Luumäki–Imatra rail project

About the client and project

The Luumäki–Imatra rail freight project comprises two components. One of them focuses on the maintenance backlog of the bridges along the Karelian railway (€24 million), while the other one comprises measures targeting the Luumäki–Imatra freight railway (€165 million). The project’s client is the Finnish Transport Agency, with Tommi Rosenvall as the project director. The project manager for the Karelian railway bridges is Joonas Hämäläinen of the Finnish Transport Agency.

The Karelian railway bridge project encompasses three deteriorating railway bridges: the Saimaa Canal railway bridge (including the Pontus underpass), the underpass on the old Highway 6 and the Mansikkakoski railway bridge. The Saimaa Canal and the Mansikkakoski bridges will be replaced with new double-track railway bridges, which will be built alongside the old bridges. The underpass for the old Highway 6 will be constructed as a double-track, laterally erected, prefabricated bridge.

The Luumäki–Imatra railway project comprises the construction of a double-track section (ca. 20 km) between Joutseno and Imatra and the overhaul of the railway section between Luumäki and Imatra (ca. 55 km). Work on the project site will include developing the Lauritsala and Törölä traffic nodes and improving noise control. The traffic node in Rauha will be dismantled and a new node will be built in Muukko. At the Imatra traffic centre, the southern platform will be renewed in connection with the construction of the double track. Several crossovers will be built on the project site, safety devices will be renewed on the Luumäki–Lappeenranta section and the existing safety devices on the Lappeenranta–Imatra section will be modified to satisfy the requirements of the double track. Modifications required for electric railways will be carried out throughout the project site. Improvements will be made to 22 bridges. Some of the bridges will be constructed along the new track, some will be built as new double-track bridges, a few will be widened and some will be demolished. 

The goal is to improve the service level of passenger traffic and the operating conditions of freight traffic as well as to promote the development of conditions for passenger and freight traffic between Finland and Russia. The project will also boost traffic safety and reduce noise disturbance. The design and implementation of the entire project will be based on digital building information models.

The project was launched in autumn 2016 and will be completed by the end of 2022.

Challenges and problems involved

The project includes two bridges that are technically demanding in terms of both design and construction. Once completed, the railway bridge crossing the Saimaa Canal will span over 200 meters. It will be built south of the existing railway bridge in 2018 and 2019. The old bridge will be dismantled later, once rail traffic can be transferred to the new bridge in connection with the overhaul.

The other challenging bridge structure is the Mansikkakoski railway bridge that crosses the Vuoksi river near the Imatra traffic centre. It will also stretch over 200 meters when completed. The rapid current of the Vuoksi river will introduce additional challenges to the design and construction of the bridge. Hydropower plants are located both north and south of the Vuoksi. The Mansikkakoski railway bridge will be constructed in 2018 and 2019.

The Luumäki–Imatra section is one of Finland’s busiest single-track railway sections. Additional challenges to safely coordinating and carrying out the construction work will come from the need to take both passenger and freight traffic into account during the project and having to work close to a track in active use.

Delays in the railway plan have made it difficult to initiate design assignments. Furthermore, the cost estimate drawn up in connection with the railway plan will pose great challenges regarding adherence to the project budget.

Welado’s solutions

Welado’s assignment is to serve as a construction management consultant for the Luumäki–Imatra freight project. Among other things, the company will be in charge of the procurement, design commissioning, construction and supervision of project assignments. It will also serve as the project’s safety coordinator.

Welado and the client have jointly planned each procurement procedure and specified the procurement package for competitive tendering regarding individual design assignments and contracts. The goal is to get the best designers and most professional constructors to work on the project.

Welado’s professional project organisation will ensure the achievement of the project’s goals through stringent supervision of schedules and costs, competent and participatory design control and professional site supervision, which takes advantage of modern quality control tools at all stages. Safety will be emphasised throughout the project.


The design process for the Saimaa Canal railway bridge and the Pontus underpass has begun. Competitive tendering is underway for the construction design assignments of the Mansikkakoski railway bridge and the old Highway 6 underpass. Measurements and site investigations have already been performed for the bridges described herein, but much still remains to be done. Follow our joint journey to evaluate our success.

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