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ISSN 1822-427X print
ISSN 1822-4288 online
 

 

 
 
 
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THE 26TH INTERNATIONAL BALTIC ROAD CONFERENCE

 
 

 

The 26th International Baltic Road Conference took place in Kuressaare, the “capital” of Estonia's biggest island Saaremaa, on Aug 28–30, 2006, with over 500 participants from 20 countries. What concerns the history of the mentioned event, the Baltic road sector held its own conferences during almost 80 years. The basis was laid by the first meeting of the Baltic road engineers in Riga in 1927. Until the forced break in 1940 and after the renewal in 1957, the conferences have been held regularly – every 3 years.

When the formal Baltic road organisation was established in 1989 and in connection with political and economic changes in the 90-ies, the conferences became internationally open. International co-operation, especially co-operation with the Nordic countries has contributed to developing the organisational level and the results of the Baltic conferences, which, in their turn, have had a positive influence on cooperation.

 

                         

 

During 3 days of the conference 6 technical themes were covered (totally 95 presentations: 49 from the Baltic States and 46 from other countries):

1. Strategic management – 32 presentations, focusing on:
• road network development programs;
• financing of road construction and maintenance;
• public-private partnership (PPP);
• performance-based maintenance contracts;
• nondestructive testing of road structures and quality assurance.

2. Road management – 29 presentations, focusing mostly on different technical
aspects of road construction and maintenance:
• heavy-duty road pavements;
• maintenance of asphalt pavements;
• gravel road maintenance and dust control;
• soil stabilisation with enzymes and oil-shale ash;
• winter maintenance and environmental assessment of de-icing chemicals;
• descriptions of specific design examples.

3. Co-operation management – 7 presentations, covering:
• technology transfer matters;
• co-operation between different partners in abroad or at home;
• postgraduate training of road engineers.

4. Bridge management – 6 presentations covering:
• bridge management systems in the Baltic States;
• different aspects of bridge structures.

5. Tool management – 5 presentations:
• soil compaction;
• use of steel furnace slag and unbound crushed concrete for road construction.

6. Traffic management – 13 presentations:
• analysis of traffic safety in the Baltic Sea region;
• traffic signing and roadside advertising;
• accident costs, etc.

 

Also, a seminar was held with 3 presentations on the topic “Fixed link to Saaremaa”. Since 1997 a work group, initiated by Saaremaa county government, has been studying the possibilities of improving the connection with the mainland of Estonia and, first and foremost, the possibility of a fixed link with the mainland. The fixed link will support the region's diverse economy, creating a solid basis for further development of the tourist industry, which already plays an important role in the island's transport infrastructure and services.

All technical themes of the Conference include the word “management”. It's probably indicating the present status of the transport sector of the Baltic States. Joined the European Union in 2004, Baltic States have a possibility to use European structural and development funds for developing of their infrastructure. As a result, they have passed the stage of chronic deficit of funds and moved to the stage of effective management of available funds, resulting in the effective road, bridge and traffic management based on the strategic management.

Traditionally an industrial exhibition is also arranged during the conference. Such exhibitions have always offered useful new information on the latest developments, technologies and materials, and prompted business contacts as well. The exhibition of the road facilities and machinery “Roads 2006” with 73 exponents was held as an integral part of the 26th Baltic Road Conference. Topics of the exhibition: road construction and maintenance machinery; design of roads and bridges; road facilities; road and bridge construction and maintenance; road and bridge construction materials and substances; laboratories and their equipment; information, technical literature, training; fixed links.

 

         

 

Based on the presentations, the Scientific Committee of the Conference concluded that:

1. Road network development planning has to be based on the social and regional development forecasts.
2. Design, construction, reconstruction and maintenance have to be contracted out on the performance-based contracts. The principle “design-construct-maintain” (one contractor will do all) has to be used more widely.
3. The involvement of private finances into the infrastructure development based on the public-private partnership (PPP) has to be used more widely.
4. Under the increasing traffic load conditions more attention has to be paid to the development of heavy duty road pavements. Pavement design procedures of the Baltic States have to be revised and, if possible, unified taking into account local conditions.
5. As there is a lack of soils, suitable for road construction, more attention has to be paid for different techniques of soil stabilisation for improving their structural properties. Also the use of different geosynthetics in different stages of road construction and repair is to become common for saving funds and materials.
6. Possibilities of using different waste materials (as crushed concrete etc) in road construction have to be investigated taking into account the experience of other countries (eg Netherlands, Japan, UK, Norway).
7. Technology transfer between the Baltic States (incorporating also other possible partners) has to be improved.
8. Bridge Management Systems, developed in all Baltic States, have to be implemented and practically used for determination of bridges or their elements requiring an urgent repair or replacement and based on that for ensuring a proper financing.
9. For reducing the accident rate in the Baltic States, specific traffic safety action plans have to be implemented in each country.

 

All presentations of the conference will be published on the website of the Baltic Road Association – http://www.balticroads.eu

 
 

Andrus Aavik
On behalf of the Scientific Committee of the Conference

 
 

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