Mild winter temperatures cause damage to roads in Finland

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Winter weather has damaged many roads. (Juha Kemppainen/Yle)
Higher summer speed limits are being rolled out nationwide on Thursday and Friday. However, damage from winter weather means that lower limits will remain in force on many sections of roads and highways until they can be repaired.

The past three winters have been particularly hard on road pavements. Wet winters with temperatures fluctuating on both sides of the freezing point have damaged even relatively fresh asphalt, leading to cracks, potholes and deep ruts.

In addition, the faster deterioration of road surfaces is in part being attributed to a lighter type of surfacing that was introduced several years ago.

Emergency repair funds are now being used for crews to fill in potholes, according to Mikael Roiha of the South Ostrobothnia office of the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. He told Yle that he hopes that new state funding now earmarked by the government for road repairs will enable a longer-term solution.

“It would be good to have one sort of normal winter. That would rescue the situation,” says Roiha.

Deadline to change tires

Winter tires are compulsory in Finland from the first of December to the end of February, but may be used until the Monday following Easter, if necessary.

Winter tires without studs – known as “traction tires” in Finland, or all-season winter tires elsewhere – may be used throughout the year, but this is not generally recommended.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Climate-driven Arctic permafrost thaw will dramatically alter northern landscapes: study, Radio Canada International

Finland: Fourth year in a row: March temperatures milder than normal in Finland, Yle News

Greenland: Arctic sea ice – Is the minimum maximum the new normal?, blog by Irene Quaile, Deutsche Welle

Norway:  January sea ice extent at record low in Barents and Kara seas, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  Siberian erosion, river runoff speeds up Arctic Ocean acidification, Alaska Dispatch News

Sweden:  How will global warming affect the average Swede?, Radio Sweden

United States:  Warming ocean waters off Alaska bring widespread ecological changes, with more expected in the future, Alaska Dispatch News

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