Latvia Road Network

By | October 31, 2022

As of January 1, 2019, Latvia had a network of 70,936 kilometers of road, of which 55,049 kilometers are unpaved and only 15,388 kilometers are paved. The proportion of unpaved roads in Latvia is much higher than in the other Baltic states. The state highway network consists of 20,066 kilometers of road, of which 9,254 kilometers is paved, so more than 50% is unpaved (mostly gravel). The main roads (galvenie autoceļi) cover 1,673 kilometers, all of which are paved. The regional roads (reģionālie autoceļi) cover 5,453 kilometers, of which about 85% is paved. The local roads (vietējie autoceļi) cover 12,883 kilometers of road, of which only 25% is paved.

According to wholevehicles, Latvia has a somewhat denser road network than neighboring Estonia, mainly because there are more medium-sized towns. The main road network consists of A-roads that, especially around Rīga, often have highway characteristics with grade separated intersections and emergency lanes. There is not yet a real highway network, although the various roads of Rīga are connected to each other by means of a ring. The low traffic volumes do not require a large highway network. Through traffic mainly uses the A1 and A7 (E67) and the A13 in the east of the country, especially through traffic towards Moscow, which wants to avoid the route through Belarus.

The main road network is of reasonable quality, but the secondary roads need to be renovated for the most part. Traffic jams are rare in Latvia, only around and in Rīga it is a bit busier. All larger cities are connected by A-roads with Riga being the center. The secondary road network consists of P-routes and secondary roads are V-routes. The secondary road network in particular is often very poor and largely unpaved. Even in larger cities, some roads are still unpaved, which means that the road network in Latvia lags behind that of the neighboring countries of Lithuania and Estonia.

The main border crossings are the A1 with Estonia, the A7 and A8 with Lithuania and the A6 with Belarus. The A13 is also important with Russia. Wait times at the Belarusian and Russian borders are hefty, with Lithuania and Estonia no more border controls since 2007.

Secondary road network

The secondary road network consists of the P-roads (reģionālie autoceļi) and the V-roads (vietējie autoceļi), whereby the P-roads have a higher importance than the V-roads. The P-roads connect small towns with each other and with the A-roads. The V-roads are almost always of local importance and much of it is unpaved. In 2012, only 2,616 kilometers of the 13,150 kilometers of V-road were paved.

Road management

The national road authority of Latvia is Latvijas Valsts ceļi (LVC). Latvijas Valsts ceļi was created in 2004 and replaced the Latvijas Autoceļu direkcija. The LVC falls under the Ministry of Transport (Satiksmes ministrija).

Statistics

Statistics from 2018

  • Length of road network: 70,437 km
  • Number of vehicles: 1,206,928
  • Paved roads A-routes: 100%
  • Paved roads P-routes: 85%
  • Paved roads V-routes: 25%
  • Total paved roads: 22%

European roads

European roads in Latvia
E22 • E67 • E77 • E262 • E264

Signage

The signage consists of blue signs with the font in capitals (upper case). The A numbers are in a red square, similar to the A numbers in the Netherlands. However, A-roads are not always highways. Local signage consists of white signs. The signage is usually quite simple with one target per direction on thin portals or signposts in the roadside. There is, however, a newer generation of signage that has been further developed with the A and E numbers. There are also distance tables along main roads. Connections with clover loops are often indicated as such on the signage.

Road numbering

The road network is divided into A, P and V roads. The A roads are a Galvenie autoceļi and are often at least partly built to a high standard. The numbers A1 to A10 form a radial road network from the capital Rīga, except for the A4 and A5 which together form a three-quarter ring around the city. The A11 to A15 are main roads in the west and east of the country. There are no higher numbers than A15.

The P roads are regional roads, the P originally Meaning Pirmās šķiras autoceļš (first class main road), which was later renamed to Reģionālie autoceļi. However, it is not a Cyrillic P(R). There is no clear system in the numbering, but they seem to be clustered.. The V-roads are secondary roads, called Vietējie autoceļi, and are rarely marked on maps.

Toll

Freight traffic has to pay toll in Latvia by means of a vignette. The Latvian road network is toll-free for light vehicles such as passenger cars.

Between April 1 and September 30, an entrance fee must be paid to enter Jūrmala. This can be done online via an app or via a payment terminal at the A10 before entering Jūrmala.

In Latvia, the general speed limit for passenger cars is 50 km/h in built-up areas and 90 km/h outside of it. 110 km/h may be driven on motorways between 1 March and 1 December. In winter, 90 km/h applies on motorways and other roads outside built-up areas. A general speed limit of 80 km/h and 90 km/h on motorways applies to freight traffic outside built-up areas (80 in the winter). There are no motorways in Latvia.

Road safety

Year Road fatalities
2010 218
2011 179
2012 177
2013 179
2014 212
2015 188
2016 158
2017 136
2018 148
2019 132

The number of road deaths in Latvia is relatively high. Although road safety has greatly improved between 2001 and 2010, the country still has one of the highest numbers of road deaths in the European Union. Between 2001 and 2010, the number of road deaths per 1 million inhabitants decreased by 61%. Since 2010, the number of road deaths has fluctuated around the same level, a trend that is visible in many EU countries. In 2015, Latvia had the second highest number of road deaths per 1 million inhabitants in the EU.

Latvia Road Network