Changes to how classification of highways is decided – consultation starts

Press release 21.04.2022 10.40 fi sv en

Bus and cars at junction in Jyväskylä (Photo: Juha Tuomi / Rodeo)

Highways are classified as main roads Class I, main roads Class II, regional roads or connecting roads. In its memorandum, the Ministry of Transport and Communications proposes that decisions on the functional categories of highways would be made when final engineering plans are approved instead of by decree. The Ministry requests commends on the memorandum by 13 May 2022.

Since the 1990s, highways have been divided into functional categories that determine the maintenance of highway networks and road planning, land use planning and guidance. The functional categories indicate the role of highways and their significance as traffic arteries and links between regions. Highways are classified as main roads Class I, main roads Class II, regional roads or connecting roads depending on their transportational significance. A functional category does not alone determine road management measures, and other factors affecting the measures are road maintenance funding and traffic volumes.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications proposes in its memorandum an amendment to the legislation. As of 2019, changes to the functional categories of Finnish highways are laid down by a decree of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, according to the Act on the Transport System and Highways. The Ministry proposes that in the future decisions concerning the functional categories would be made when final engineering plans are approved. The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency approves all final engineering plans. On special grounds, the Agency may refer final engineering plans to the Ministry of Transport and Communications for approval. Updating the functional categories of highways is one of the measures of the national transport system plan for 2022.

Needs to change highway categories to be reviewed

At present, highways are classified as main roads Class I, main roads Class II, regional roads or connecting roads by decree of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

- Main roads Class I serve long-haul traffic on the national level and between provinces.

- Main roads Class II complement the network of main roads Class I and serve traffic in provinces.

- Regional roads serve transport needs in subregions and provide links to main roads Class I and Class II.

- Other highways are connecting roads.

The Ministry proposes in its memorandum that the needs to change the current functional categories of highways be examined as part of regional transport system planning. Regional surveys would serve as a basis for national proposals on necessary amendments to the functional categories of highways and on their criteria. This work would be part of preparation of the next national transport system plan.

What's next?

The deadline for comments is 13 May 2022. Organisations and private individuals are invited to comment online at www.lausuntopalvelu.fi or by email to kirjaamo.lvm@gov.fi.

The amendments would be implemented as part of a legislative project that started in spring 2022. The project will implement EU rules and the so-called smart TEN-T directive streamlining the permit-granting procedures of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). The government proposal is due to be submitted to Parliament in November 2022.

Inquiries:

Mervi Karhula, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 342 976, mervi.karhula@gov.fi (13–27 April)

Eeva Ovaska, Senior Specialist, tel. +359 295 342 113, eeva.ovaska@gov.fi (as of 28 April)