Outlook for better roads: bumpy

A number of experts state that the outlook for better roads in Latvia is rather dire. One of the arguments is that Latvia is not rich enough to build high quality roads suitable for speeding at 200 km/h, said Tālivaldis Vectirāns, head of the Road Transport Department of the Transportation Ministry, in a Latvian Radio broadcast Krustpunktā (At the crossroads).

Vectirāns thinks that Latvia cannot afford building roads like in, for example, Germany, where they've been built with speed in mind, so Latvian drivers should drive according to the speed limit - 90 km/h on most roads.

At the same time, Andris Bērziņš, head of the Latvian Road Builder association, said that the funding for road maintenance and building will be cut by EUR 47 mln next year, which won't allow for proper maintenance of the roads.

He also offered his opinion about the numerous crashes on the recently reconstructed roads, saying that the 'human factor' is at fault, saying in effect that Latvian drivers have not been used to driving on good roads, hence they're speeding. At the same time, he said that lack of funding will be detrimental to road safety, as there'll be lack of barriers by forests and markings on the roads.

Aino Salmiņš, Adviser on Technical Issues in the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, took a rather ironical stance by saying that municipalities won't be worrying about car crashes on the renovated roads as no EU funding has been received for their maintenance.

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