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First large STH railway tender. Environmental surveys related to the 10 ‘spokes’.

The Solidarity Transport Hub enterprise has announced a call for tenders in respect of so-called environmental surveys for the purposes of prospective railway lines leading to and from the new airport and Warsaw. The contract will be signed in autumn. The estimated value of the contract is over 26,000,000 PLN.

The purpose of an environmental survey is to identify any protected, rare or endangered components of the environment in areas earmarked for future capital works projects. The results of environmental surveys are one of the constituent parts that need to be undertaken as part of the environmental procedure, which precedes the issuance of a construction permit.

The STH enterprise intends to choose six contractors as a result of the ongoing procedure, with whom it will enter into five-year framework contracts this autumn. The selected companies will then compete for partial contracts awarded by the enterprise. Specific contracts for environmental surveys as part of the STH Railway Programme will be awarded to the company who offers the best price.

Mikołaj Wild, a Government Representative for the STH, stresses that an environmental survey will first be carried out in the area where the Warsaw – STH – Łódź high-speed rail line is scheduled for construction. Future surveys will be conducted depending on existing needs related to capital works projects (in line with the progress in works related to preparations for the construction of additional lines).

Environmental surveys are the first call for tenders related to the railway component organised by the enterprise. Our objective as part of the so-called stage zero, scheduled to be completed prior to the opening of the Solidarity Airport, is to construct 140 kilometres of new railway lines, primarily the Warsaw – STH – Łódź line. Ultimately, we plan to construct 1,600 kilometres of new lines connecting the STHandWarsaw with 10 various directions

said Piotr Malepszak, acting CEO of the STH.

The STH enterprise estimates that the total maximum area subject to environmental surveys to be conducted under the contract is 220,000 hectares. Survey areas under a single separate contract will be at least 900 hectares and may be located anywhere across the country. During the first stage of the survey, contractors will carry out studies and, later, on-field surveys and environmental analyses.

The results of environmental surveys will be attached to the environmental impact report, which will be submitted to the Regional Environmental Protection Authority (to the Head of the Competent) together with an application for the issuance of an environmental permit. Preparations for the project will also involve obtaining a decision on the location of the project and, later, on a construction permit.  

Each of the 10 railway ‘spokes’ leading to the STH will comprise new sections of the rail network to be constructed by the STH enterprise as well as repaired or modernised components of the existing infrastructure administrated by PKP PLK. On the 29th of April this year, the government adopted a regulation pursuant to which each of the new sections of rail lines that trains will travel on to the STH and Warsaw was included in the list of railway lines of national significance.

The total length of railway lines in Poland is currently over 19,000 kilometres. Over 5,000 kilometres of railway has been ‘retired’ from service since the early 1990s. New lines are required as no large-scale projects involving the construction of railway routes have been undertaken in Poland since the 1980s, when the Wide Gauge Steel Mill Line was completed and the Central Railway Line before that. The STH Programme is the first comprehensive programme for the construction of a new rail infrastructure since that time.

In July, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, issued a decision to grant the STH enterprise additional funding in the amount of 300,000,000 PLN as a result of the State Treasury’s acquisition of additional shares in the enterprise. In the government’s opinion, the STH is not only a project of strategic importance to Poland’s development, but also a profitable investment. According to a report drawn up by PwC in April of this year, the growth potential of the Polish airline market is one of the largest in Europe and the construction of a hub near Warsaw is viable based on factors such as the projected traffic and expected rate of return. According to an analysis by Baker McKenzie and Polityka Insight from May of this year, the construction of the STH may result in a growth of Poland’s GDP by 4% to 7%.

Mikołaj Wild Piotr Malepszak Program Kolejowy CPK Press release