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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Pé na Estrada!

I guess I got infected by the virus spread on SSC by ChrisZwolle. My mother got seriously concerned about the state of my mental health when I told her I was going to take pictures of roads for no good reason... I explained her that it is a rather common phenomenon and that it's not something perverted. I'm not sure if she got convinced. :eek:hno:


Starting with A2/E272 Vilnius-Panevezys which is one of the 2 roads in Lithuania that have a motorway ("automagistrale") status and default speed limit of 130km/h. The road is 136km long and was fully completed in 1998 (although most of it was completed in the 80's)


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Leaving Vilnius. There are a few unnecessary "70" km/h signs which are often "accompanied" by road police patrols measuring the speed


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Going North. It would take about 3 hours to reach Riga


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Road number signs


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Quality of the esphalt varies in various distances. Although they do work on improvements including reconstructions of viaducts and bridges


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A bunch of fresh Toyota Corollas underway to a showroom


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About 40km North of Vilnius


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Traffic usually isn't too high but sometimes some little "congestion" can be seen as in this case


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One of the most visually appealing parts of the road about 70km North of Vilnius near the town of Ukmerge


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Bridge over Sventoji river at about 74km North of Vilnius near Ukmerge


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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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103km North of Vilnius


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110km/h speed limits are used near bigger junctions


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End of motorway and a direction sign at the intersection with E67 Via Baltica showing directions to Riga, Siauliai, Kaunas and Panevezys


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The dual carriageway ends here and we'll carry on on a regular road which is changed to E67 also known as Via Baltica and would bring us to Riga is advancing to the North


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Fellow road cops being bored and looking for troubled drivers


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Bypass of Panevezys (E67)


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Trucks are an extremely common sight on this and all other main roads in Lithuania
 

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great broad views. Lamps looks really nice! And 130 km/h is very sexy speed - here in Latvia on equivalent roads (which are much shorter though) the limit is 110 km/h.
I heard the talk between 2 chauffeurs when I drove to Vilnius with Eurolines or Ecolines, don't remember. They said, this Panevezys-Vilnius road was built with a purpose as it would not go close to populated places, but through forests and the road is very straight too - they said that makes it very boring to drive on it, and a bit tired driver can fall asleep easily.. :)

What's that Smetonos Gimtine?

 

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Vecais Sakarnis: Yeah, it's true. It's not boring from Vilnius till middle point (Ukmergė bypass), but then later on Ukmergė-Panevėžys is really very boring, because landscape is pure flat :) Then there is just 1 way to not fall asleep - raise a speed :D
And "Smetonos Gimtinė" - is a place where Antanas Smetona was born. He was the first president of Lithuania. (between 1st and 2nd Wolrd War)
 

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Good road quality :)
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys. Glad to see there are more road-geeks over here :D

I'll post more photos of A1 (Vilnius-Klaipeda) and various other roads in different places of the country.

About the boredom of A2 to Panevezys... it's true. Although we have to consider that the whole distance from Vilnius to Paneveys is just over 130km which means that if you speed a little bit you may do it in less than an hour. That's not enough time to fall asleep :)
 

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Sweet, how fast is traffic normally running on a 130km/h road? In Norway people tend to drive much faster than the speed limits on roads with 100km/h speed limits.
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sweet, how fast is traffic normally running on a 130km/h road? In Norway people tend to drive much faster than the speed limits on roads with 100km/h speed limits.
I think traffic normally runs at about that speed i.e. 120-140km/h. Those who are on the hurry and don't want to violate the rules can safely drive at 140km/h because even if the police would measure speed (which I have never seen happening) they would probably just ignore it.

