Roads are bad and will stay bad, says Latvian authority

With the planned funding, it will not be possible to improve the national road network in the coming years, Mārtiņš Lazdovskis, Chairman of the Board of the State Enterprise "Latvijas Valsts ceļi" (LVC), said at a road sector conference on April 19, Latvian Radio reports.

The main objective for the coming years will therefore be to maintain the level achieved in the last four or five years by carrying out resurfacing works and to keep the major regional centers accessible by roads with a sufficiently good surface.

Unfortunately, the roads that are currently in poor condition will remain so for a long time, as resurfacing cannot improve their condition.

As Mārtiņš Lazdovskis, Chairman of the LVC Board, stated, unfortunately, there will be fewer and fewer funds for routine road maintenance. However, for major projects, such as the Riga bypass, other sources of funding will have to be found.

"The public is increasingly demanding investment and spending in winter maintenance. We can no longer drive on a road covered with 1 centimeter of snow, we show it very heroically on social networks, which of course also puts pressure on us as road maintainers. The school reform will also require more resources in terms of winter road maintenance. This means that we have relatively little funding left for summer work, and we feel this especially on gravel roads," said Lazdovskis, pointing out that road conditions are suffering as a result of poor maintenance.

Last year, the last €13 million of European Union (EU) funds were invested in road construction. This year and next, the EU's Recovery and Resilience Mechanism will save the day with €47.2 million this year and €39.5 million in 2025.

Meanwhile, public capital investment in roads is planned at €125.1 million a year from 2025.

Around 450 kilometers of national roads are scheduled for various types of work this year. A total of €163 million of capital investment is planned for the national road network this year, including €47 million of projected Recovery and Resilience Facility funding.

The most extensive works will be carried out on 220 kilometers of regional roads and 159 kilometers of local roads. On the main national roads, work will cover 71 kilometers. The focus on national local and regional roads is due to the structure of the funding - this year, EUR 3 million more is available from the national budget for local mobility and for the implementation of the program to connect parish centers, LVC explained.

On the other hand, a large part of the investment in the country's regional roads is being made within the framework of the administrative-territorial reform.

Five bridges will be rebuilt and seven others demolished and rebuilt.

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