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Polish motorway and expressway network. Legend:
  Under construction
Full planned network of motorways (red) and expressways (orange)
Development of the motorway and expressway network in Poland since 1932. Legend:
  Under construction
Development of the motorway and expressway network in Poland

Highways in Poland are public roads designed to carry large amounts of traffic.

Limited-access highways are part of the national roads network and are divided into motorways and expressways. They feature physical separation of traffic, two-level interchanges with other roads, emergency lanes, feeder lanes, and dedicated roadside rest areas. Motorways differ from expressways in technical parameters, like designated speed, permitted road curvature or minimal distances between interchanges. Moreover, expressways might have single carriageway (as of 2019, about 5% of the highways are single-lane expressways) and might admit a one-level intersection with a minor public road in exceptional cases (in practice, reconstruction of the last such expressway has begun in May 2019[1][2]).

Except for the single-carriageway expressways, both types of highways generally fulfill the definition of a motorway as characterized by OECD, WRA or Vienna Convention. Speed limits in Poland are 140 km/h on motorways and 120 km/h on dual-carriageway expressways.

As of January 2019, there are 1,645 km (1,022.16 mi) of motorways and 2,152.2 km (1,337.32 mi) of expressways in operation (47% of the intended network), while contracts for construction of further 1,233 km (766.15 mi)[3] of motorways and expressways (15% of the intended network) are ongoing.

A1 - A4 Gliwice-Sośnica Interchange
A1 - A2 Łódź Północ Interchange
A4 in Zabrze
A8 in Wrocław

Definitions of highways according to Polish lawEdit

The 21 March 1985 Public Roads Act, with later amendments, defines the motorways and expressways as follows:

  •  A motorway is a public road with limited access which is designated for motor vehicles only, and features at least two continuous lanes in each direction which are divided by a barrier. They have no one-level interchanges with all the intersecting roads with the land and water transport. They are equipped with roadside rest areas, which are intended only for users on the motorway.

Three motorways are intended to span the country: A1 (running from Gdańsk to Czech border), A2 (from German border to Belarusian border) and A4 (from German border to Ukrainian border), with three additional short motorway stretches: A6, A8 and A18. As of 2019, A4 and A8 are completed on the whole intended length. A6 is set to be fully completed by 2020,[4] A1 by 2022,[5] A18 by 2023[6] and A2 by 2025.[7] Some motorway stretches are tolled, others are free of charge. Motorways are the only roads in Poland which use blue background on road signs - others use green road signs.

  •  An expressway is a public road with limited access which is designated for motor vehicles only, and is marked with one or two continuous divided lanes in each direction. They have no one-level interchanges with the intersecting roads with the land and water transport, intersections with minor public roads being allowed in exceptional cases. They are equipped with roadside rest areas, which are intended only for users on the expressway.

Major expressways (over 200 km of intended length) - in various stages of use, construction, or planning - are S3, S5, S7, S11, S17, S19 and S61 running north to south, and S6, S8, S10, S12, S16 and S74, running east to west. Several additional shorter expressways complete the planned network.

Technical parametersEdit

The parameters of these roads are determined by the ministry ordinance of 2 March 1999 (with later amendments).[8] Expressways are different from motorways mainly in that:

  1. Expressways can have a single carriageway. As of 2019, 91% of expressways are dual carriageway, and 9% single carriageway.
  2. Expressways can have narrower lanes (3.5 m vs 3.75 m). Emergency lanes can also be narrower, and in exceptional situations expressways might not have them at all.
  3. Motorways can have interchanges only with main roads and the spacing between interchanges should not be less than 15 km (exceptionally 5 km); or not less than 5 km (exceptionally 3 km) within borders or near a big city or a group of cities. Expressways can have interchanges more often.
  4. In exceptional situations, expressways can admit a one-level junction with minor public roads. As of 2019, the last such expressway in Poland is S3 east of Szczecin.
  5. Expressways are designated for lower speed than the motorways (for example, the road curvature can be higher).
  6. Expressways may be constructed as an upgrade of an existing national road (nonetheless, most modern projects are planned and built as a separate road rather than just as an addition of the lanes to the existing one). Motorways can't be built as an upgrade of a national road but only as a separate road, while the old road must be kept as an alternative.

