The building of the West Metro has reached the halfway mark. Excavation of the tunnels began in Espoo and Helsinki simultaneously in 2010. Now, 71% of the excavation work – nearly 20 km of tunnel – has been completed. The first construction contracts will be launched before the New Year, and the metro line is scheduled to be opened for traffic at the end of 2015.
A literal breakthrough was celebrated today at the border between Espoo and Helsinki as the tunnels excavated at two West Metro sites were joined into continuous tunnels. The city leaders who spoke on the occasion emphasised the importance of the West Metro to public transport and competitiveness in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
“In the near future, Espoo will see some EUR 4 to 5 billion in private and public funding invested in the T3 area alone, formed by Otaniemi, Keilaniemi and Tapiola. These investments will go towards housing, services, university campus facilities, office space and a denser urban structure. Urheilupuisto will be developed as an attractive sports centre, and the area around Matinkylä station is set to become a significant cluster of private and public services,” said Jukka Mäkelä, Mayor of Espoo.
Mäkelä noted that a decision to extend the West Metro to Kivenlahti should be made as a matter of urgency.
“In the future, all five local centres in Espoo will be located along the suburban rail line or the metro line and will be developed as individually profiled centres for housing, services and jobs,” said Mäkelä.
Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki, pointed out that it is already 30 years since the metro was first opened to passengers.
“We are moving towards a new transport milestone. The metro is becoming a regional transport system. We have already pooled our regional transport under a single authority. At the same time, we are developing the city as a user-oriented experience where public transport is a key element. New, intelligent transport solutions challenge our established procedures every day,” said Jussi Pajunen.
Rami Metsäpelto, interim Director General of the Finnish Transport Agency, emphasised the importance of cooperation.
“Mutual trust between actors and free thinking facilitate the emergence of innovations. Broad-based cooperation in the planning and implementation of transport system services is crucial. Such broad-based cooperation has been pursued in regional transport planning in the Helsinki metropolitan area for a long time. The West Metro is a fine example of a new dimension in transport policy. The local planners, land use planners and transport planners in both cities have worked closely together. The metro is a long-term project whose benefits will not be reaped until many years from now,” said Rami Metsäpelto on the occasion.
Olavi Louko, Chairman of the Board of Länsimetro Oy, tel. 050 060 7754
Matti Kokkinen, CEO of Länsimetro Oy, tel. 050 347 1558
Pictures from the linking of the tunnels
Länsimetro Oy is a company jointly owned by the Cities of Espoo and Helsinki, tasked with building the West Metro underground line from Ruoholahti to Matinkylä. The company was established in 2007. The Länsimetro offices are situated in Tapiola, Espoo.