Estonia has moved forward a plan to pave 56km of gravel roads in order to give construction contractors work during the coronavirus period’s lockdown.
Estonian media report that the Ministry of Economic Affairs has allocated €5 million for the paving of 15 roads in Võru, Valga and Põlva counties this year. The work was originally to be started next year and last until 2024, said Taavi Aas, minister for economic affairs.
The central government owns around 4,725km of gravel roads. But this only 28% of the country’s gravel road, with local authorities and some private groups operating and maintaining the rest. As such, the timing and cost of paving gravel roads can be controversial and political, with nearby resident and businesses complaining of dust during dry periods and impassable roads during wet periods.
Estonian media reported in 2018 that the central government’s gravel road improvement programme had been cut in order to pay for the widening of a stretch of paved Tallinn-Tartu Highway.