The investments of the Solidarity Transport Hub in the Łódź area are entering the next phase. STH is completing the documentation related to the application for a location decision concerning a high-speed tunnel in Łódź. For the Warsaw-STH-Łódź section, an investor option will be soon indicated.
The planned long-distance STH tunnel in Łódź is the most advanced of STH’s investments. The 4 km underground crossing already has an environmental decision and has entered the design phase in last November. In the first half of March, the company plans to receive the so-called programme and spatial concept of the tunnel, and a month later, to apply for the location decision (another important milestone).
According to the schedules, after obtaining the location decision in the fourth quarter of this year, the STH Company plans to submit – together with the complete building permit design and arrangements concerning, among others, the determination of work phases – an application for a building permit.
The construction of the Łódź-STH-Warsaw High-Speed Rail, which includes a tunnel in Łódź, is very good news for residents. All STH-related investments, including the construction of the Solidarity Airport, high-speed railway lines to Warsaw, Wrocław and Poznań and the widening of the A2 motorway, are a great development opportunity for Łódź and the entire voivodeship
Łódź, together with the region, will be one of the largest beneficiaries of the STH airport and railway investments. Thanks to them we will be able to travel from the voivodeship’s capital more often and faster to the largest cities in Poland, e.g. toWarsaw in 45 minutes (today it takes twice as long), and to Wrocław and Poznań in 1 hour 10 minutes (instead of the current 3 hours)
From the Solidarity Airport, it will be possible to travel by rail to Łódź at speeds of up to 250 km/h in just half an hour. Within the city, high-speed trains will stop at Łódź Fabryczna station. The tunnel exit to the surface is planned in the vicinity of the Retkinia housing estate and the existing railway line No. 14 (south-west of Łódź Kaliska). Further on, the route will lead towards Sieradz, past which it will fork towards Poznań and Wrocław (the line is called “Y” because of its shape). The STH Company signed an agreement for co-financing this task in December for the amount of around PLN 60 million from the EU’s CEF (“Connecting Europe”) instrument.
The STH tunnel is not the only underground railway crossing in Łódź. PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe constructs a tunnel for agglomeration traffic – also through Łódź Fabryczna, but the further route is different – three new railway stops will be built: Śródmieście, Polesie and Koziny. Then the PLK tunnel will fork: north to the Łódź Żabieniec station and south to the Łódź Kaliska station.
Feasibility studies (FS) are being developed according to schedule for the so-called STH spoke No. 9, i.e. the railway line that will connect Warsaw with Łódź, Poznań and Wrocław (the so-called Y). This stage is the most advanced for the 140-kilometre section between Warsaw and Łódź, for which planning works have been ongoing since the middle of last year.
To date, the proposed options have been consulted with local government authorities and residents from all the communes between Warsaw and Łódź through which they run. Nearly 19,000 opinions and comments have been submitted to the company and the FS contractor on this matter. It was in response to these that the STH Company developed corrections and detailed technical solutions (e.g. concerning the use of overpasses and tunnels).
Later this month, the second round of consultations i.e. information meetings – this time online – will begin, which will last until the end of March and during which residents will be able to see a number of options narrowed down to three and the technical solutions proposed for them. It precedes the identification of the so-called investor option, which the STH Company will submit with the application for an environmental decision in the first half of the year. The next stage is the preparation of construction documentation and the application for a location decision.
In the case of the more than 200-kilometre section between Łódź and Wrocław, consultations on the feasibility study are also progressing consistently. In this matter, detailed design solutions together with technical solutions are to be presented to residents at the turn of March and April – then the second stage of consultations will begin.
For the Łódzkie voivodeship, the STH investments mean the construction of 219 km of new railway lines by the STH Company and the modernisation of 305 km of existing railway lines by PKP PLK.
An inseparable part of the STH investment is the tasks the investor of which is the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways(GDDKiA). The government assumptions are that at the same time as the Solidarity Airport is opened, the A2 motorway will be widened from its junction with the A1 motorway to the border of Warsaw. From Łódź Północ interchange to Pruszków, the GDDKiA will build a third traffic lane, and on the section from Pruszków to Konotopa – a fourth traffic lane in each direction.
The GDDKiA already has the environmental decision. Market consultations with construction companies are currently ongoing for this investment. According to the GDDKiA schedules, the signing of the contract for design and construction is expected to take place in the turn of 2022 and 2023.
The STH Company is preparing the construction of 12 railway routes, including 10 so-called spokes, from various regions of Poland to Warsaw and the new airport. In total, there are 30 investment tasks and nearly 2000 km of new railway lines to be completed by the end of 2034.
STH is currently implementing 10 contracts for feasibility studies (FS) in different parts of Poland. They concern the following railway sections: Warsaw – Łódź, Łódź – Wrocław, Żarów – border with the Czech Republic, Sieradz – Poznań, Katowice – Ostrawa, Łętownia – Rzeszów, Zamość – Bełżec, Ostrołęka – Łomża – Giżycko, STH – Płock – Włocławek and STH railway junction. In total, preparatory works are already ongoing on 1,300 km.
The assumed annual capacity of the first stage of the Solidarity Airport, based on IATA forecasts, is 40 million passengers and 1 million tonnes of freight to be handled in the first stage on two parallel runways. In the airport part, the investment is at the stage of advanced environmental and field surveys, preparation of a master plan and purchase of real properties. In December last year, the company announced its preferred location of the airport. It covers a site of approximately 41 sq km north within the area of three communes: Baranów, Teresin and Wiskitki – on the northern side of the A2 motorway.