The French road network is managed by various entities responsible for maintenance, operation, and safety across different types of roads. These entities include local municipalities, departments, and the state. Let's explore the distribution of responsibilities based on the type of road.
Communal roads belong to the municipalities. The decisions regarding construction, maintenance, and works on these roads are made by the respective municipal councils. In some cases, this responsibility may be delegated to a Metropolis or a community of municipalities or urban areas [[SOURCE 1]].
Departmental roads can be identified by their yellow kilometer markers and their names starting with 'D' (e.g., D1, D980, etc.). These roads belong to the departments. The decisions regarding departmental roads within a department are made by the respective departmental council. To establish their road services, departments have received a transfer of personnel from the ministry responsible for infrastructure [[SOURCE 1]].
National roads can be identified by their red kilometer markers and their names starting with 'N' (e.g., N7, N21, etc.). These roads belong to the state. Under the authority of the Directorate General for Infrastructure, Transport, and the Sea, the state road services are responsible for their management, as well as the study and implementation of new national road projects [[SOURCE 1]].
Non-tolled highways are highways that do not require a toll. These highways also belong to the state. The state road services, under the authority of the Directorate General for Infrastructure, Transport, and the Sea, are responsible for their management as well [[SOURCE 1]].
Tolled highways are highways that require a toll. These highways also belong to the state. However, the state entrusts the financing, construction, maintenance, and operation of these highways to concessionaire companies for a specified duration in exchange for toll collection. The Directorate General for Infrastructure, Transport, and the Sea is responsible for the contracting and management of concession agreements. It also ensures that the concessionaire companies fulfill their obligations [[SOURCE 1]].
State Road Services
The state road services are responsible for the construction and maintenance of the non-tolled national road network, which includes highways and national roads. In 2006, 11 interdepartmental road directorates (DIR) were created to manage the non-tolled state road network based on major itineraries. These professional services have a high level of technical expertise and ensure a more consistent level of service compared to the former departmental directorates of equipment, which were abolished with decentralization. The state road services have three main missions:
- Road Operation: This includes network monitoring, traffic management, information provision, accident response, and ensuring road viability, especially during winter [[SOURCE 1]].
- Road Maintenance: This includes maintaining road surfaces and their dependencies (shoulders, ditches, basins, plantations), service areas, structures (bridges, viaducts, tunnels, walls), and road equipment (signage, restraint systems, surveillance devices) [[SOURCE 1]].
- Road Engineering: This involves conducting project studies and overseeing the execution of new infrastructure works at the request of project management services [[SOURCE 1]].
Units of Project Management
The Units of Project Management (UMO) within the Regional Directorates for the Environment, Planning, and Housing (DREAL) or the Regional Directorates for the Environment, Planning, and Housing in the case of Île-de-France, Guyane, and Mayotte, play a role in the modernization of the national road network at the regional level. These units, under the authority of the regional prefects, are responsible for investment programming within the framework of State-Region Contracts (CPER). They also facilitate consultations and studies to make decisions on projects and oversee project management, often in collaboration with the state road services, for the design and monitoring of works [[SOURCE 1]].
Concessionaire companies are responsible for the financing, construction, maintenance, and operation of tolled highways. These companies are entrusted with these responsibilities by the state for a specified duration in exchange for toll collection. The state ensures the proper execution of concession contracts and monitors the compliance of concessionaire companies with their obligations [[SOURCE 1]].
The French road network is managed by different entities depending on the type of road. Communal roads are the responsibility of municipalities, departmental roads are managed by departments, and national roads and non-tolled highways are under the management of the state. Tolled highways are also owned by the state but are operated by concessionaire companies. The state road services play a crucial role in the construction, maintenance, and operation of the national road network, ensuring the safety and efficiency of road transportation in France.