Substandard highwaysEdit

Motorways and expressways constructed before 1999 do not have to fulfill technical parameters listed in the ordinance. There are four notable cases of substandard highways in Poland:

  • A4 on the section KrzyżowaWrocław (103 km (64 mi)) was constructed in years 1934 – 1937 (then the territory of Nazi Germany) and renovated in years 2002 – 2006. The road received new high quality surface but the geometry was kept unchanged and many overpasses above the motorway were kept. In effect, this part has no emergency lanes (which by current standards is only occasionally allowed on expressways and never on motorways) and speed limit is decreased to 110 km/h. A contract for preparing technical documentation for the section's full reconstruction (and widening to three lanes per direction) was signed in 2019.[9]
  • A6 near Szczecin was constructed by Nazi Germany and while most of it was reconstructed in years 1996 – 1999, a short fragment (5 km (3.11 mi)) still has the original surface from 1930s. Despite very low quality nowadays, this section formally retained an expressways status. Its reconstruction has started in 2017 and will finish in 2020.[4][10]
  • A18 (70 km (43 mi)) had its southern carriageway constructed by Nazi Germany. A high quality northern carriageway was constructed in 2006, but southern carriageway still has the original surface made of concrete slabs. Due to very low quality of this carriageway, the route is marked as national road 18 and will only receive a status of A18 after reconstruction scheduled for years 2020 – 2023.[6]
  • S3 near Szczecin (19 km (12 mi)) was opened in 1979 and has kept its expressway status despite having two at-grade road intersections. Its reconstruction has started in 2019 and will finish in 2021, which will mark the moment when no more expressways with at-grade intersections are left in Poland.[1]

Maximum speed allowed on highwaysEdit

Maximum speed (km/h)
Vehicle Motorway 2-lane expressway 1-lane expressway
  • Private car, motorbike, van up to 3.5 t (does not apply if towing trailer)
140 120 100
  • Bus meeting additional technical requirements
  • Truck or van over 3.5 t, bus
  • Vehicle signed as carrying e.g. dangerous, fragile articles
  • Car, motorbike, van or bus towing trailer
  • Vehicle having equipment more than 1.5 m forward of the driver's seat
  • Motorbike (including towing trailer) carrying a child up to 7 years-old
Not allowed on motorways: pedestrians, bikes, mopeds, agricultural vehicles. Minimal speed on motorways is 40 km/h unless there are any extraordinary circumstances (e.g., snow, ice, or a car broken down). It is forbidden to stop except extraordinary situations, or travel backwards. Towing is not allowed on motorways, but is permitted on expressways. Roads are protected from animals crossing the road.


All expressways are free of payment for vehicles up to 3.5 tons, as are secondary motorways A6, A8 and A18.

Primary motorways A1, A2 and A4 are planned as tolled (some parts are already such). There are two systems of collecting tolls:

Open systemEdit

In this system money is only paid at the toll booths put across the road. Different payment is due according to the type of the vehicle. It is relatively cheap to operate, but it forces drivers to stop at each toll booth, thus lowering the capacity of a motorway. For example, the Greater Poland part of A2 has all of its toll booths spaced approx. 50 km apart.

Closed systemEdit

In this system, there are toll stations on every interchange both entering and exiting the motorway, as well as toll booths on the motorway at the ends of the tolled section. In this case the driver receives a ticket upon entering the motorway and pays at either toll station while exiting the motorway or at the toll booth at the end of the tolled section, with the price dependent on the distance driven. This system is more expensive at building and maintenance, but allows much larger distances between toll booths across the motorway.

Tolled sectionsEdit

The following list of tolled sections is valid as of April 2019, and only applies to vehicles up to 3.5 tons. The prices listed apply to passenger cars driving the section's whole length.

Motorway with toll areas
Tolled motorways are indicated by the word 'Płatna'. Such a sign warns that one will meet a toll station if continuing along the motorway.

viaTOLL payment systemEdit

This sign shows the cars weighing over 3.5 tons are obliged to pay on this road using the viaTOLL system

From 1.07.2011 all vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tons are obliged to have a special viaTOLL apparatus. On the chosen roads (some motorways, expressways and national roads) the special electronic readers are installed. They connect to the apparatus in the vehicle in a wireless way, and they also count the toll the vehicle has to pay. It is possible to buy it on some petrol stations or at the special points of selling. If the apparatus isn't at the place, fines are applied:

  • 1500 PLN if the car is heavier than 12 tons
  • 750 PLN if the car is heavier than 3.5 tons but lighter than 12 tons.

