What lies beneath? LTV probes Jēkabpils' thin roads

Tales of roads being built that don't go as far as planned, or contain fewer lanes than they should, are a staple of jokes about corruption. But LTV's investigative show Forbidden Methods on March 19 uncovered what looks like an imaginative variation on the same theme: roads that are thinner than they should be.

Last year, the Forbidden Methods team took two core samples from the Bebra street neighborhood of the city, which had recently undergone resurfacing work carried out by the Ošukalns construction company, which is engaged on many projects nationwide.

Analysis of the samples showed that the road surface was less than half the stipulated depth. If the asphalt was laid out in the whole Bebra suburb in the same way, based on the prices of asphalt and the specifications of the works, the municipality of Jēkabpils could have overpaid by more than 170,000 euros, the show suggested.

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Publicly available documents say that asphalt should have covered ​​almost 20,000 square meters in two layers: one must be four centimeters thick and the other one six centimeters, making a total of 10 centimeters.

The two samples drilled by the investigating team showed that instead of 10 cm the depths were of just 4 cm and 5 cm.

In addition to being too thin, the samples were found to be of poor quality with layers not properly bound together and already breaking apart.

Mayor of Jēkabpils Raivis Ragainis defended the construction works, saying everything was in order - and the Ošukalns construction company, which has a 30 million euro turnover, also said the works carried out had been correct and questioned the means by which the show had obtained its samples.

"All construction works have been performed in accordance with the requirements specified in the Law, the competition regulations and in accordance with the rules defining the construction process, quality criteria and their verification. In addition, the entire process of construction of the entire facility is controlled by a building supervisor permanently located on the site," the company told Forbidden Methods. 

The completion of the renovation works in Bebra street (Beaver street) were recently celebrated with the unveiling of a large sculpture of that most diligent of construction workers, the beaver. As this photo gallery shows, a bear and tiger were also in attendance and the opening ceremony included a plaque from Ošukalns attesting to the fact that the renovation works were "Not just words" and some golden scissors to cut the ribbon.

Construction work on the project took place between July 2016 and November 2017 costing 2.8 million euros in total, including VAT.

 

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