The biggest challenge for mobility in Latvia is the large proportion of gravel roads in the country, said Chairman of Latvian State Roads Janis Lange during an annual road sector conference.
55% or more than 11,000 km of state roads have gravel surface. Nearly all of those roads are of local importance, with low traffic intensity and a large funding deficit, LSR mentions.
Gravel roads in Latvia have seen almost no investments over the past 25 years. Additionally, it is not allowed to invest EU funding in them. This is why there is now a situation in the country when the state roads network is doing well, while the rest are unable to provide residents with good mobility because of the fact that they have gone for so long without proper maintenance, experts says.
LSR also notes that a record-large funding amount will be allocated for gravel road maintenance this year. Funding is nearly four times larger than last year – EUR 35 million. This funding is supposed to help maintain 98 gravel roads in all of the country’s regions – 400 km in total. As a comparison – funding for road maintenance was EUR 2.8 million in 2014, EUR 3.7 million in 2015, EUR 8.9 million in 2016, and EUR 9.1 million in 2017. (BNN/Business World Magazine)