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The season of road builders has started in Lithuania since the middle of March and will last until December. Although its peak is traditionally planned for the summer and asphalting workers take up more intensively in the late autumn, road works are currently gaining momentum. Therefore, specialists urge drivers to be extremely careful, to keep track of traffic changes and to protect both themselves and road builders. According to experts, only driving within the speed limit, following the rules and attentiveness ensures the prevention of possible road accidents.
There is still a lack of attentiveness
Although information on road repairs is plentiful and drivers can prepare properly for the trip, Aurelijus Braželis, Infrastructure Business Director of YIT Lietuva, the company engaged in road construction, repair and resurfacing works, notices that road users still often lack tolerance and patience towards road builders. However, according to the speaker, it should be taken into account that the work is determined by many components, so not all processes can be planned in advance.
“The duration of road works depends on many factors – the quality of the project, the preparation and competence of the contractor, technical maintenance, supply of materials, weather conditions, the attitude of the customer and other factors. We can predict some of them, but there is always a chance that something will change and the duration of the project will also adjust,” A. Braželis assures.
YIT Lietuva representative points out that every driver can help road builders. This can be done, first of all, by paying attention to road signs, traffic lights and other restrictions.
“While driver awareness is growing every year, there is still a significant risk of remaining unnoticed on the road. Statistics show that many accidents have occurred in recent years due to negligence. Road workers experience trouble due to the fact that the focus while driving is not on traffic changes, but on mobile phones or other devices,” emphasizes A. Braželis.
Donatas Mankauskas, the head of the second company of the Road Patrol Team of the Road Police Office of Vilnius County Chief Police Commissariat, states that among the violations committed by drivers during road works, the speed limit is usually exceeded. “If major road repairs take place, a traffic light is installed and traffic is restricted. However, it happens that even when the red light comes on, drivers do not stop and try to continue driving,” says the policeman.
According to D. Mankauskas, fortunately, serious traffic accidents on road sections being repaired are rare, but drivers who violate road traffic rules on the road sections being repaired, are subject to the usual penalties provided for in the rules.
Security is a top priority
According to D. Mankauskas, the most common cause of accidents is the attention being distracted away from the road. Just as the police officer states, whether you are driving on a normal road or where the road work is in progress, engaging in additional activities always increases the risk of accidents.
“Let’s imagine a road is being repaired on the motorway and a driver driving at 110 km/h – if the latter loses focus for at least a couple of seconds, he will not notice the signs, the sudden narrowing of the road and so on. In this case an accident can happen,” says the police spokesman, convinced that the best driver assistance for road builders is attentiveness.
Rimantas Baravykas, an adviser to the Vilnius City Municipality Administration on traffic organization issues, states that sometimes less noticeable solutions encourage drivers in the capital to drive safer. One such solution is an intelligent traffic light control system.
“Often it calculates the driving speed. Let’s say two drivers drive at 60 km/h and a third at 90 km/h. The system records this, recalculates the traffic and they all stop at the next traffic light. Due to the desire of one driver to drive faster. This is an everyday example of an approach to road safety. Therefore, next year we will start applying average speed control in the city. We hope that this will prevent traffic jams and improve working conditions for road builders,” says R. Baravykas.
Until the introduction of average speed control in the city, which will also help road builders, A. Braželis names how the latter plan their working day.
“If the object is in the city, the work starts at the end of the morning traffic peak and ends just before the evening peak. Specialized works – asphalt milling, asphalt laying – are performed at night or on weekends. When traffic is the lowest. The most difficult works are in public transport lanes. Here we start working after the last trolleybus trip and prepare the street for the start of the first one. The work outside the city in turn, is performed by installing construction sites and traffic lights. However, wherever we are, we care about the safety of both drivers and our employees. We build road signs, barriers, traffic lights, we use traffic regulators and other means,” concludes A. Braželis.
Lots of information
Road builders who have already started the work season remind drivers that all information about traffic changes is particularly easy to find. Therefore, A. Braželis, the head of YIT Lietuva, urges to constantly check the website www.eismoinfo.lt.
“It contains all the information about the ongoing road reconstruction and traffic restrictions. This information is also published by radio programs. We also recommend the use of smart navigation apps. They provide relevant data on the works performed,” advises A. Braželis.
R. Baravykas in turn urges the drivers of the capital to check the website of Vilnius municipality www.vilnius.lt. It contains both the necessary data and an interactive map of planned and ongoing works. Information about traffic in the capital is constantly published on the website of the public transport company “Susisiekimo paslaugos” www.vilniustransport.lt.
“I also recommend drivers to monitor electronic information boards on the roads. It is written on them which streets are under the repair works,” adds R. Baravykas.
D. Mankauskas also advises to pay attention to the apps and information sources indicating road repair works, stating that the upcoming summer road works season will definitely require patience from drivers: “You will definitely have to stop and wait somewhere, but the apps mentioned can be very useful when planning trips in advance.”