Every year Ukrainian drivers come across the same problem: with melting of snow, the roads, repaired last spring, turn into a barrier zone.

On his Facebook page, Premier Mykola Azarov recently wrote that the roads get cracked mainly because of temperature difference and added that it happens mostly with the roads of poor quality. Local governments simply do not have sufficient amount of money to fix roads according to proper technological process. 

At the latest Cabinet's session, the Prime Minister instructed vice PM Oleksandr Vilkul to take personal control over the urgent repair and preparation for scheduled repairs of roads.

"Road pavement on city streets, municipal roads, the old public roads is falling apart," the PM said.
According to him, the situation is with the roads of communal propertyalso leaves much to be desired. "None of the regional center can boast of good roads," the Prime Minister added and instructed the Finance Ministry to consider the state of affairs in the regions and to provide urgent assistance, where local efforts are not sufficient. "The “Ukravtodor” State Road Agency of Ukraine should develop an optimal schedule for repair of roads of national importance," he said.

According to Azarov, the State Road Agency and the local governments have resources to restore the damaged road paving. "It is clear that the adverse weather conditions obstruct adequate repair. However, it is possible to eliminate the dangerous areas and properly prepare for scheduled repairs, to begin them as soon as weather conditions permit," Azarov said.

Kyiv authorities promise to fix the roads before May holiday.

According to head of the KCSA Oleksandr Popov, it is necessary to replace 20 thousand square meters of pavement in Kyiv. The work with cold asphalt has already begun, as it can be put at a temperature below zero, but the main amount of work will be held when the air temperature becomes minimum 8 degrees above zero.

"Before May 1 - maximum May 9, we will complete all necessary work to have normal roads in the capital, and we will continue their reconstruction, which began last year," Popov concluded.
As a rule, patched holes do not last long in Ukraine. ForUm has decided to find out what the road construction industry needs to have or to do in order to guarantee the quality.

Artyom Bezuglyi, deputy director for science of the State road research institute of Ukraine:

-In autumn, the World Bank decided to allocate $450 million for improvement of Ukrainian highways. The means will be used for reconstruction of "Kyiv-Kharkiv" road from Lubny town to Polatava and for construction of belt highways around settlements on its way.  The period of work execution is two years, and the pay-back period is 17 years. Unfortunately, even such large-scale projects are not always of proper quality. Take for example the highway Kyiv-Odessa. It was put in commission in 2004. The authorities were so proud of this project, but in several months, the road pavement fell into pieces. Within the next eight years, Ukraine borrowed money for reconstruction twice - $480 million in 2005 and another $150 million from 2005 to 2012.

Overhaul repair of principal roads must be held every 10-12 years. In 2012, for example, the repair works needed 21.5 billion hryvnias, but only three billion were allocated.

Oleksand Serhyenko, director of the research center "City institute":

- If a client receives a cut from a corrupt deal, he has no right to demand quality. If we look closer to the prices of repair works and compare them with European we will see that ours are bigger, which is nonsense.

Moreover, nobody thinks about new technologies and quality. Last year Ukraine spent 90 million for repair, but patches do not last long. If the constructors observed modern technologies, even patched roads would stay longer.

Konstantyn Bondaryov, MP (Batkivshchyna party), first deputy head of the parliamentary committee on transport and communication:

- The prosecutor's office of Cherkassy region recently uncovered a corrupt deal. Officials of "Uman roads" company were laundering state money, allocated for road reconstruction. The amount involved is 34 million hryvnias. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated case. For the last 15 months, the prosecutor's offices have uncovered 110 violations in the road-transport sector. The amount of losses reaches 135 million hryvnias. Investigators have revealed three main schemes of money laundering, and they are not new. In most cases the local authorities violate the tender rules or do not hold any tenders at all.

Comparing to the total budget of the State road agency "Ukravtodor", the sum is not that big. But the General Prosecutor's Office has calculated that the financing of this industry is equal to the defense budget and twice bigger than expenses for healthcare. However, the state of roads leaves much to be desired. Two thirds of the means allocated for the construction of new roads go to the repair of old roads, and the effect is temporary. Melting of snow destroys the patching, and the things start all over again.

Anatoly Blyzniuk, MP (Party of Regions), member of the parliamentary committee on construction, housing services and regional policy:

- I will give you a figurative example. Say, you need to buy winter shoes. You can buy cheap shoes, which will last one season, or you can purchase expensive shoes, which will serve you for several years. The decision you will make depends on the amount of money in your wallet. It stands to reason that you cannot buy designer's boots for pennies.

The same thing is about the roads. We say Ukraine needs 100% of good roads, but at the same time, we have money only for 5%. Moreover, this 5% is borrowed. Another matte is the quality of road pavement and its components. The better the quality, the higher the price. The state has limited budget. What we can do is to say how much money we have for roads and to ask people which road to fix first. Then we have to announce a tender and choose a company, which will give us guarantees, so that we do not think about this road for the next five years. If something happens with the road, the company will have to fix it at its own expenses.

Oleksandr Tykhonos, head of the road maintenance department of the State road agency "Ukravtodor":

- The portions of roads we fixed last year are still in good condition. The problem is that about 90% of open roads require overhaul repair, but the state budget cannot afford it. We need 19 billion hryvnias for maintenance annually, but we get only 3 billion. This year the sum is 3.2 billion hryvnias.
Winter maintenance takes most of the money - about 1-1.2 billion. Every year we try to take a loan. We spend budget money for maintenance, while the loan money goes for road construction and reconstruction. This year we have already borrowed four billion.

We also make a list of roads, subjected for repair projects. The list includes portions of roads, which lost load bearing capacity and where patching is no longer efficient. This year we plan to repair roads from Kyiv to Chernihiv, Odessa, Kharkiv, Ovruch, Dnipropetrovsk. The list is under consideration, and the final variant must be approved by the Cabinet. The works will be held in Crimea and Zakarpattya as well.  

Apart from already attracted four billion, we have a right for a10-billion loan. If everything goes well, this year we will fix 2197 km of roads.

The best period to hold road works is from May to October. It is called construction season. However, due to various bureaucratic procedures, we often have to postpone the works will October-November. Sometimes it happens that we have to carry out works in winter. It is called emergency repair, when the situation cannot wait until March or April. 

Ukraine has 183 coating plant, and 99 of them will work for patching. For the moment, only 10 coating plants have started working. By the end of February, we will see if there is a necessity to launch all 99 plants.


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