Experts from several road laboratories in Europe, including the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), have been working together for some time to ensure that Europe’s roads will be better equipped to withstand extreme weather conditions.
The European road system must be able to meet numerous challenges and strict requirements under future weather conditions, including in terms of high reliability, low construction costs, low maintenance costs, and high traffic safety. Public demand for accessibility and convenience has been growing as well; for example, many people have difficulty accepting temporary road closures.
VTI researcher Fredrik Hellman is one of the experts in the Forever Open Road strategic research programme.
“We intend to safeguard the levels of service on the road system against future weather conditions. This mainly involves finding methods for determining what changes are needed with respect to the cost-effectiveness and functions of road building and maintenance.”
The expert group is currently developing guidelines for determining what research should be prioritised. They have already found construction and maintenance deficiencies in the current system. One important item is that of synchronizing the European road system in order to determine where needs are the greatest.
“We are looking at choices of drainage systems, materials, and asphalt types adapted to hot and cold climates,” says Hellman.
Experts are identifying sensitive locations, such as bridges and tunnels, and planning the maintenance strategies that may be needed.
Find out more about the work of these experts on the Forever Open Road’s website, www.foreveropenroad.eu
Text: Katarina Nestor