Riga City Council apologizes for roadworks chaos

The Riga City Council has apologized for the chaos caused by the ongoing roadworks, saying things will be better next year. The council is above all criticized for the lack of proper safety precautions putting pedestrians in danger. 

"We apologize each day to city residents and visitors over these inconveniences. However it's impossible to change the paving without encumbering pedestrian traffic," said Riga Transport Department head Emīls Jakrins appearing on Latvian Radio August 30.

Construction companies are told each day, he said, that works should be made safe for people passing by. 

"As Rigans want construction objects to be more visually pleasing, next year ... we'll work out rules and write them into agreements with the next construction companies," Jakrins said.

He said that roads should be fixed by September 1 and pavements by September 15.

Construction companies have been handed a total twenty administrative fines for violations of construction law, the City Council said. 

Last autumn Jakrins' predecessor was sacked over the poor quality of roadworks, and some argue the same mistakes are made this year.

"The construction works ignore cabinet rules ... construction zones should be enclosed, as equipment is operating there and people that should wear helmets and vests. No one should be able to get inside there, but [this rule] is not complied with ... there should also be a temporary pedestrian lane if the existing one is blocked. They aren't setting these up too," architect and urban activist Oto Ozols told LTV. 

Locals are heatedly discussing the perceived lack of safety of the roadworks, and with pupils heading back to school the Riga City Council is surely to come under more flak should the roadworks still be taking place. 

"How are you planning to ensure the safety of parents and children on September 1 during the Riga street repairs, when pedestrians' safety regulations are principally ignored?!" one user wrote on Twitter.

The LTV story below shows how parts of Riga look during road repairs, with locals, including a woman with a pram, voicing fears for their safety. 

In a defiant move, urban activists on Friday had erected temporary barriers between pedestrians, motor traffic and the roadworks on a stretch of Brīvības st. but these were removed that same night.

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