In 1997, a project was initiated under the leadership of the Saare County Government to explain the technical and economic possibilities for establishing a permanent connection between the Saare county (Muhu island) and the mainland.
In the same year, the "Silla" conference was held, which resulted in the commissioning of a county governor and representatives of various ministries, institutions, county government, the national assembly and others.
The Big Strait project has found a vibrant interest in a number of foreign countries - Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Japan. Several necessary research activities have already been carried out and started.
The Commission has presented its views:
- Establishment of a permanent connection (silla) to connect Muhu and Saaremaa to the mainland is a real project if compared to existing fixed or transported projects already in construction in our neighboring countries.
- The length of the bridge should be about 4 km. An alternative tunnel would be slightly longer. The support options for the bridgeheads are good and the depths of the water are reasonable.
- The construction costs of the bridge amount to approximately EUR 100 million, or 1.6 billion kroons. The cost of building a tunnel may be even lower than the soil would be sufficiently suitable. As there are approximately 40,000 inhabitants on the island, an investment of 2 500 EUR per capita would be spent on the islands.
- In fact, the construction of the bridge in the Estonian society is much more widespread, as it would be used by a large number of people living on the islands with summer homes, members of island families who live and work on the continent, but for family reasons often visit islands, as well as southern Hiiumaa, for whom it would be an alternative transport option.
- In Finland, the construction of a 1,100-meter long bridge was recently completed, linking the island of Raippaluoto with the mainland. The island employs 2,000 people. Considering the cost of this bridge per inhabitant, this is five times higher than for the Saaremaa bridge.
- The Swedish state built the Öland Island as a bridge connecting the continent already in 1972. The length of the bridge is 6 km. There are about 20,000 inhabitants in Öland, and the construction of the bridge stopped the emigration of the people from the island, and raised the number of passengers six times.
- The current connection with the islands was paid to the state in 1998 40 million kroons, while the ferry users paid even more for the service. The state support for 2005 has been planned to reach 90 million kroons. According to the survey carried out by TUT, 88% of today's users of services would prefer a fixed connection, even if they would have to pay the same amount as a ferry overflow.
- The construction of Saaremaa Fixed Link could start sooner than 5 years. According to preliminary estimates, the bridge could be profitable if it is attractive to foreign investors and the construction would take place through international financing.
- The Norwegian Road Administration has drawn up a report on the connection with the Great Strait, which also looks at the tunnel variant, as well as their conclusions and recommendations.
85% of the islands support the fixed connection
Muhulas made their bridge commission
A fixed connection is decided by 500 young men
Permanent connection inquiry will be coming soon
The Minister of the Region sees the bridge by 2010
The emeritus professor built a model of the bridge between Muhu and the mainland
The construction of the Saaremaa bridge will soon reach the coalition