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Long-term Strategy Will Guarantee Effective and Transparent Road Network Development

2019 05 30

The Lithuanian Road Administration under the Ministry of Transport and Communications (later referred to as the Road Administration) has prepared a long-term state significance road maintenance and development strategy until 2035 (later referred to as the Strategy 2035). The demand for funds to implement the Strategy 2035 makes up 11 billion EUR, out of which 6.5 billion EUR: investments into the road network development, 1.4 billion EUR: road maintenance, 2.4 billion EUR: local significance roads and 0.2 billion EUR: administration and fulfilling legal obligations.

‘It is important to make long-term strategical planning independent from election fever in order to guarantee consistent and stable development of the national economy. Planning serves as an antidote to decision-makers‘ and businessmen‘ wish to lobby their own interests. First of all, the needs of the state and society should be prioritized. This strategy is not finite, and it encourages open discussion. New projects emerging during discussions might be included as well. Increased financing might also introduce new dates’, says Rokas Masiulis, Minister of Transport and Communications.

According to the Director of the Road Administration Mr Vitalijus Andrejevas, the long-term strategy will enable effective and transparent development of the Lithuanian road infrastructure. He states that the implementation of the Strategy 2035 would upgrade the road infrastructure for West European standards.

The Strategy 2035 was prepared based on the current road financing model and level. Current financing is not sufficient to attain the ends set in the Strategy 2035. Deficient amount could make up to 2 billion EUR; i.e., 125 million EUR each year.

When preparing the Strategy 2035, the Road Administration sorted out available information on on the condition of the state significance road infrastructure: starting from international transport corridors (Via Baltica, Vilnius–Kaunas, Vilnius–Utena), asphalt pavement reconstruction and repair, gravel road reconstruction and repair to intelligent transport systems‘ installation, traffic safety enhancement, environmental protection measures‘ implementation and bypass development.

Targeted qualitative indicators of the main, national and regional road asphalt pavement condition have been set in the Strategy 2035. The Strategy indicates that until 2035 there will be no poor quality road sections on the main and regional roads, i.e. 2,439 km. It also plans to reconstruct 400 km of unsafe national roads, which currently do not meet key requirements for road pavement width set in the Road Technical Regulations. For example, there are still national road sections, the width of which is ca 3.5 metres. The condition of all problematic regional asphalt paved roads will be tested and solutions will be taken until the end of this year.

The Strategy 2035 also plans to complete the reconstruction of the total Via Baltica road section from Poland to Latvia. Eight project implementation stages have been planned. During them, it is planned to reconstruct almost 190 km, and the planned value of works is 684 million EUR. Another two projects road A1 (Vilnius–Kaunas) and road A 14 (Vilnius–Utena) will require almost 350 million EUR.

The Strategy 2035 aims to reduce the number of the existing gravel roads by half. It means that there will be only 16 per cent or 3,425 km of state significance roads with gravel pavement until 2035. In case of success, the Lithuanian indicators will be lower than those in Sweden. It is planned to invest another 1 billion EUR.

Currently, bridge condition evaluation is being performed and it is planned to complete it in three coming years. It is prognosed that the reconstruction of poor condition bridges will require 340 million EUR until 2035.

One of the activities of the Road Administration is traffic safety enhancement, which includes upgrading and installation of pedestrian crossings, installation of speed control measures, construction and reconstruction of walkways and bicycle lanes, expansion of road lighting, construction of bus stop areas and implementation of environmental protection measures. It is planned to allocate ca 232 million EUR for traffic safety and environmental protection measures, which will  contribute to the implementation of Zero Vision.

The Road Administration has already received requests to construct 15 bypasses in Lithuania. However, current funds enable to start the implementation of bypass projects only in 2033. Taking transit traffic into account, only the second stage of Vilnius southern bypass could be implemented.

To install intelligent transport systems; ie. variable message information signs, speed control systems and other measures until 2035, ca 86  million EUR have been allocated.

The State Road Maintenance and Development Strategy until 2035 developed by the Road Administration has already been presented to its economic social partners.