Engineer: Estonia Has Weakest Roads in Baltics, Should Consider Concrete
An emigre Estonian who is a well-regarded road engineer in Australia has made waves by proposing a number of reforms for the nation's highways.
Arvo Tinni told ETV that roads passing through cities could be under direct Road Administration control to make repairs easier, and that Estonia could consider concrete roads.
"It's not only the means of repairing them - the primary thing is to see what the reason for the repairs is. The Road Administration would have a way to measure the weight as well, how heavy the trucks are that cause [the damage].
Water and heavy vehicles are the main causes of the damage and Tinni said the quality of Estonian roads would contraindicate such heavy trucks.
"Estonia has the weakest roads in all three Baltics. Finland's roads are nearly 150 percent stronger. But we have the same cars and trucks. So I think a rethink is in order."
He said concrete roads would be one solution and that they would be cost-effective. "Concrete roads are cheaper than asphalt pavements if big machinery is used. Maintenance is 20 times cheaper over 20 years. And if we think about filling in the longitudinal ruts that develop, I can't say off hand how much it costs, but it's a lot.
In Australia, Tinni said, concrete road upkeep costs three dollars per square meter over 20 years, but asphalt roads cost 85 for the same amount. Tinni proposed a joint venture with the other Baltics to purchase concrete road paving equipment
"Maybe businessmen can put together a bunch of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians and then we go from one place to another, over the border, to Poland and Finland to show how concrete roads are made." The Road Administration is amenable to the challenge - it is preparing a cost-benefit study and Tinni is one of the experts.
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of the story identified the engineer as Arvo Tinn; his name is Arvo Tinni.