Number of critical points on Brazilian highways increases by 50%

Number of critical points on Brazilian highways increases by 50%

Among the main problems are falling barriers, fallen and narrow bridges, erosion on the track, and large holes.

2022 counted 2.610 critical points on Brazilian highways, related to infrastructure problems that interfere with vehicle fluidity, jeopardize people’s safety, increase the possibility of accidents and generate additional transport costs. This number is 50% higher than in 2021, when 1.739 occurrences were recorded. The problems are serious, as they multiply every year and are mostly concentrated on highways under public management.

The data are part of Road Transport study – Critical Points on Brazilian Highways, launched by the National Transport Confederation (CNT), a document that brings the historical series of critical points identified in the CNT Survey of Highways from 2012 to 2021, complemented by an edition of CNT Transport Radar, with updated data for 2022.

The publication shows an overview of the Brazilian road network degradation: in 2012, the user found, on average, a critical point every 372.4 kilometers traveled; in 2022, it started to encounter an occurrence every 44 kilometers. Still in 2022, Minas Gerais was the Federation Unit that stood out in terms of barrier falls (123) and erosion on the track (182). Pará had the highest record of large holes (291).

In general, public state highways stood out negatively regarding critical points density. In 2021, for example, CE-183, PA-447 and MA-303 highways stood out, with, respectively, 4.83, 4.29 and 3.23 critical points per 10 kilometers surveyed – all of these cases being stretches with occurrences of large holes. 

In addition to the historical series, the study also presents characteristics and causes of the critical points emergence, as well as the actions necessary to solve them, which include emergency measures to be adopt when a critical point arises and general guidelines on how to correct it.

To solve the problems identified in 2021, an investment of R$ 1.81 billion was estimated. Most of it would need to be allocated to interventions in segments with large holes. As the occurrences continued and new ones emerged, in 2022 the amount increased to R$ 5.24 billion, which represents about 28% of all the resources allocated to the then Ministry of Infrastructure – provided for in the Annual Budget Law (LOA) 2023.

Managing and monitoring the highways goes beyond infrastructure conservation. It has positive effects on society, as the investment in maintenance works and critical points prevention, or in an immediate problem correction, in general, is less than the costs generated by it for society as a whole.

By: Santelmo Camilo