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The Barents Freeway (KO445)
Funded by Kolarctic ENPI 2007-2013

Objective of the project

The project will contribute to optimization of the transport infrastructure development on the programme region. It will base on the common Barents Region Transport Strategy and respond to new challenges arising in the Arctic. The project will assist decision makers to form: - Common understanding of existing problems and future threats; - Common vision of objectives and opportunities; - Long term planning cooperation based on agreed priorities and solutions which will enhance launching of an optimization process of transport infrastucture development.

Main activities

The Barents Freeway project analysed and formulated elements for the development of the Joint Barents Region Transport Strategy. The work consisted of different stages. First, the analysis rested heavily on the extensive collection of information about global trends in transport markets. Second, the modern methods of transport modelling and strategy development were applied by professionals from all the four Barents countries. Third, detailed feasibility studies were carried out about four new railway corridors and one east-west aviation scheme. Altogether 5 pilot studies were carried out during the project: • The air taxi pilot study includes an overview of the aviation sector in the Barents region • The Salla – Kandalaksha Railway Pilot Study examines existing railway sections between Kemijärvi– Kelloselkä in Finland and Alakurtti - Ruchy Karelskye in Russia. The distance between two points of the Finnish and Russian railway networks is 80 kilometres. • The Nikel - Kirkenes Railway Pilot Study • The Kemijärvi – Kirkenes Railway Pilot Study • The Kolari – Svappavaara (Narvik) Railway Pilot Study


The project has built ways to enhance the transit potential of the Barents region. The fact that south-north routes dominate in the northern areas, because of the long history of transport system development, was known at the beginning of the project. All the Barents region states have traditionally had their own national strategies within the confines of the borders. These strategies still rely on the inertia of south-north thinking. The Barents Freeway project has set its target beyond those borders. The main outcome of the project "The Draft Barents Transport Strategy" aims to integrate the strategies across borders by creating a common approach to transport system development while relying on national objectives. Better integration of the Barents region transport network with the European TEN-T network has been highlighted, as well as the Eurasian road, rail and maritime corridors.

Basic information