Construction of the pilot of the eastern border barrier fence completed, implementation of the next stage underway
The eastern border barrier fence project has proceeded into the stage that the Finnish Border Guard has introduced the approximately three kilometres long barrier fence that was built during the pilot stage in Pelkola, Imatra. This stage was completed with a minor delay. The construction of the pilot fence was followed and analysed throughout the process. Experiences from this offer an excellent base for the construction of the next stage.
Despite the minor delays, the construction of the barrier fence progressed in good consensus with the contractor. Nothing that would endanger the border security was detected during the construction stage. On the basis of the barrier fence’s short operative testing period, it can be stated that the entity consisting of the road, the fence and the technical surveillance, represent modern border security. Patrols are able to move faster from one place to another in the area of the pilot fence. In addition, the new surveillance technique enables compilation of an extensive situation picture of the said area. Gradually, local wild animals have been accustomed to cope with the new fence entity and to take advantage of the fence’s gate solutions.
Conclusions from the construction of the pilot fence:
- The pilot was a successful, in fact, a necessary stage in a project of this scale. The construction of the pilot offered experiences and knowledge that can be used in the implementation of the other stages.
- Despite that the construction of the pilot stage was finished, the piloting of the use and maintenance of the barrier fence has only just begun.
- The barrier fence’s basic solution (fence, road, technical surveillance) was found to be good.
- The wire netting of the fence will be replaced by a denser one in the PRIO 1 stage, in order to slow down those trying to climb over or go through the fence.
- Several small details will be specified, i.a. direction of the electricity cables, gate structure in addition to the fastening of the wire netting of the fence and the cylindrical obstructions.
- In the future, more time shall be reserved for both construction preparations as well as the construction itself.
- The price level was approximately 2/3 of the budget, but only longer fence sequences will tell the final level of costs.
- The composition of the Finnish Border Guard’s internal project organisation and its tasks were deemed successful.
- It was stated that the external project management service was the right decision considering the project’s busy schedule, while still retaining the Finnish Border Guard’s decision-making powers.
- The project received plenty of attention in the media – especially in the international media.
The pilot stage included a lot more than just constructing the pilot fence in Pelkola. Information and experiences were also gained from the following matters:
- An environmental report was prepared on the entire barrier fence’s area. On the basis of the said report, the Southeast Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment decided that there is no need for an environmental impact assessment.
- Implementation plans for the target areas of PRIO 1 stage were drawn up.
- Procedures were created for taking out measurements in the terrain and to clear the barrier fence’s area out of trees.
- Procedures were created for consulting the landowners and for submitting the construction decisions.
- Grounds for paying compensations were drawn up.
- The Finnish Border Guard has paid the landowners in the area of the pilot fence the compensations for the construction.
At present, a barrier fence of approximately four kilometres is under construction in Salla. In connection to it, the construction of a road over wetlands is piloted by using concrete pontoons and by building a gravel road on a geonet. Preliminary results indicate that both solutions are viable. Experiences of their durability during different seasons are gained first later.
In the next stage (PRIO 1), the intention is to build 70 kilometres of barrier fence, in total, in 12 target areas. 55 kilometres of this shall be built in the area of the Southeast Finland Border Guard District, eight kilometres in the area of the North Karelia Border Guard District, five kilometres in the area of the Kainuu Border Guard District and two kilometres in the area of the Lapland Border Guard District. The procurement of acquisitions is underway. The intention is to commence the construction at the longest target areas in Southeast Finland (Vaalimaa, Vainikkala, Nuijamaa, Imatra) during the coming winter.
If you need further information, please contact Project Manager Ismo Kurki, e-mail: [email protected], telephone: +358 (0)295 420 411.
The project website
The eastern border barrier fence has its own site on our web pages, where we will update information on the progress of the project: The eastern border barrier fence | The Finnish Border Guard (raja.fi)