On 2326 August 2009, the Baltic Road Association (BRA)
organized the XXVII International Baltic Road Conference in
BRA is a regional road organization of the Baltic States
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Its key aim is to
coordinate the activities of the Baltic road specialists and
seek mutual co-operation and technical progress as well as
look for solutions of regional problems and represent the
Baltic road specialists in international organizations and
The conference programme consisted of 90 reports from 15
countries, and such a wide representation confirms
international significance of the Conference among
professionals not only in the Baltic region.
The participants of the Conference took part and made
presentations in 7 sections.
A1 Road Planning
In this Conference theme 14 reports were included.
In this part of the Conference the participants had a
chance to get acquainted with specific research methods of
road network capacity and progress of specific research
projects. The work is not simple to convince members of
the public that planned road improvements are for ensuring
their own n eeds. Finnish colleagues introduced
Microsimulation model of the main road network of South-
Eastern Finland. It is said in the report that the
simulation model is able to express the traffic conditions
fairly realistically and the modelling results can be used
as rough estimates of the traffic performance in the network.
So traffic research in any road network section can provide
good source material for improvement of traffic simulation
The representative of the Latvian State Roads informed
about risks in implementing ITS solutions and necessity to
develop these solutions in a cost effective way. One of
suggested methods is the use of the step-by-step principle.
In their report Lithuanian colleagues emphasized
necessity to continue research of climatic factors and their
impact on traffic and roads by using Road Weather Station
The Karsakiškis by-pass case in Lithuania showed a good
example that, before development of a spatial plan for
designing a new route of the road in it, it is helpful to
perform a pre-design study and environmental impact
assessment. It is very important to conduct as many route
alternatives as possible in this pre-design study and, when
conducting these alternatives, to evaluate factors of
environmental impact. It will provide a possibility to
develop Environmental impact assessment programme as
comprehensively as possible, to perform this research, and
it will give much bigger guarantees for approval of
alternative not only publicly accepted, but also coordinated
with Environmental impact assessment authority.
The quality of transport planning is largely defined by
amount of available source data and their reliability. In
the report National Travel Surveys in Finland colleagues
emphasize a necessity to improve travel survey methodology.
It has to be mentioned that till now in Latvia driver
inquiries have been performed within different research
projects and a comprehensive study of passenger mobility is
one of the future tasks.
A2 Road Construction
26 reports were included in this theme and it is
considered the most important in the Conference. Some
reports provided information on specific projects in the
Baltic States, their progress, problems and innovations.
Some reports looked at new technologies and materials.
Main challenges are cost saving and environmental
friendliness. Report on hot on hot asphalt paving
describes the use of asphalt pavement method, currently
little known in the Baltic States, that requires a precise
work organization, allows to decrease energy consumption and
construction time, simultaneously improving bonding of two
courses. In this session we were able to get acquainted with
not only options for traditional recycling of road
construction residues, but also with Croatian experience in
application of industrial and construction waste materials
in road construction.
In the session there were several reports that could be
placed in the category of construction administration. Such
issues as risk management in big projects, development of
construction market, costs of traffic disturbances, reliable
planning of expenses are always live and have a significant
impact on construction and road users costs.
Following reports of the Conference, environmental issues,
as well as questions of market harmonization will become
more urgent in future. It is dictated by both changes in
global economy, and necessity to join forces in improvement
of technical requirements, processes of procurement and
Several reports were presented on studies that concern
similar themes and lead up to thoughts whether it would be
more useful to cooperate more in the research planning field
and join forces of different countries for solution of
A3 Road Preservation
In total 11 reports were submitted in this session.
O. Talvik and A. Aavik, Tallinn University of Technology,
analyzed limit values for falling weight deflectometer
measurements for different types of roadbeds and pavements
in Estonia to acquire credible data for planning pavement
reconstruction. The method allows to identify the weakest
links that in its turn allow to create lists of work
priorities thus achieving considerable economical effect.
U. Konsap, Estonian Road Administration, informed about a
project to develop management system for road works and
progress of the project implementation. One of the system
goals is to improve efficiency of road network management by
introducing such an instrument as Eprocurements.
L. Krašauskas and M. Jocius, Transport and Road Research
Institute, shared their experience in route selection and
adjustment for the transportation of heavy-weight oversized
Å. Lindgren and F. Friberg, Swedish Road Administration,
have summarized experience of Sweden and several EU Member
States in recycling tar-containing asphalt. In Sweden only
there is about 1016 million tons of tarcontaining asphalt.
Deposition of milled asphalt materials is very expensive,
therefore possibilities are examined to recycle
tar-containing asphalt on site by reducing concentration of
PAH till the level defined in environmental standards. For
roads with small traffic volume dangerous chemical waste can
be purchased instead of planned cheap pavement.
R. Lugmayr, TenCate Geosynthetics, and M. Jamek and E. K.
Tschegg, Vienna University of Technology, shared experience
how to study fatigue crack propagation in bituminous roads
with geosynthetic interlayer.
J. Pettersson, Swedish Road Administration, analyzed new
challenges in road maintenance. Requirements for transport
system are increasing but at the same time there is a
constant pressure to cut back on available resources due to
competition with many other public sectors for funds.