Planned Electronical Toll Collection SystemEdit

In 2014 the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development has uncovered the plans to imply the Electronical Toll Collection System. The new plans were made because of the big problems concerning the Manual Toll Collection System. At the time while there is a huge flow of traffic (especially in the holiday period), there are long queues to the toll booths, which, according to some reports, reached up to 10 km. Drivers in these cases are forced to wait 2 hours to pay the toll at the toll booths. That was the reason the works to construct the toll booths on A4 were suspended, even though there were some stages of construction in progress.

The situation wasn't much relieved even after the toll booths had separated a special lane for those vehicles that have been registered into the ViaAuto system. It came out even worse. A lot of experts tell it is one lane less for those paying traditionally.

At those times a few simple solutions were introduced, for example the cashiers themselves giving the tickets. Next solution came from the Council of Ministers, which claimed that the motorway will be free from the day they gave out the decision (06.08.2014) to the end of the summer holidays (it only concerned the period from 4.00 p.m. on Friday to midnight from Sunday to Monday).

Now the ministry is working on the system new electronic system. According to different concepts, there are two options - either the full liquidation of the toll booths or their reconstruction. The reconstructed toll booths had then the toll applied via the viaTOLL system, so every vehicle must have had the viaTOLL apparatus, as the cars and trucks heavier than 3.5 tons have. Taking into account that not every driver drives regularly on the motorway, there must have been an online registration for light cars introduced. After that, when any car would arrive to such a toll booth, the registration plate will be scanned in order to recognise the car. The implication, however, will become true after signing of agreements with private concessionaires first.

List of Polish motorways and expressways with progress of constructionEdit

In May 2004, the Council of Ministers of Poland published a document including the planned highway network, the length of which was about 7,200 km (4,474 mi) and contained most of the highways in plans today. More notable among the changes introduced in later amendments include re-routing S8 and adding S61 instead (2009, a change related to the Rospuda Valley conflict),[11] introducing S16 (2015, 2016), S52 (2016) and A50/S50 (2019),[12] as well as extending S5 to Ostróda (2015) and to Bolków (2019), S10 to Wołomin (2015) and S8 to Kłodzko (2019).[13][12]

The following table summarizes the progress of construction of the motorway and expressway network, as of 10th October 2019:[a][14][15][16][17]

