The chief of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jarosław Kaczyński, led a ceremony in which officials symbolically completed the process of marking out the route for the project in the north of the country, a news agency reported.
Five metres deep, the 1.3 km canal between the Vistula Lagoon and Gdańsk Bay in the Baltic Sea is expected to be built by digging through the Vistula Spit, which separates the bay from the lagoon on Polish territory.
The aim is to allow deep-draught vessels to enter Poland’s Elbląg seaport without passing through the Strait of Baltiysk in Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.
The project is still waiting for an official building permit to be issued before it can get under way, Poland’s PAP news agency reported.
It quoted Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation Minister Marek Gróbarczyk as saying that design work had already been completed for the canal.
“Essentially, we can go ahead with the project while, of course, waiting for the final building permit decision,” Gróbarczyk said.
Kaczyński said that the decision to build a shipping canal through the Vistula Spit testified to Poland’s sovereignty as a nation, PAP reported.
Kaczyński in September said that the plan to build the canal showed that Russia, Poland’s former communist-era overlord, could no longer dictate to Warsaw what to do.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in late August said that his government had set aside funds for the project in the budget.
According to estimates last year, the project is expected to cost Poland PLN 880 million (EUR 208 million, USD 246 million) and be completed by 2022.