A. Rainys, Lithuanian Road Administration, shared
experience on road maintenance of Lithuanian roads of
national significance. The report analyzed winter road
maintenance levels, road maintenance schemes and necessary
J. Valtonen, Helsinki University of Technology, in his
report offered a summary on test road sections constructed
in the last decades with an objective to replace oil gravel
pavements with environmentally friendlier technologies using
bitumen emulsions and soft bitumen. The report provided
recommendations in order to get long-lasting soft asphalt
pavements. One of them is related to evaluation of such test
road sections. Where it is possible, test technology and
reference technology should be designed and constructed in
Finnish colleagues Timo Vikström, Lemminkäinen Infra Oy,
and Mika Stenmark, Vianova Systems Finland Oy, presented
maintenance management system for the motorway E18 section
Muurla Lohja Infra Asset Management System. This section
was constructed by and will be maintained for the next 25
years by a private contractor. The private sector shows a
good example to road administrations how to effectively
administer road maintenance by using progressive management
B1 Road Financing
This Conference theme contained 6 reports.
G.Anderson from Kapsch Traffic Com AB reported that main
challenge for introducing of road user charging remains
political decision. Report provides basic principles that
have to be considered when solving questions of implementing
ETC and technical solutions for ETC fee collecting systems.
It emphasizes necessity to define goal that should be
reached by implementing one or another traffic scheme to
reduce traffic flow, improve environment, raise funds etc.
However, the final decision on introducing road user
charging will be a political one.
R. Lipkevičius, Lithuanian Road Administration, in his
report described the most important benefits for Lithuanian
road sector when attracting EU co-financing in 20042006. EU
financing allowed to increase amount of works and improve
technology, to stop disintegration of Lithuanian main and
national roads caused by increasing traffic of freight
vehicles. By implementing investment objects, access to
trans-European corridor, traffic between region centres,
business, industrial and tourism centres was improved,
traffic congestions were decreased. Report of Mr. R.
Lipkevičius reflects improvements of certain sections of
Lithuanian roads, where financing from EU Funds was
attracted and what allowed Lithuanian Road Administration to
reach its goal provide convenient and safe traffic for
D. Miškinis, Lithuanian Road Administration, emphasized
in his report that, in accordance with statement of the
World Bank experts, Road fund is a better financing model
for road maintenance than state budget because it provides
direct connection between financing necessary for road
maintenance and road user charges. Lithuanian Road fund was
established in 1995 and in the course of time it experienced
various transformations. Of course, the fund was also
affected by economical recession, and it has to be mentioned
that political decisions have an impact on fund revenues. In
this report it can be seen that even the Road fund, where
revenues are attached to actual needs of road maintenance,
is not protected from a decrease, when solving financing of
In this session very important question to road sector of
the Baltic States EU co-financing for implementing
different projects was not left out. It has to be
mentioned that information on EU co-financed projects in the
three Baltic States is also displayed quite broadly in
homepages of road administrations.
J. Tauriņs, Latvian State Roads, informed about Latvian
experience in preparing Public Private Partnership projects
and showed development programme of the state main roads
that can be implemented only with attraction of considerable
investments. The most realistic way to implement these
projects is to use a PPP model. There is no doubt that
economical recession will slow down these plans to some
extent but at the same time PPP projects could be an
instrument for overcoming the crisis.
12 reports were included in this Conference theme. Half
of these reports were dedicated to bridge renovation,
restoration and construction of new bridges. The
participants had a possibility to get familiar with
implementation of specific projects, from review on history
of particular bridges, design to construction process.
Question of how to perform reconstruction of bridge with
the possibly smallest resources and shortest traffic
restrictions has always been important. These issues were
described in the report of Mr. G. Viršilas on the increase
of durability and lifetime of existing bridges where
traditional and alternative methods of bridge renovation and
repair of certain elements are compared to reduce costs and
When applying non-standard technical solutions are
constructed bridges qualitative and in compliance with
project requirements and how are these bridges inspected
these questions are answered in the report on load testing
of Latvian bridges. To test compliance of the bridge with
designed solution, measure deflections and dynamic
characteristics of structures, new innovative methods and
instruments are applied today. Gained results and data can
be used in development of a bridge maintenance plan.
In this Conference a smaller attention was paid to the
bridge maintenance that could be more important in the next
one, since we will have to work in conditions of complicated
financing and accumulated repair works.
C1 Road Regulations/Education
Three reports were included in this theme.
Research Director from Department of Strategic
Development Head Office of Swedish Road Administration
informed about 4 different ways of promoting innovation.
Innovations in transport sector is an instrument that allows
to implement more efficiently policies of the national
parliaments and governments road safety, environment
protection, mobility and accessibility.
It would not be fair not to mention internal school for
road planners established by the Norwegian Public Roads
Administration in 2004/2005. One of the most important
aspects is cooperation of road administration with
municipality planning authorities to develop road projects,
that complies with society needs, to receive positive
evaluation of environmental specialists and public approval.
This aspect is taken into consideration when organizing
training of road planners.
C2 Road safety
Reports presented in the road safety session can be
divided in two sub-themes:
- Reports on situation of
traffic safety in the Baltic States. They provided
information on traffic safety statistics and analyzed
reasons for traffic accidents. In the last decade traffic
safety in the Baltic States has improved considerably but
still there is much to be done, especially when comparing
with situation in Nordic countries. Reports provided
information on main groups of activities of traffic safety
improvement and they are similar in the Baltic States.
- The second sub-theme included
reports that introduced listeners with different novelties
of traffic safety improvement in the Nordic countries. It is
new experience and new possibilities, especially in the
current economical situation. It was interesting to learn
about experience of Swedish colleagues in low-cost traffic
- Apart from the previously
mentioned, several reports paid attention to European
Directive on Road Infrastructure Safety Management, adopted
in 2008. Implementation of measures defined in the Directive
is still in front of us and it is the task of next years for
all traffic planners and organizers.
Director of Technical Division of Latvian State Roads
State Joint Stock Company Latvian State Roads, 3, Gogoļa Street, 1050 Riga, Latvia