International Road Conference “Ceste”

Rovinj, 22 March – This year’s International Road Conference “Ceste” offered an opportunity to highlight the Transport Community’s work in the area of road maintenance in the Western Balkans. In his keynote address, Director Zakonjšek said that the sustainability of current and future investments is directly linked with the preventive maintenance of the road network to be able to cope with increased demand in the transport of goods and people.

„At present, the road network in the Western Balkans is the backbone of freight and passenger transport, counting for almost 85% of the market share in freight transport and over 95% in passenger transport in the entire region. In the last two decades, more than € 11 billion has been invested in road infrastructure in the Western Balkans. Investments in the road sector prevail, accounting for almost 81% of the total investment in the transport sector. Based on our latest TEN-T Annual Report, this prioritisation of investments in roads has led to almost 68% of the TEN-T Road network being in very good and good condition. However, the compliance rate in terms of road conditions shows a downgrading trend, mainly due to lack of maintenance,” Zakonjšek said.

To overcome these issues, the Transport Community is working with counterparts on the following issues:

  1. Implement Road Action Plan actions to set up efficient maintenance systems in Western Balkans with a special focus on Road Asset Management System. Continues strengthening of the capacities of the Road Authorities..
  2. Working together as a region, sharing best practices and tackling road maintenance together, in the framework of the Network of Road Directors. Sharing resources and technologies to be up to date with the conditions of road network in Western Balkans.During Road Summit that took place last year, road directors signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together for the development of a safe, smart and sustainable road network in the region.
  3. Service Level Agreement, has the potential to become a paradigm shift in the way road maintenance is institutionalised between different players such as Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport and road authorities.

Our vision for the future is to make transport in the Western Balkans safer, smarter, greener, competitive, and sustainable. In order to change today’s approach to road maintenance, there is a need for common methodologies for planning and programming road maintenance, sound business plans based on accurate data of the network and serious commitments to be taken by all the stakeholders.