The government wants to spend more money on building and developing roads in the coming years. Road builders say that more preparation time is needed for successful building and four-lane highways are not possible by 2030.
Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Riigikogu Aivar Kokk said the state road management 2020-2030 plan was written before the coronavirus crisis. He said that Estonia has invested too little in the infrastructure even though with the additional budget, road building received tens of millions of extra funding.
"In the debate on the budget and the debate on the state budget strategy, which will begin in early September, we are of the opinion that the funding for road building won't decrease but will increase. Now is the best time to invest in road building where the prices of planning and building are reduced and, on the other hand, where help can be given by the state to restore the economy because the investments of private investors are smaller compared to previous years," Kokk said.
He added that this gap needs to be filled by the state. "If we want to renovate most roads in 10 years and create 2+2 roads between bigger poles of attraction, then investments in roads should be increased," Kokk said.
Head of the Estonian Asphalt Society, Sven Pertens said the extra millions do not change the general picture. He said that it is hard for entrepreneurs to plan their activities when the finances are uneven.
Pertens doesn't consider it realistic that by 2030, it will be possible to drive between Tallinn and Tartu and Tallinn and Pärnu on a four-lane highway.
"It doesn't seem realistic. For it to happen, the tenders should already be out. A tender has just been made for the Võõbu-Mäo section of Tartu Road and there is talk of a 21-kilometer section of Libatse-Nurme on Pärnu Road, which will be a PPP, but this pilot project is still being prepared. It will take many years for this to materialize," Pertens said.
He added that the preparation time will be at least four to five years, which means the construction won't start before 2024 or 2025. "If we think we can build the four-lane highways after that in four or five years, then I think we can't," he said.
Editor: Roberta Vaino