Sign Route Location Total length Existing In realisation Of which under active construction Tender Pre­design complete In predesign[b] Comple­tion
  Gdańsk (S6) - Grudziądz (S5) - Toruń (S10) - Łódź (A2/S8) - Gliwice (A4) -  /  (Ostrava)   566.6 km 461 km 81.4% 24.9 km
+ 64.8 km
reconstruction of a dual carriageway highway from 1970s to motorway standard
+ 15.9 km
upgrade of a substandard motorway from 1980s
   /  (Berlin) - S3 - Poznań (S5/S11) - Łódź (A1/S14) - Warsaw (S7/S8/S17) -  /  (Minsk)   624.9 km 475 km 76% 14.6 km 37.5 km 97.8 km 2025
   /  (Dresden) - Legnica (S3) - Wrocław (A8) - Opole - Gliwice (A1) - Katowice (S1) - Kraków (S7) - Rzeszów (S19) -  /  (Lviv)   672 km 672 km
(of these, 103 km substandard: no emergency lanes)
100% (103 km)
reconstruction to full motorway standard
   /  (Berlin)Rzęśnica (S3) Szczecin
(southern bypass)
29 km 24.35 km 83.97% 4.65 km
reconstruction of existing very bad quality section from 1930s
  Bielany Wrocławskie (S8)Wrocław (S8) Wrocław
(western bypass)
22.7 km 22.7 km 100% 2011
 /  (Berlin)Krzyżowa (A4)   76.5 km 7 km
+ 69.5 km north carriageway[d]
54.77% 33.6 km south carriageway 35.9 km south carriageway 2023
(reconstruction of existing very bad quality carriageway from 1930s)
  CPK (A2)Mińsk Mazowiecki (A2) Warsaw 2nd ring, southern half ca. 100 km Not before 2029[18]
In total,
as of 10 October 2019
2,091.7 km (1,299.7 mi) 1,662.05 km (1,032.7 mi)
+ 69.5 km 1st carriageway
81.12% 124.85 km (77.6 mi) 37.5 km (23.3 mi)
+ 33.6 km 2nd carriageway
0 km 97.8 km (60.8 mi)
+ 35.9 km 2nd carriageway
1) Completed expressways
Sign Route Location Total length Existing
main section
Wrocław (A8) - Łódź (A1) - Piotrków Trybunalski - Warsaw (A2/S7/S17) - Ostrów Maz. (S61) - Białystok (S19)   533.6 km[f] 533.6 km 100%
  Elbląg /  (Kaliningrad Oblast)   48.6 km 48.6 km
1 carriageway
  Olsztyn (S16) – Olsztynek (S7)   35.1 km 35.1 km 100%
  Warsawairport – S2 Warsaw 4.3 km 4.3 km 100%
  KatowiceSosnowiec Upper Silesia 6.8 km 6.8 km 100%
2) Expressways fully under development
(100% of a section's length either completed or in realisation)
Sign Route Location Total length Existing In realisation[g] Of which under active construction Contracted completion date Other
  Konotopa (A2) – Majdan (A2) Warsaw
(southern bypass)
34.8 km 14.6 km 42% 20.2 km 2020
main section
Szczecin (A6) - Gorzów Wielkopolski - Jordanowo (A2) - Zielona Góra - Lubin - Legnica (A4) -  /  (Prague)   369.6 km[h] 323.2 km
+ 0.6 km
1st carriageway
87.5% 31.4 km
+ 0.6 km
2nd carriageway
0.6 km 2nd carriageway 2018
to Legnica
to the border
14.4 km
Salini Impregilo thrown out from the contract for extensive delays. Tender for completion.
main section
Grudziądz (A1) - Bydgoszcz (S10) - Gniezno - Poznań (A2/S11) - Leszno - Wrocław (A8)   338.3 km[i] 159.4 km
+ 12.8 km
1st carriageway
49% 94.7 km
+ 12.8 km
2nd carriageway
2020 71.4 km
Impresa Pizzarotti and Toto Costruzioni thrown out from four contracts for extensive delays. Tenders for completion.
  S8 - Pabianice - Zgierz - A2 Łódź
(western bypass)
41.4 km 12.9 km 31.2% 28.5 km 12.2 km 2023
middle section
Warsaw (A2) – Lublin (S12/S19)   109.3 km[j] 68.2 km 62.4% 41.1 km
middle section
Lublin (S12/S17) - Stalowa Wola - Rzeszów (A4)
(part of Via Carpathia)
  158 km[k] 12.9 km
+ 16.3 km
1st carriageway[l]
13.3% 128.8 km 33.1 km 2022 16.3 km
2nd carriageway
part 2
Kraków-Balice (A4) – Kraków‑Mistrzejowice (S7) Kraków
(northern bypass)
18.3 km 5.8 km 31.4% 12.5 km
+ 2.3 km to be upgraded
  Ostrów Mazowiecka (S8) - Łomża - Ełk (S16) - Suwałki -  /  (Kaunas)
(Via Baltica)
  214.2 km 25.6 km
+ 14.5 km
1st carriageway
15.3% 130.4 km
+ 14.5 km
2nd carriageway
8 km
2nd carriageway
2021 43.7 km
Impresa Pizzarotti thrown out from the contract for delays. Rubau's contract aborted. Tenders for completion.
3) Expressways partially in development
Sign Route Location Total length Existing In reali­sation Of which under active construction Tender Pre­design complete In predesign[b] Planned comple­tion[20][18]
