we are able to plan zoning so that it will also please the infrastructure manager, that is, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. We understand construction that takes place in the key locations of growth centres, from both an administrative and technical point of view. It’s our particular strength, which we have because a big company is able to maintain extensive expertise,” Markus Malmivuori explains.
The aim is to increase the size of YIT’s railway construction so that large-scale projects can be implemented also in railway projects. YIT already has extensive experience in high-speed light rail projects in Helsinki and Tampere.
“I am satisfied with having such great expertise in the team. The customer and our partners are also clearly excited that we will continue rail construction with even more competence,” Veli-Matti Aaltonen says.
People living around the track in Mustio have been looking forward to the project and consider it a positive change. Improving road safety in the vicinity of the school has been a welcome change. The residents have been informed directly about the project by the construction site and the municipality on the municipality’s website, for example.
“Together with the municipality, we will actively communicate things such as new traffic routes as the work progresses. We will also visit the school to talk about our work and the fact that the construction site is a dangerous area, and there’s no reason to go there even if you are just passing through,” Lauri Häkkinen says.