KlaRa – Kokkola’s rail traffic and the city center area development project
KlaRa project combines several individual projects. When implemented, it will bring significant benefits especially to the business sector associated with the Kokkola Industrial Park, simplify the traffic and the functionality of the travel chains as well as promote the positive development of Kokkola's urban structure.
There is a crucial need for actions included in the KlaRa project. The Port of Kokkola, located in the Kokkola Industrial Park, is the third largest general port in Finland, which handles approximately 400 freight wagons every day. After the fairway dredging, the traffic to and from the harbor will increase further, but there is only one track for rail traffic.
Cargo traffic passes through the Kokkola railway station, which provides passenger traffic services to approximately 200 000 inhabitants. Faster connections will increase the attractiveness of rail travel, but the structure of the Kokkola railway station is far behind the requirements of modern times. There are no roofed shelters on the platforms, parking lots are overcrowded and travel chains complicated.
City growth, consecutively, poses challenges to the urban structure, as the expansion of the city to the southwest of the railway station is difficult without effective connections to the city center’s services.
Double track to the Port as key investment
In resolving the challenges described above, the key investment is the double track that will be constructed from the Kokkola railway station to the Port and the Industrial Park. Because of that, the second track of the main line can be fully utilized. Moreover, security in the heavily trafficked urban area will improve significantly as a result of over- and undercutting solutions related to track investment.
The double track leading from the city center to the Port will enable the development of the railway station and its vicinity. Passenger and cargo traffic will be provided with their own tracks, roofed shelters will be built for commuters as well as an access point facilitating travel by car, bus and train created.
The tunnel under the rail tracks will concentrate the urban structure by connecting the south and the north parts with each other. At the same time, it will accelerate the planned residential construction in the south. Furthermore, the new layout of the 4-laned road 8 is planned for the Kosila area.
Complete project planning has already been done. Cost of the overall project has been estimated at 50 million euros.
It is no longer possible to implement such a huge development project with the city's own resources. With the government being a key player in the region, it is important that the City of Kokkola and the government have a common will to complete the project. Then, step-by-step implementation of the entire project can begin as quickly as possible.