Concrete solutions to upgrade European roads

On 25 March 2015, EUPAVE organised a successful debate on upgrading Europe's road network. The event took place at CEMBUREAU premises in Brussels and gathered around 35 stakeholders interested in road transport. The event highlighted the importance of road infrastructure for the internal market, mobility and cohesion and discussed how to address challenges such as traffic congestion, road safety and greenhouse gas emissions.

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EUPAVE's President Stéphane Nicoud welcomed the participants and highlighted that concrete pavements can help tackle serious transport problems.

Mr. Nicoud reminded that infrastructure is one of the four main parts of the strategy for the future of EU Transport Policy contained in the European Commission's 2011 White Paper, which strives for safer road infrastructure and an effective use of existing infrastructure. While respecting the EU's technology-neutrality principle, President Nicoud expressed the hope that the Commission would take greater account of the role that road infrastructure and certain solutions may play in achieving sustainability objectives and confirmed that EUPAVE will pass on such messages in the context of the mid-term review of the White Paper.

André Burger, Vice-President of EUPAVE, presented the association and invited participants to work together with EUPAVE in promoting sustainable transport infrastructure.

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Wim Kramer from Cement&BetonCentrum presented two solutions for upgrading roads: concrete inlays and road widening. He explained that these two technologies benefit from the advantage of concrete pavements in terms of durability under heavy traffic. As forecasts say that road traffic volumes will increase, but given public budget limitations and the current high congestion levels, Mr. Kramer emphasised that these two solutions offer a real sustainable solution by extending the service life of the road network in line with European targets for transport.

A debate moderated by Vice-President Mr. Burger then took place with participants discussing the potential contribution of road infrastructure in general, and concrete roads in particular, to reducing traffic congestion, achieving CO2 emissions reductions and enhancing road safety with concrete barriers.

Closing remarks were made by Cristóbal Millán de la Lastra, Head of unit dealing with Transport issues of Connecting Europe Facility for some Member States in the European Commission's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA). Mr. Millán showed the audience that the EU institutions are active on road infrastructure via funding programmes such as Horizon 2020 and the regional funds. He acknowledged that road transport is already very efficient in comparison with other transport modes and that is why the Commission provides less funding for road construction under the Connecting Europe Facility.

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Cristóbal Millán de la Lastra, Head of unit, INEA (left)
André Burger, Vice President, EUPAVE (right)

EUPAVE Vice-President André Burger concluded the event by thanking all participants for their contributions to an interesting and positive debate.

Cristóbal Millán de la Lastra, Head of unit, INEA, and EUPAVE Members  

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Stéphane Nicoud making his presentation to the audience