  Pyrzowice (A1) - Mysłowice (A4) - Bielsko-Biała (S52) - Zwardoń -  /  (Žilina)   144 km 62.3 km
+ 26.7 km
1st carriageway
52.5% 4.8 km
+ 3.7 km 1st c/w
+ 9.7 km 2nd c/w
9.7 km 2nd carriageway 2023
(+ 44 km)
non‑expressway dual carriageway
(83.1%) 40 km
(new route)
6.5 km
  Northern end:
ŚwinoujścieSzczecin/Rzęśnica (A6)
  85.3 km 28.4 km
+ 5.4 km 1st carriageway
(of these, 19 km substandard: two at‑grade intersections)
36.5% 22.4 km
+ 19 km upgrade of a substandard expressway from 1970s
29.1 km
+ 5.4 km
2nd carriageway
  Szczecin (A6) - Goleniów (S3) - Koszalin (S11) - Słupsk - Gdańsk (A1)[m]   432.6 km 176.7 km
+ 9.4 km
1st carriageway
41.9% 50.2 km 18.8 km 125 km
+ 9.4 km
2nd c/w
49 km 2027
  Gdańsk (A1)[m] - Elbląg (S22) - Olsztynek (S51) - Warsaw (A2/S8) - Radom (S12) - Kielce (S74) - Kraków (A4) - Rabka-Zdrój   ca. 674 km 413.9 km 61.4% 138.5 km 28.1 km 18.7 km 5.3 km 2024
(+ 97 km)
non‑expressway dual carriageway
(75.8%) 5 km
+ 17.7 km
(new route)
5 km
+ 2.9 km
(new route)
24.9 km
22.1 km
(reconstruction + new route)
+ 6.6 km
for completion
(new route)
+ ca. 25 km
No progress
4) Planned expressways
Sign Route Total length Existing In reali­sation Of which under active construction Tender Pre­design complete In predesign[b] Preliminary works[n] Planned comple­tion [20][18][22]
  Eastern extension[o]:
Ostróda (S7) – Grudziądz (A1)
ca. 104.3 km 8.7 km 8.4% 5.6 km ca. 90 km N/A
Western extension[p]:
Bolków (S3) – Świdnica – S8
ca. 55 km 0 km 0% ca. 55 km
No progress
  Southern extension[p]:
KłodzkoWrocław (A8)
ca. 82.4 km 5.1 km 6.2% ca. 77.3 km Not before 2026
  Szczecin (A6) - Piła (S11) - Bydgoszcz (S5) - Toruń (A1) - Płock - Płońsk / Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki (S7) ca. 438 km 30.4 km
+ 25.5 km
1st carriageway
9.9% 6.4 km
2nd carriageway
17.8 km
Energopol Szczecin thrown out for delays. Tender for completion awaited.
ca. 229 km
+ 19.1 km
2nd carriageway
ca. 135 km Not before 2028
  Koszalin (S6) - Piła (S10) - Poznań (A2/S5) - Ostrów Wielkopolski - Kępno (S8) - Tarnowskie Góry - A1 ca. 575.5 km 66.4 km
+ 8.6 km
1st carriageway
12.3% 42.6 km
+ 3.6 km
1st carriageway
17.8 km
+ 3.6 km
1st carriageway
47.7 km 3.8 km
1st c/w
ca. 403 km
+ 16 km
2nd carriageway
Not before 2026
  Piotrków Trybunalski (A1) - Sulejów (S74) - Radom (S7) - Puławy - Lublin (S17/S19) ca. 344 km 67 km
+ 7.5 km
1st carriageway
29.5% ca. 165.5 km
+ 7.5 km
2nd carriageway
Not before 2026
Lublin (S17/S19) - Chełm -  /  (Kyiv) 29.4 km 28.3% 74.5 km 2025
  Olsztyn (S51) - Ełk (S61) - Białystok (S19) ca. 208 km 15.7 km
+ 17.3 km
1st carriageway
11.7% 3.5 km 13.1 km ca. 158.2 km
+ 17.3 km
2nd carriageway
Not before 2027
  Warsaw eastern bypass 17.3 km 0 km 0% 3.5 km 13.8 km 2025
Eastern section:
Lublin (S12/S19) - Zamość -  /  (Lviv)
126 km 2 km
1st carriageway
0.78% 9.6 km 1st carriageway 124.4 km
+ 9.6 km
2nd carriageway
  Northern section:  /  (Minsk) - Białystok (S8) - Lublin (S12/S17)
(mostly a part of Via Carpathia)
ca. 327 km 14.5 km
1st carriageway
2.2% 240 km
+ 14.5 km
2nd carriageway
+ ca. 72.5 km
Southern section: Rzeszów (A4) -  /  (Košice)
(part of Via Carpathia)
96.6 km 11.4 km 11.8% 10.2 km 75 km 2025
  CPK (A2)Mińsk Mazowiecki (A2)
(Warsaw 2nd ring, northern half)
ca. 140 km 0 km 0% ca. 140 km Not before 2029
 part 1  /  (Brno/Ostrava) - Cieszyn - Bielsko-Biała (S1) - Wadowice - Głogoczów (S7) 98 km 37 km 37.8% 61 km Not before 2026
  Sulejów (S12) - Kielce (S7) - Sandomierz - Nisko (S19) ca. 210.6 km 6.8 km 3.2% 114.8 km Not before 2026
+ ca. 89 km Not before 2028
In total,[14][15][16][17]
as of 8 August 2019
ca. 6,070.9 km (3,772.3 mi) 2,036.7 km (1,265.5 mi)
+ 209.7 km
1st carriageway
35.28% 1,026.9 km (638.086 mi)
+ 13.2 km
1st carriageway
+ 44 km
2nd carriageway
425.3 km (264.3 mi)
+ 13.2 km
1st carriageway
+ 37.5 km
2nd carriageway
114.8 km (71.3 mi)
+ 3.7 km
1st c/w
135.2 km (84.0 mi)
+ 3.8 km
1st c/w
+ 9.4 km
2nd c/w
2,074.3 km (1,288.9 mi)
+ 105.7 km
2nd carriageway
365 km (227 mi) No progress:
80 km (50 mi)
+ 71.3 km 2nd c/w[q]
