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Augulis: there are approximately 4,000 km of unused roads in Latvia

Uldis Augulis/flickr.com/Saeima.
There are approximately 4,000 km of roads in Latvia that are practically unused for transport, said Latvian Transport Minister Uldis Augulis in an interview to 900 seconds programme to LNT on 9 November.

He says most of those roads are local and municipal roads. With that, maintenance intensity will be reduced for those roads. «It would be nice if we could maintain roads leading to forests to accommodate mushroom gatherers. Unfortunately, we cannot afford it,» said the minister.

Maintenance intensity for approximately 200 km of roads used very intensely, on the other hand, will be increased. This means it will be possible to clear those roads of snow more often in winter.

Augulis agrees that the state of roads in Latvia is unsatisfactory. Estimated funding deficit for road maintenance is approximately EUR 4 billion. But because the country has many different needs, it is not possible to allocate more money for road maintenance.

The minister says that next year’s plan includes the allocation of EUR 25 million for road repairs. This money will be provided for regional roads to help reconstruct approximately 300 km of regional roads. This year’s funding is only EUR 9 million.

According to Augulis, additional finances will be allocated in future years. «If we maintain this level [of road funding] for a lengthy period, we will be able to progress forward very quickly,» said the minister.

On Thursday, 9 November, Augulis will host a meeting of the Road Council, during which results and conclusions from the Latvian roads survey will be presented for the first time.

The assessment of the country’s road network was performed following Augulis’ initiative. It was performed by Latvian State Roads and Jāņa seta. The meeting plans to hold a discussion about conclusions made about results of the survey and propose solutions.

Augulis says the survey will serve as an important tool for future strategic planning.

Also the council meeting will report on planned state road repairs in 2018, including the allocation of funding of EUR 25.6 million for maintenance of local state roads.


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