Ljubljana, 06 January (STA) - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) voiced protests Monday against plans by the national Roads Agency to impose weight limits on 15 bridges that it deems too dangerous to be used by heavy lorries. The move would cause a logistics nightmare for many companies, the chamber said.
Its comments come after Dnevnik reported in late December that lorries would be restricted from the end of January on 15 road sections across the country with structurally weakened bridges that will not be repaired due to lack of funds.
Some of the sections are key for major companies, in particular the main road leading from the motorway north into Velenje, the headquarters of home appliances maker Gorenje, and several medium-sized firms in Pivka.
Lorries heading towards Gorenje, for example, would be limited to 25 tonnes. The vehicles would have to use side roads, which would significantly increase costs and delivery times.
The GZS said it was "appalled at the conduct of the ministry [of infrastructure], which is waiving its obligation to maintain road infrastructure." They demand that the bridges be immediately repaired.
Similarly, hauliers that are part of the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Businesses (OZS) have said the restrictions would impose additional costs.
The decision for the weight restrictions is the direct consequence of austerity measures.
The Roads Agency lost EUR 64m in 2014 over 2013 due to spending cuts, leading to the decision to suspend activity on over 700 ongoing projects.
But funding for road maintenance had been dropping for years before that. The Roads Agency estimates its funding has been cut by a cumulative EUR 500m in the past five years.