Maintenance of Forest Roads
Metsähallitus owns a total of 37,000 kilometres of forest roads and about a thousand bridges. In addition, Metsähallitus is a member in a number of private road management associations.
In recent years, Metsähallitus has invested several million euros in road repair and maintenance. The amount spent annually on the construction of new roads and bridges, rehabilitation and maintenance of roads is EUR 12–14 million. The volume of rehabilitation is about a thousand kilometres per year. Some 200 kilometres of new roads are constructed annually, although the volume is decreasing.
Road maintenance activities include grading, drainage improvement, clearing of roadside vegetation and resurfacing with gravel or crushed stone. These tasks are performed as needed.
The design, maintenance and construction of forest roads are continuously improved. Planners are using more and more modern tools, for example falling weight deflectometers to measure bearing capacity, ground-penetrating radar to survey layer thicknesses, and video interpretation to assess road geometry, drainage, surface condition and vegetation regrowth.
Only a small part of forest roads can support year-round traffic. Depending on the location, the proportion of year-round roads is 10–20 percent of the total length of the roads.
For the frost-heave season, roads that cannot bear all traffic are equipped with road signs indicating the type of vehicles allowed. Bridges that cannot carry heavy equipment are also marked with the appropriate weight limit signs. Generally, Metsähallitus does not prevent access to its roads using gates.