Skip to content

Director General Wihlman: What happened in the transport network in 2021?

Published 16.12.2021

The objective of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is to maintain a well-functioning transport network that promotes Finland's well-being, competitiveness and sustainable growth. In 2021, roads, railways and waterways have been designed, built and renovated throughout Finland, writes Kari Wihlman, Director General of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.

Several infrastructure projects have been completed during the year, some even well ahead of time, such as the Vuosaari fairway and the Vt 4 Oulu-Kemi and Ring Road I Laajalahti projects. During the year, the Mikkeli–Juva section of Vt 5 and the Akaa Raw wood Terminal were also completed, and the new motorway Vt4 Kirri-Tikkakoski will be opened for traffic on 21 December 2021. In addition, a halt at Tesoma and a new signal box at Kerava securing railway traffic in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area were introduced. Several sections of the E18 Turku ring road are ready, the Kouvola–Kotka/Hamina railway project has progressed well and railway bridges were completed during the summer, for example.

A total of 12 new network development projects were launched during 2021. Currently, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency has just over 40 large investment projects in operation across Finland. There are about two dozen major projects in both road and rail networks and four waterway projects in progress.

Increased road user satisfaction

According to the Road User Satisfaction Survey, the satisfaction of private persons and heavy traffic operators with the condition of roads has increased from the previous year.
The clearest rise can be detected in the satisfaction with the condition of the main roads, and the satisfaction with the surface of the lower network has also improved slightly. One reason for the increase in satisfaction was certainly the record-long paving programme in 2020. The most commonly criticised area was the condition of gravel roads. The past year has been challenging for gravel roads, as the frost damage in the spring was followed by a dry summer and a rainy autumn.

Digirail proceeding

The most important railway development project in Finland in the next few years, Digirail aims at introducing a new, modern radio-based train control system throughout the Finnish railway network. At the beginning of December, Digirail took a major leap towards realisation, when the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and Fintraffic Oy signed an alliance agreement on the development and verification phase of Digirail.

Increased perseverance in transport network design and construction

In April, the Finnish Government approved the 12-year national transport system plan, which is the first long-term plan for the development of the transport system in Finland. The importance of the Transport12 plan is underlined by its political preparation in the context of broad parliamentary cooperation.

The national transport system plan will be implemented, for example, in an investment programme to be published soon. The investment programme is the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s proposal for the implementation of new railway, road and waterway projects over 2022–2029. Along with it, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency will publish its planning programme for the coming years, featuring a greater emphasis on sustainable forms of transport.

The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s investment programme and planning programme are in line with the objectives of the Transport12 plan: accessibility, sustainability and efficiency. The objectives are parallel and seek to mitigate climate change. In addition, the Transport12 plan strongly aligns the allocation of development funding.

I wish the customers, partners and other stakeholders of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency a merry Christmas and the best of success in 2021!

Väyläviraston pääjohtaja Kari Wihlman.

Kari Wihlman
Director-General, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency