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XXVII International Baltic Road Conference
Procurement Documentation for the Road E77/A2 Section Riga Bypass - Senite
Latvian State Roads Yearbook 2007
Road construction works 2008

 History of the Latvian Road Sector

Latvian road sector counts the years of its existence since August 1, 1919, when the Supreme Board of Roads and Structures was established. However, roads in the territory of Latvia have been before. In documents they have been mentioned since the 13th century. Already in 1646 the road laws issued by the Swedish government were published. In 1752, 1786 and 1801 road laws were adopted in Kurzeme. A Livonian road map since 1688, as well as, Vidzeme road map since 1695 are preserved. Kurzeme Duchy roads are marked on the map published in 1702.

In 1919 the Supreme Board of Roads and Structures maintained 703 kilometres of highways and cobblestone pavements. 21480 kilometres of 2nd and 3rd class roads were maintained in corv order. On August 1, 1999, regional Boards of Roads and Structures were established in Riga, Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja, Tukums in order to supervise the roads in poor condition ruined in the four years of the World War.

In 1927 on the basis of the Supreme Board the Highway and Soil Road Department was established which had offices of road engineers (or road administrations in our perception) in Riga , Jelgava, Cesis, Liepaja, Daugavpils, Rezekne, Smiltene, Ventspils, Valmiera, Madona, Bauska, Kuldiga, Balvi. They were numbered from 1 to 13. In the beginning of its work the first task of the Department was to preserve deteriorated roads in order to ensure traffic, even with interruptions in wet season. The next task was to construct strengthened road sections (highways, cobblestone pavements) near bigger centres which would sustain the intense traffic, as well as, to extend the road network in order to meet the new requirements. The state systematically took over the roads maintained by corv order and purchased new equipment, such as 130 graders, 110 rollers, 36 stone crushers, workshop machines. Still manual work and horse transport was the basis in construction sites and earth works. Bigger construction works were performed by contractors. High level of requirements and the capacities of the constructors is proved by such sites, as the bridge over the Gauja in Sigulda, bridges over all biggest rivers in Latvia, durable concrete pavements in many road sections and strong production plants.

In 1940 the Highway and Soil Road Department maintained 11483 kilometres of roads, including 326 kilometres of asphalt pavements, 1779 km of crushed stone and “crisis” pavements and more than three thousand bridges. The length of roads maintained by corv order was 24179 km. In addition to the state budget the roads received 29.96 million Lats from the road fund established in 1929 (This amount includes 8.97 million collected from 3% tax on alcohol).

A major part of the road network was destroyed during the World War II. Approximately thousand kilometres of crushed stone pavements and 660 bridges were ruined. In combatant zone gravel roads were destroyed completely. In post-war years the roads in Latvia were divided into roads with Soviet Union importance supervised by the Highway Board (Ušosdor), established in Moscow by the Commissar of Interior Affairs, and roads with republic importance supervised by the Supreme Road Administration of the Council of Ministers. Some cities had offices of both these institutions.

50ties were spent in the renewing of roads ruined in the war. Faster road development started in 1956 when both road administrations were united. In the beginning 21 and later 26 road operation districts were established - one in each district. To carry out bigger construction works 11 road construction districts were established gradually. The inclusion of local roads in the state road network in October, 1963, has a very great importance in the development of Latvian roads. The length of state roads was increased three times up to present 20 thousand kilometres, and the quality of local roads was improved significantly.

60ties were the years of big reconstruction works. In some years up to 220 km of asphalt pavements and 600 km of gravel roads were constructed anew. Starting with 1957 twenty three asphalt plants were constructed. Simultaneously the construction of asphalt pavements by mixing materials in situ was continued. These so called “asphalt mixes” in many places have exceeded the planned lifetime 3 - 5 times. Wooden bridges were replaced by reinforced concrete bridges in short time. The campaign of introducing prefabricated structures in the construction of reinforced bridges has to be evaluated critically, as the production basis for this progressive method was not prepared, and therefore negative consequences may be felt even today.

19 work manager offices, 29 production plants, 2484 flats and 145 individual houses for workers, as well as, sporting and relaxation facilities were constructed in 70ties and 80ties. All designs for the mentioned buildings were prepared by the designing institute established in 50ties, many structures were produced by the Plant of Construction Materials, reflective road signs were produced by the Experimental Plant. During season the number of workers increased up to 10 - 12 thousand. Sporting and cultural events flourished.

More detailed information about road sector development in Latvia is available in the Road Museum Šlokenbeka, Milzkalne, Tukuma district.

Latvijas Valsts ceļi © 2004