In reality it is more about your driving habits and car because the road is usually straight, asphalt quality is good and traffic not too intense which allows to drive virtually as fast as you want... even 200km/h if you drive a car like Audi A8 or Lexus LS. My mother with her Citroen C3 1.4TDI keeps it at 120-130km/h :)
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Time for some exotics now :)

In this set we'll drive from a village of Kurtuvenai in Northern Lithuania (near Siauliai) to a village of Lyduvenai (via Kelme). The whole route is as follows:

National Road 157 -> Main Road A12/E77 - > national road 157 -> regional road without a number (no asphalt :))


The purpose of this rather short trip was to see Lithuania's longest and tallest bridge. Nothing exciting but still a warm-up before advancing to the "epic" Lithuanian motorway route A1 Vilnius-Klaipeda.


So how provincial roads in Lithuania look like?

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Starting point near Siauliai on national road 157. Road quality could be best described as just about average. Ride comfort is poor unless of course you drive a Lexus LS or Citroen C6 :). This is caused by the rather uneven surface of the asphalt work. I'm just not sure if it was like this since the beginning or due to the physical deformation of the road during the years. This is a typical "bad" regional road of Lithuania. Many of those have been reconstructed which usualy includes complete renewal of the asphalt surface and widening.


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After just a few kilometers we join the A12/E77 Siauliai-Kaliningrad which is one of the major transit roads from/to Latvia and Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia via Siauliai. Quality of this road varies. A ~20km stretch near siauliai is actually a brand new expressway style dual-carriageway which is of perfect quality and could easily be upgraded to a motorway (although seemingly the transportation ministry didn't see a need for that). Further stretches vary and in this view we see a very average road quality which may look ok but makes the car wobble and shake at higher speeds (100+ km/h) which doesn't cause any danger to driving but is slightly annoying if driving for a long time and long distances.


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Audi is by far the most popular premium/luxury car brand in Lithuania. One may get an impression that it's the national car because no matter if you are rich or poor, you have an Audi. Old Audi 80 remains one of the most popular models among those who can't afford anything reasonably new (very obvious in the countryside) while all kinds of new Audis are popular among those who can afford a new car. Being a die-hard Audi fan myself I don't mind that at all. Why drive anything else if you can drive Audi? :).


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National road 157 in the town of Kelme.


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A regional road towards Lyduvenai which has no name or number... there still is a substantial number of unpaved roads like this one in the countryside. In the recent years, however, a tremendous job was done by paving several hundred kilometers of such roads (largely thanks to the EU funding of course). Overall I would say that in the last decade road quality in Lithuania improved dramanatically (not that it was really bad prior to that). Driving these days is much more of a pleasure than it was before.


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The destination - Lyduvenai Rail Bridge, the longest (only about 700m though) and tallest (~50m) bridge in Lithuania.


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Going back on A12/E77 towards Siauliai near Kelme. Speed limit is the usual 90km/h although it is safe to do 110-120km/h if traffic is not too intense.


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These trucks are most probably going to Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia.


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We'll get to see more of A12/E77 later while for now a full report of the entire A1 Vilnius-Klaipeda is underway.
 

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34.
The destination - Lyduvenai Rail Bridge, the longest (only about 700m though) and tallest (~50m) bridge in Lithuania.
OMG!! :shocked::eek2::eek::master::eek:mg:
At first, I had a thought "Why he has put picture from France or somewhere in this thread?". It took some while to understand that this is actually in Lithuania. Didn't had a clue that in Lithuania there is such a engineer technical masterpiece. Isn't it popular tourism object? Is it only for trains or people can walk on it?
 

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Nice bridge :eek:kay: but not sure if i would call it a masterpiece when there is quaite a few similar and greater railway bridges all around Europe and the world. :)
Of course, there are much greater bridges in the world, that's why I call this just masterpiece and not architectural wonder ;) In Baltic's, this is unique. Of course, if somewhere in Estonia isn't similar hidden gem.
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
By the local standards and in a flat country it is a masterpiece indeed. :)

It was first built in 1918 by Germans and at that time was one of the largest wooden bridges in Europe. Then it was bombed and later rebuilt in the current shape in the 50's by the Soviets. Too bad the only trains that go there are freight so there is no way one could see the view from up there. I'm not sure if it is a popular tourist destination by itself (there doesn't seem to be appropriate tourism infrastructure or even a cafe in the town) but there surely are people (primarily bridge/railway geeks) who come to see it.
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Carrying it on.

