Scandinavia’s maintenance debt: a report

The Scandinavian road network has deteriorated over many years, and the maintenance debt continues to grow. With our knowledge and expertise, NCC has published a report which aims to clearly and concisely outline the direction of action needed.

The state of the Scandinavian roads

The Scandinavian road network is crucial for the functionality of our society. Despite this, the Scandinavian countries have allowed their infrastructure to deteriorate over many years, with the accumulated maintenance debt in Scandinavia amounting to approximately €7.8 billion - and could double to €15.6 billion by 2045 if nothing is done.

At the same time, the ongoing climate crisis means that it is crucial to reduce the climate impact of producing road materials such as asphalt. Currently, emissions from asphalt represents roughly 0.7 percent of Scandinavia’s total CO2 emissions, or approximately the combined yearly emissions from the residents of the cities of Roskilde, Ålesund and Helsingborg. The Scandinavian countries need to find a balance between increasing asphalt production for maintenance to address the poor conditions of the roads and at the same time minimizing asphalt-related emissions.

Our expertise

NCC has long played a role in the design and construction of the Scandinavian road system, and we have the expertise and knowledge to collaborate with municipalities, regions and road authorities. Our experience of working with large and complex projects, combined with a strong and local presence across Scandinavia, means that we know how to harness the advantages of a large construction and civil engineering firm on a regional scale.

Eight recommendations

With our report, we give eight recommendations on how to tackle and reduce the Scandinavian maintenance debt, while at the same reducing the climate impact of asphalt by up to 50 percent by 2045. Among these, funding for road maintenance must increase. Both transport agencies and municipalities must set clear and strict climate requirements when procuring. Bonus-malus systems should be introduced in Sweden and Denmark. For Denmark specifically, Anlægsloftet should be reformed so that is in more in line with the Danish climate goals.