Road Maintenance on Path to Improvement, Says Parts (1)
Commenting on the National Audit Office's critical review of the Road Administration, Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts acknowledged that there many shortcomings in Estonia's road maintenance but said that steps are being taken to address them.
The audit, conducted for the 2006 to 2010 time period, found that maintenance was sloppy, with unsuitable materials often used to repair potholes. It also discovered uneven gravel roads and uncleaned ditches around the country.
The report also said that the Road Administration's system of long-term procurements reduced competition between providers by being unfavorable towards newcomers.
Parts told Postimees that both the ministry and the administration have taken steps to improve the situation, including making work standards stricter.
In addition, the structure of the Road Administration has become more centralized, Parts said, ensuring more consistency in the organization’s work. The ministry has merged five regional state-owned road maintenance companies into a centralized unit, a move that Parts argues will make the state enterprise more efficient.
Nevertheless, Parts agreed with the Audit Office's assessment that there are still many areas in road maintenance that need to be improved.
According to the National Audit Office, around 50 million euros is allocated each year for the maintenance of national roads. Of that, 60 percent is used for everyday maintenance and the remainder for repair works.