Perhaps the best, fastest and most exciting road connecting two most exciting destinations in Lithuania - the capital city Vilnius and the port city of Klaipeda which are separated by more than 300km.

The mother of all roads in Lithuania: A1/E85 Vilnius-Klaipeda via the second largest city Kaunas.


The road was fully completed in 1987 (the Vilnius-Kaunas stretch in 1970) and was the longest (or perhaps the only?) motorway in the USSR. It is not exactly clear why the Soviets would build a 300km long motorway in an occupied and not very "friendly" land (in addition to the A2 Vilnius-Paneveys which is 135km long) while there was hardly a single km of non-urban motorways in the rest of the vast USSR. Urban legends suggest that this was made in order to ease the movements of Soviet tanks in case of a possible invasion to Western Europe or for use as alternative runways for Soviet fighter/bomber planes. Whatever the reasons were, Lithuania got a great road which is absolutely vital to its current transportation system and economy of the whole country and is the central core of the entire road system of Lithuania connecting 3 largest cities and also serving as the main road transportation route to/from the seaport to the rest of the country and beyond (Belarus, Russia, Ukraine).




Sorry for the quality of the first pics. Light was coming from the front since it was evening and we were traveling Westwards.

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Grigiskes, a suburb of Vilnius which is divided by the road. This is perhaps the worst and most dangerous stretch of the entire A1. The good news is that the reconstruction works are starting in the stretch as we speak and should be complete in 2010


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Preparations for the works. Reconstruction will include re-pavement of the asphalt, widening (i.e. adding emergency shoulders where missing), a new 2 level junction, non-level pedestrian crossing and other works.


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After leaving Vilnius. The road is excellent quality for most of the time although at the present it does not have motorway status due to some inefficiencies (Grigiskes being the primary example). Only the Kaunas-Klaipeda stretch (~200km) has a motorway status at the present. Reconstructions were underway for years and hopefully soon we'll be able to drive 130km/h from Vilnius to Kaunas without violating the traffic regulations. I have noticed they still need to improve some exits and bus stops in order to make it suitable for a formal upgrade to a motorway. The motorway status was stripped at some point in the 90's due to the shortcomings in quality and rapidly increasing number of private cars which made it too dangerous to drive at higher speeds. Car ownership in Lithuania was just over 280 cars per 1000 of inhabitants in 2000 while in 2008 it was 509 cars per 1000 people i.e. more than 1 car per 2 inhabitants. Such rapid growth had avery negative impact on road safety
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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Some kilometers away from Vilnius


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Legal speed limit is 100km/h for most of the time although if you're not afraid of the cops it's ok to drive much faster :)


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About 50km from Vilnius near Elektrenai. Large stretches of Vilnius-Kaunas has lighting. There were plans to lit-up the entire 100km range but I'm not sure if these plans are still up... to be honest I'm not sure if this is really necessary. I absolutely have no problem driving on it in the dark


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Going towards Kaunas, about 60km from Vilnius
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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Vilnius-Kaunas stretch of the A1 is the most intensive road in Lithuania with more than 15,000 cars daily


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Near Kaunas, about 90km from Vilnius


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Kaunas. In this case the road serves as a "bypass" of the city where it also intersects with E67 Via Baltica and for a few kms is called both E85 and E67. This is also one of the busiest stretches. At the present it is 2x2 as the rest of A1 but in 2013 reconstruction of the stretch around Kaunas and widening to 3x3 lanes will start. At the present an 80km/h speed limit is implemented around Kaunas (I don't think it is really necessary though... hardly anyone keeps it)


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Pedestrian crossing near Kaunas. The white sign with black font shows directions to the districts of Kaunas city
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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The entire stretch around Kaunas is also lit up


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Still more than 200km to go.


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After Kaunas the A1 has a legal motorway status with a speed limit of 130km/h. It is also noticeably less busy than the Vilnius-Kaunas stretch. Daily number of cars is about 8-10 thousand.
 
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