Highway type Planned length Existing In realisation[g] Of which under active construction Tender Predesign complete In predesign Pre­li­minary works No progress
as of 8 August 2019
2,091.7 km (1,299.7 mi) 1,662.05 km (1,032.7 mi)
+ 69.5 km 1st carriageway
81.12% 124.85 km (77.6 mi) 33.6 km 2nd carriageway 37.5 km (23.3 mi) 97.8 km (60.8 mi)
+ 35.9 km
2nd carriageway
100 km (62 mi)
as of 8 August 2019
ca. 6,070.9 km (3,772.3 mi) 2,036.7 km (1,265.5 mi)
+ 209.7 km
1st carriageway
35.28% 1,026.9 km (638.086 mi)
+ 13.2 km 1st c/w
+ 44 km 2nd c/w
425.3 km (264.3 mi)
+ 13.2 km 1st c/w
+ 37.5 km 2nd c/w
114.8 km (71.3 mi)
+ 3.7 km
1st carriageway
135.2 km (84.0 mi)
+ 3.8 km 1st c/w
+ 9.4 km 2nd c/w
2,074.3 km (1,288.9 mi)
+ 105.7 km
2nd carriageway
365 km (227 mi) 80 km (50 mi)
+ 71.3 km
2nd carriageway
Total ca. 8,162.6 km (5,072.0 mi) 3,698.7 km (2,298.3 mi)
+ 272.8 km
1st carriageway
46.98% 1,151.7 km (715.6 mi)
+ 57.2 km
1 carriageway
550.15 km (341.8 mi)
+ 50.7 km
1 carriageway
114.8 km (71.3 mi)
+ 37.3 km
1 carriageway
172.7 km (107.3 mi)
+ 13.2 km
1 carriageway
2,172.1 km (1,349.7 mi)
+ 141.6 km
2nd carriageway
465 km (289 mi) 80 km (50 mi)
+ 71.3 km
2nd carriageway
  1. ^ Motorway table is updated continuously. Major changes in expressway network (e.g. openings of long fragments of a road, signing the last contract of a given section) are accounted continuously, while a general update including all the details for expressways is done every several months (last: August 8th). 'In total' length statistic for expressways is always kept consistent as of the last general update, and might hence not be the exact sum of the current state of the table.
  2. ^ a b c
      Dark: All fragments are in late predesign phase, i.e. having obtained environmental decision (0–2 years to finish).
      Medium: All fragments either have obtained, or are in the process of obtaining env. decision.
      Light: At least some fragments are in the early predesign stage (Polish: STEŚ).
  3. ^ A18 is not signed as a motorway except for a short section where both carriageways have been reconstructed.
  4. ^ Unlike in case of other highways where the 1st constructed carriageway carries bidirectional traffic, DK18/A18 is open in 2×2 profile: west-bound traffic is carried by the new motorway carriageway and east-bound traffic is carried by the old low quality carriageway.
  5. ^ Some expressways (like S12/S17/S19 on Lublin bypass) can overlap. The table shows data without overlapping sections such that each fragment is counted exactly once, in accordance with how they are attributed in the ministry ordinance,[19] i.e. each common section is attributed to the road with the lower number (in case of two expressways overlapping) or to a motorway (in case of a motorway and an expressway overlapping).
  6. ^ Aggregate length for S8 including Kłodzko extension (added to plans in 2019): 616 km (Completed: 87.5%)
  7. ^ a b Sections under active construction and sections under a joint Design & Build contract.
  8. ^ Aggregate length for all parts of S3: 454.9 km (Completed: 78%, in realisation: 15%)
  9. ^ Aggregate length for S5 including Ostróda and Bolków extensions (added to the plans in 2015/2019): 493.1 km (Completed: 37%, in realisation: 33.4%)
  10. ^ Aggregate length for all parts of S17: 252.6 km (Completed: 22.2%, in realisation: 24.7%)
  11. ^ Aggregate length for all parts of S19: 581.6 km (Completed: 7.1%, in realisation: 22.1%)
  12. ^ An interchanging 2+1 profile.
  13. ^ a b According to the ordinance, a fragment of S6 (1st Tricity bypass) is ultimately to become a section of S7 after 2nd Tricity bypass (S6) is constructed. Until the actual relabelling takes place, this fragment is being accounted to S6 and not to S7 in the table.
  14. ^ Analysis determining the optimal corridor for the planned highway (Polish: Studium Korytarzowe)
  15. ^ Added to the plans in 2015
  16. ^ a b Added to the plans in 2019
  17. ^ Single carriageway expressways which are currently not planned for widening to dual carriageways: 48.6 km of S22, 20.7 km of S1, 2 km of S17.


