Sustainable road infrastructures for Romania

Sustainable Road Infrastructures for Romania

Conferinta 1

Authorities and civil society representatives, builders, consultants and manufacturers attended the „Road infrastructure of tomorrow” a conference, organized on the 4th of October by CCIFER, the French Chamber of Commerce in Romania, on TOTAL Romania’s initiative and its director’s, Franck Haëttel.

Whether we talk about the highest fatal accidents rate in the European Union or economic attractiveness, Romania’s roads and highways are a strategic challenge for the development of the country. Facts show that road infrastructure is improving very slowly and there are many shortcomings to overcome. “In the White Book of Construction, launched in July, the French Chamber of Commerce in Romania synthesised 35 propositions from the business sector in order to unblock and encourage infrastructure projects.”, said Francois Coste, CCIFER’s President, at the opening of the conference.

“Our intention was to gather important actors in the sector and international experts to share their experience. The idea was not to point out difficulties, known by all, but rather to promote solutions”, explained Franck Haëttel. Indeed, the poor condition of many roads is not a fatality. Even if climatic conditions are extreme in Romania, they cannot be compared to those in the US state of Minnesota, where winter is much colder and summer is very hot, argued Mihai Marasteanu, Professor at the Department of Civil Environmental and Geo-engineering, at the University of Minnesota. “This is also why USA opted for the SHARP performance related specifications”, he explained. And added: “the quality of asphalt depends also mostly on the good preparation and development of the construction site”.

“The main problem in Romania is the lack of expertise and independent consultants on the market”, confirmed Emmanuel Morel from the European Investment Bank. Technical solutions already exist and are available. Polymer modified bitumen, such as Styrelf from TOTAL, can be delivered on the market, but the demand is non-existent. “Eastern European countries are generally less open to these products and it is hard for us to develop this segment in the region”, explained Angélique Brunon who represented both TOTAL and Eurobitume, the European Association of Bitumen Producers, at the conference. “The main argument we use is that such a product can prolong the lifespan of the road by 30% to 50% and save money for the state even if the product is more expensive. At the end, it is a cost-effective solution.”

Sorocam (Colas), HolcimLafarge, BASF and Egis, other sponsors of the conference, presented as well innovative solutions and good practices. In the afternoon, the Slovenian consulting company, Sloman, invited by CCIFER, presented the experience of the Slovenia’s road development project of more than 500 km of highways, as a case study.

Gradually, and following such meetings, mentalities evolve among both constructors and the authorities. A representative of the CADNR, the National Company of Motorways and National Roads, visited TOTAL’s corner at the conference and accepted the invitation of Iulian Gutu, Bitumen manager of TOTAL Romania, to visit our storage facilities in Ozun. And that’s good news!