Last year has gone down in history as a year when the highest number of kilometres of new fast-traffic roads (i.e. expressway and motorway) was opened for use. In terms of road infrastructure Poland use to lag behind most EU countries, but thanks to road construction boom, largely spurred by preparations for 2012 European Football Championship, Poland has caught up. This is unlikely to repeat in my lifetime, therefore it is worthwhile to document what, where and when was opened in 2012. Hope all infrastructure zealot will find this posting useful.
Below, a concise summary, mere facts, comments seldom interspersed throughout. Each entry arranged in the same order: date / road number (A stands for motorway, S denotes expressway) / section details (length, cities connected) / optional comments.
23 May 2012 / A2 / section E of Warszawa – Łódź road, linking A2-S2-S8 junction in Konotopa to Pruszków, 5 kilometres
23 May 2012 / S8 / junction Warszawa Zachód – junction Konotopa, 2 kilometres / completed in early 2011, but closed until then, as running into nowhere.
27 May 2012 / A2 / section D of Warszawa – Łódź road, between Pruszków and Grodzisk Mazowiecki, 18 kilometres
1 June 2012 / A1 / Pyrzowice Zachód – Zabrze in Upper Silesia, 28 kilometres
1 June 2012 / S1 / junction Pyrzowice – junction Pyrzowice Lotnisko, 2 kilometres
3 June 2012 / A2 / section A and B of Warszawa – Łódź road, between Stryków and junction Skierniewice, 33 kilometres, section A had a status of passable road, with speed limit of 70 kmph and temporary closures of one of roads after Euro 2012, until 15 October 2012
3 June 2012 / S11 / Poznań Skórzewo – Poznań Zachód, 6 kilometres
4 June 2012 / S5 / Gniezno – junction Poznań Wschód, 35 kilometres
6 June 2012 / A2 / section C and part of section B of Warszawa – Łódź road, between Grodzisk Mazowiecki and junction Skierniewice, 37 kilometres / opened just two days before the Euro 2012 opening ceremony, gave the roughest ride to road builders, who worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to make a deadline. The whole Poland kept track of their endeavours. Section C in June lacked the top layer of tarmac and had speed limit of 100 kmph set, the road was fully completed in October 2012. The section is also infamous for bankruptcies of COVEC, Chinese general contractor of sections A and C which went bust is 2011, having undercharged for the contract, trying to get foothold on the European market. The next general contractor, inexperienced in road building Dolnośląskie Surowce Skalne filed for bankruptcy in March 2012. The fact the road was completed in time is still considered one of biggest miracle of 2012.
9 June 2012 / S7 / southern bypass of Gdańsk, 18 kilometres / salvation for anyone who wants to pass by Gdańsk on the way to the seaside
13 July 2012 / S14 / Szynkielew III – Dobroń (near Łódź), 10 kilometres
1 August 2012 / S7 / Pasłęk – Miłomłyn, 37 kilometres
29 August 2012 / A2 / bypass of Mińsk Mazowiecki east of Warsaw, 21 kilometres
10 September 2012 / A4 / Rzeszów Centralny – Rzeszów Wschód, 7 kilometres
10 September 2012 / S19 / Rzeszów – Stobierna, 15 kilometres
12 September 2012 / S8 / Białystok – Stare Jeżewo / 25 kilometres
29 September 2012 / S51 / bypass of Olsztynek, 3 kilometres
2 October 2012 / S8 / bypass of Zambrów / 11 kilometres
6 October 2012 / S8 / junction Wrocław Psie Pole – Oleśnica Zachód, 22 kilometres
17 October 2012 / A1 / junction Bytom, merely a junction, not any section
17 October 2012 / S8 / Rawa Mazowiecka – Adamowice, 23 kilometres
28 October 2012 / S8 / Piotrków Trybunalski – Rawa Mazowiecka, 61 kilometres / nightmare on Gierkówka draws to a close… Only a short section (some dozen kilometres between Adamowice and Mszczonów) awaits completion
30 October 2012 / S11 / Poznań Suchy Las – Poznań Rokietnica, length unknown
8 November 2012 / S7 / Olsztynek – Nidzica, 28 kilometres / could have been opened 3 months earlier if it had not been for total lack of roadworks…
13 November 2012 / A1/ Stryków – Kowal in central Poland, 84 kilometres / opened with delay, the longest section of the motorway linking Gdańsk, Toruń, Łódź and Silesian conurbation opened in 2012, with 5 months delay.
29 November 2012 / A4 / Szarów – Tarnów Północ, 57 kilometres / some section are fully completed, on other traffic runs on one road, while the other is being finished, full completion scheduled for spring 2013.
30 November 2012 / A1 / Mszana Dolna – Czech border, 11 kilometres
30 November 2012 / S8 / Oleśnica Wschód – Syców, 25 kilometres / this time prime minister Donald Tusk and infrastructure minister Sławomir Nowak turned up to cut the ribbon and boast about impressive achievement of recent road construction programme. According to government’s plans, Piotrków Trybunalski and Syców should be linked by S8 expressway by the end of 2012.
This adds up to 624 kilometres, slightly less than 700 kilometres GDAKA blows through its own trumpet (put it down to rounding the figures up), yet still a lot. When making this summary, do not forget about the dark side of construction boom, which contributed to bankruptcies of many companies, their subcontractors and suppliers and sent many into serious financial distress.
Key roads awaiting completion are: A4 motorway, all sections from Tarnów to Ukrainian border, missing section of A1 between Toruń and Kowal, forsaken by bankrupt PBG-run consortium and southern bypass of Warsaw which is bound to be opened with more than 1-year delay.