The Congress of World Road Association to focus on road maintenance in winter


2018 02 20


Minister of Transport and Communications Rokas Masiulis participates in the 15th International Winter Road Congress of the World Road Association (PIARC) in Gdansk, Poland. The event, the topic of which is “Providing a Safe and Sustainable Winter Road Service”, discusses the organization and financing of road maintenance, traffic conditions and safety, the development of road infrastructure, maintenance and environmental aspects.
Traffic safety covers all aspects of road infrastructure and road transport, and therefore this topic is an object of comprehensive consideration. Today the Minister of Transport and Communications of Lithuania Mr Masiulis discussed at the session of ministers together with transport ministers from the Czech Republic, Japan, Montenegro, Poland and Slovakia how to ensure safe and effectively maintained roads for road users, as well as discussed the impact of climate change on road infrastructure and its maintenance in winter.
“Lithuania has a well-developed road network, the territory of the country is crossed by six European highways; therefore, proper maintenance and improvement of roads is an important challenge,” said Minister of Transport R. Masiulis.
The Minister presented the road maintenance reform implemented in Lithuania in 2017, by merging 11 regional road maintenance enterprises into one state enterprise “Kelių priežiūra”. The implementation of this reform ensures equal road maintenance standards and effective use of resources in the country, optimization of administrative apparatus, reduction of road maintenance costs, and the possibility of more efficient use of road maintenance machinery and technologies. It is estimated that this road maintenance reform will allow saving about EUR 8.5 million per year.
The issue of ensuring proper financing of roads important for many countries was discussed at the session of ministers. It is noted that road maintenance budgets in general are often subject of budgetary cuts. According to Minister Mr Masiulis, the budget allocated to road maintenance cannot be a matter of discussions – financing of these works must be ensured, as it is associated with the need of the society to travel safely and comfortably, as well as continuous transit through the roads of the country.
The session also focused on the impact of climate change on road maintenance. For example, in Lithuania, the road maintenance is aggravated by the increasing fluctuations around the reference temperature 0°C, which has a negative impact on the road safety and the road structure. In order to address these problems, more attention is paid to predicting road traffic conditions, preventive sprinkle of roads, invoking intelligent technologies: the road weather monitoring network is being expanded and information systems are being implemented.
The World Road Association-PIARC established in 1909 brings together the road administrations of 121 governments and has members – individuals, companies, authorities and organizations – in over 140 countries. Lithuania became a member of the PIARC in 1994.