Government plans for 2+1 and 2+2 roads still being ironed out
The new coalition agreement stipulates that work to construct 2+2 and 2+1 roads in Estonia will continue. However, according to incoming Climate Minister Kristen Michal (Reform), specific details regarding when, where and to what extent the work will take place will only be determined when the state budget strategy and state budget itself are drawn up,
In 2013, Estonia made a binding commitment to the European Commission to complete the construction of TEN-T European network 2+2 and 2+1 roads by 2030. At the end of last year all parties agreed that this target has to be met. However, as things stands, the funds allocated according to the national road maintenance plan would not be sufficient to complete the work.
According to the coalition agreement, the construction of major highways is also set to continue.
"We will proceed with the agreed reconstruction of the Tallinn-Tartu and Tallinn-Pärnu highways, in sections where traffic volumes may be hazardous, according to the 2+2 or 2+1 lane principle," the coalition agreement states.
However, the coalition is yet to confirm exactly where and how many of these new road sections will be built and how much money will be spent in doing so.
Incoming Minister of climate Kristen Michal (Reform) told ERR, that the planning and construction of 2+2 and 2+1 roads will largely depend on the country's financial situation. Michal pointed, out that the growing level of defense spending due to the Russian threat will take up a large part of the state budget.
"The precise financial plan will be included in the state budget strategy and the state budget," Michal said.
According to Michal, the construction of roundabouts on both highways and local roads will help ensure safety. Reconstruction work of this kind will be funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications on a case-by-case basis.
"The broader aim is to reform public transport mobility and create a better spatial environment, where (vehicles traveling at) different speeds are separated wherever possible," Michael explained.
The incoming minister added, that the coalition is also aiming to draw up a strategy to improve cycling mobility options as well as provide parking facilities and ensure the safety of cyclists in traffic.
Michal also said, that amendments would soon be made to the traffic law, regarding the movement, parking and use of electric scooters. The amendments will give municipalities the possibility to impose their own speed limits on electric scooter users in certain situations.
"There will be other safety measures too, including the familiar variable message signs (VMS), which allow speed limits to be more flexibly applied on the roads, depending on traffic conditions," Michal said.
At the end of 2022, the outgoing government approved a national road maintenance plan for the next four years. Under the plan, the amount of funding available for roads was halved.
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Editor: Michael Cole