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2006-08-31
Author: Category: Press release

Bridge or no bridge

The exact title should actually be ‘fixed link or no fixed link’, but people still prefer to call it ‘the bridge’. And when people talk about a permanent connection, it is a bridge they have in mind. A tunnel has its advantages, but islanders who are used to beautiful seascapes, are somewhat apprehensive to the idea that they have to enter a dark tunnel under the sea to get home.

The necessity of a fixed link is still under discussion. Although several opinion polls have shown a majority of people supporting a permanent connection between the mainland and Muhu Island, the number of people who doubt the benefits of a fixed link is also on the rise. Most tourists are probably indifferent in this matter, once they have decided to come to the island they will come – regardless of the time it takes. Those who once saw the bridges as a new business opportunity on the island have already made their choice: they have moved their business to the mainland, closed it or arranged their activities so they don’t have to depend on the ferry schedule.

Those who worry the least – bridge or no bridge – are those who manage to work at home on their computer, as their Internet connection lets them accomplish their work much quicker than any bridge.

The issue of a bridge or tunnel continues to be a hot topic. It will be interesting to see how the issue changes and what new aspects emerge over time. It is difficult, in our rapidly changing world, to predict today what people might think in ten years.

Do you consider a fixed link essential between the mainland and the island?

Tullio Liblik, entrepreneur: a permanent connection is absolutely essential and every real Saaremaa patriot is in agreement. I see no downside. All emotions and processes connected with the bridge are positive. It is either a bridge or a tunnel, but the construction has to start right away and immediately.

Vjatšeslav Leedo, entrepreneur
: I don’t think about it at all. I don’t know if it is necessary because there is connection. For mw a fixed link would be something like a transponder – you dematerialize in one place and rematerialize in another. Such a fixed link would be something else! What kind of permanent connection is a bridge or a tunnel? Under certain circumstances they are closed as well.

Maret Maripuu, member of the Riigikogu
: I support the idea oh the permanent Muhu Bridge connection, because one end f the bridge will be on Muhu Island. All my weekends and free time every summer is connected with Muhu Island and while queuing up for the ferry connection I see how complicated the service is and that is why I am in favour of a permanent connection that would open greater opportunities for development of the island. It is feared that a permanent connection would cause overpopulation and turn Muhu into a transit corridor, but I would not consider that a real threat.

Ivo Linna, a Muhu summer islander
: I am not against or in favour of it, although it cross the straight more than the average citizen – at least 50 times a year. It would be simpler to use a tunnel or a bridge, but the ferry crossing is a very nice ritual. Besides, no-one can foresee the consequences of growing throngs of tourists visiting Saaremaa causing it to lose its wilderness, becoming a well-planned tourist village – that is why I dread a permanent connection.

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