THE Polish government has confirmed that a revised version of the ambitious Central Communication Port (CPK) project will go ahead after pausing the scheme earlier this year.

Plans for the proposed new hub airport, connected to major Polish population centres by 12 high-speed rail lines totalling 2000km, were put on hold in January after the incoming government, led by prime minister and former European Council president Mr Donald Tusk, requested an audit into the costs and scope of the project.

In the same month CPK CEO, Mr Mikołay Wild, was dismissed by the government’s CPK representative, Mr Maciej Lasek, and replaced in April by Mr Filip Czernicki.

Following completion of the audit, on June 26 Tusk and Lasek confirmed at a press conference, also attended by Mr Dariusz Klimczak, minister of infrastructure, and Mr Piotr Malepszak, deputy minister of infrastructure, that CPK will go ahead.

However, the scheme has been revised so that the new railways will form a country-wide high-speed network, rather than spokes connecting only to the airport hub. The aim of a journey time of under 1h 40min between major Polish cities and CPK has been retained.

The new central airport will be built in Baranów near Warsaw, and the first high-speed rail link to be completed will be the so-called “Y” Line that will connect Warsaw, Łódź, Poznań and Wrocław. The routes of some of the new lines have been revised to “drastically reduce” the amount of property that will be compulsorily purchased.

The construction schedule for the project has been revised substantially from the original 2028 opening date. A decision on the precise location of the new airport is expected by the end of this year, with confirmation of planning consent aimed for 2026 and construction due to be completed in 2031. The new airport is due to open in 2032.

Czernicki said that a tender for the construction of the high-speed rail tunnel in Łódź was being drafted, along with the tender documentation for the construction of the next sections of the high-speed line from Warsaw to Wrocław. “In the coming days, several contracts for design and preparatory works will be signed and further tenders for the execution of design works will be announced,” he added.

When completed, CPK is expected to handle 34 million passengers a year and cost Zlotys 131bn ($US 32.5bn) to build, according to the latest government projections.

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