People of Jelgava unhappy with state of roads

With the influx of EU funds, Jelgava - the fourth largest city in Latvia - has largely shed its reputation for a sorry state of roads. However, just 120 km out of the city's 260-km road network are covered with a hard surface while the rest have a gravel surface and some vehicle paths are just grooves in the soil.

The situation, which is exacerbated by the fact that just €130,000 are earmarked to maintain gravel roads in the €62m city budget, has prompted locals to stage protest action. 

Jelgava vice-mayor Jurijs Strods says that the city has no money to asphalt the side streets. "We have no money, just like the rest of the state. We're no different in this regard," he told Latvian Radio.

One of such side streets is Vangaļu ceļš that stretches for about a kilometer and has about a dozen houses.

Three years ago people living on this street started discussions with the Jelgava City Council, with Gatis Auziņš, a man living on Vangaļu ceļš, saying that the street needs lighting, a better road, a crosswalk and a ditch system.

People living there protested against the sorry state of their street prior to the previous municipal election, and some action did follow suit, Auziņš revealed.

The street was eventually covered with crushed asphalt obtained from rebuilding main streets.

However dust is rising from the street, which locals think would cost just around €18,000 to sort out. 

Most recently locals are on the verge of protest because of perceived preferential treatment as the street with the house of the engineer responsible for the city roads lives on was just recently paved with chipseal.

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