Poland is planning to build a network of motorways totaling about 1,570km long, of which 900km are to be built under a concession system.
The system will first cover the A-2 and A-4 motorways heading east to west from the German border to the Vistula River and the A-1 motorway from Gdañsk to the Czech border. Investment outlays are estimated at some €8.46 billion ($7.4 billion). The estimated infrastructure needs of Central and Eastern European countries included in the 1999 Final Report of the Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment (TINA) showed that over 25% of the 18,600km of roads which need upgrading to meet European Union (EU) requirements are in Poland.
The adaptation costs were estimated at €17.8 billion (US$15.6 billion), and the EU assumes that Poland should be ready with the adaptation of its road network to Trans-European Transport Network (TEN) standards by the end of 2015. The scope of the programme adopted by the Polish government, about 13,000km of roads, followed the EU Council Directive No. 96/53/WE dated 25 July 1996. It was determined in such a way so as to make the roads functionally linked to each other and to provide road access to centres of economic and administrative activity throughout the country.
To satisfy the requirements of the EU Directive, expressways will also have to have surfaces able to withstand the load of 115kN/axle, and functionally complete the motorway network in Poland. The programme for this envisages the construction of 1,500km of roads, of which 400km are to be dual carriageway roads, while a further 2,400km of roads covered by the TINA report are to undergo surface strengthening.
The most effective manner of investment in the road network is the elimination of traffic bottlenecks. This is achieved by adjusting the geometrical parameters of a given road to traffic requirements, the modernisation of road crossings and junctions with railway tracks, the construction of hard shoulders, parallel roads and additional lanes, as well as bypasses around towns and cities. Poland has witnessed considerable progress in this field, and this is partly due to the implementation of programmes co-financed by the World Bank and the Phare Fund, which is financed by the European Communities to assist applicant countries of central Europe in their preparations for joining the EU.
Within the last two-year period (1999-2000), the construction of eight to ten new ring roads commenced each year, and the average duration of such construction projects is three years. The implementation of the Second Road Rehabilitation Project (a project co-financed by the World Bank and aimed at the elimination of traffic congestion problems in the Polish road network) is almost complete. Within the framework of that project, started in 1998 and scheduled to finish in 2003, eleven ring roads located outside the international transportation corridors are under construction.
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