Billions Needed To Maintain New Roads - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Billions Needed To Maintain New Roads

Published April 11, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photos by
Gulli

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA) only has 60-70% of the funds it needs to maintain Iceland’s roads, reports Vísir.

Hreinn Haraldsson, who runs the IRCA, told Vísir that repairs are more expensive than maintenance. “If we are to prevent more money having to be spent down the line then we need to take better care of [the roads] now,” said Hreinn.

According to Hreinn, funding has never quite covered what was needed. This is because the demand for new roads is so high that the IRCA have not been able to both build new roads and maintain preexisting roads on the funding available.

“The value [of the budget we already have] diminishes each year, both due to inflation and because of the rise in oil prices which affects the cost of maintaining the roads,” Hreinn said.

The issue has been growing steadily since the crash in 2008 when the IRCA’s project funding was halved down from 30 billion ISK to 15 billion ISK in one year. Today the IRCA needs at least 7-8 billion ISK to cover the costs of their projects but must make due with 5 billion a year.

There were 5.368 kilometres of tarmac roads in Iceland at the end of 2011. Until 2010 the IRCA would repave roughly 10-12% of the roads so that all roads were renovated every 8-10 years.

The current budget means the roads are now renovated every 12-14 years.

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