Dozens of bridges of Latvia in questionable condition

Last year the State Audit Office found that many local governments are unaware of the bad conditions their bridges are in. Since then, municipalities have been tasked with identifying the situation and prioritizing the work to be done, but it is not easy to find funds for that purpose, Latvian regional television ReTV reported June 8.

Last year, the state audit said 85 bridges are questionable. For example, the Smiltene municipality has around 30 such bridges, and they would be repaired by priority order. Evija Zurģe, deputy executive director of the municipality of Smiltene, said that this year's budget has three bridges in planning.

Meanwhile, Mayor of Madona municipality Aigars Šķēls said that the main problem is the rapid rise in construction costs, and many plans have to be greatly recalculated. The State grant for the maintenance of municipal roads does not cover all needs.

The State audit representative, ReTV, explained that the recommendations for the control of the audited municipality are being implemented within the time limits. The rise in construction costs will encourage municipalities to further assess how to manage their infrastructure, said member of the State Audit Office Edgars Korčagins. 

“This is why we call on municipalities to assess the priorities, to understand which bridges are worth maintaining and investing the often scarce resources of local governments, and which may indeed wait.”

Korčagins said that as construction costs rise, municipalities should also review other cost positions and possibly find savings in one of them. Currently, state audit is assessing municipality efficiency in spending their resources after the administrative-territorial reform of 2020.

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