Road-builders warn of 'new Zolitūde disaster' if repairs are ignored

Latvia's notoriously bad roads don't look likely to get much better in the near future, with a group representing road builders criticising measures to be included in next year's budget as woefully inadequate, reports LSM.

  

The Association of Latvian Roadbuilders (LCB) said it was shocked that the government was not supporting any of the additional roadbuilding schemes proposed by the Transport Ministry in addition to the main budget allocation and that as a result the amount dedicated to roadbuilding in 2015 would fall short of the required level by nearly €49m.

"The LCB hopes that the Cabinet of Ministers is not laboring under the illusion that the roads will be repaired on a voluntary basis, like the annual litter collection campaign," the LCB said in its statement.

It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic"

If spending plans proceed in their current form, then several important projects will be shelved, the LCB warned, including a bypass for the busy Ķekava road south of Riga and emergency repairs to bridges after a Transport Ministry report last year identified that 148 out of 943 bridges were in a poor condition, 28 of them on major routes.

"Such conduct is absurd and wasteful, because... bridges will continue to deteriorate and become dangerous," LCB said.

Does there really have to be a new Zolitūde disaster in order to find the money?"

Regarding the Ķekava route, which currently sees a huge volume of traffic passing south towards the Lithuanian border right through the middle of the small but growing suburban town, the LCB said "less than a month ago" ministers had noted the importance of the bypass project but that it seemed already to have been forgotten.

The government budget does not even include a necessary €32m for general road repairs, the LCB claimed, despite the fact that such work was included in the government's founding declaration.

The government's claim that €184m will be spent on the roads next year was "not correct", the LCB said, as the majority of that amount would be spent on temporary "patching-up" of roads already in poor condition rather than genuine new roadbuilding.

The LCB represents the interests of 18 of Latvia's main road-building firms and contractors.

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Economy
Economy