The network planned prior to WWII

Before World War IIEdit

The first plans of creation of a national highway network in Poland were conceived in the interwar period. The main promoter of this concept was Professor Melchior Wladyslaw Nestorowicz of the Warsaw University of Technology, who organized three Road Congresses, during which a group of specialists discussed the creation of the network. On March 5, 1939, in the trade magazine Drogowiec, Professor Nestorowicz proposed a very ambitious plan for the construction of almost 5,000 kilometres of category I and II roads, based on similar programmes in Germany and Italy.[23] Nestorowicz sketched a map of the future system with the following routes:

First class roads would, according to the plans, consist of the following motorways (totalling some 2,500 km (1,553.43 mi):

Second class roads would consist of the following motorways, totalling another 2,295 km (1,430 mi):

Between 1937 and 1939, a 28 km part between Warlubie and Osiek was built in the time's motorway standard (today not considered as a highway) with a concrete surface, which was designed by Italian engineer Piero Puricelli. This section is now part of voivodeship road 214. The motorway was planned to reach Gdynia, but the outbreak of the Second World War halted the plans.

At the same time, Nazi Germany started the construction of parts of their motorway system, which today form A18 and A4 to Wrocław (Breslau), A6 as the Szczecin bypass (part of the planned motorway to Königsberg) and S22 (also part of the same road to Königsberg). These sections were constructed between 1934 and 1938, about half of them as single-carriageway with the intention of adding a second carriageway later. After 1938, warfare expenses meant little money would be invested into any infrastructure. Only one 9 km single-carriageway piece of what is now A4 motorway west of Gliwice was constructed.

Given to the usage till 1972
Signage Section Length Date of the beginning of construction Date of opening Notes
  Krzywa-Bielany Wrocławskie 91 km (56.54 mi) 1934 27 September 1936
Krzywa-Krzyżowa 12.3 km (7.64 mi) 17 October 1937
Bielany-Wrocławskie-Brzeg(Owczary) 34.1 km (21.19 mi) 1938 Southern carriageway only
Ujazd(Nogowczyce)-Łany 9.1 km (5.65 mi) 1940 1942
Łany-Kleszczów 8.8 km (5.47 mi) 1936 1938
   -Szczecin-Zachód 2.6 km (1.62 mi) 1934 27 September 1936
Szczecin-Zachód-Rzęśnica 26.6 km (16.53 mi) 1938
  Krzyżowa-Golnice(bridge over Bóbr) 5.9 km (3.67 mi) 1936 1938
Krzyżowa-Iłowa 37.9 km (23.55 mi) 1935 17 October 1937 Southern carriageway only
Iłowa-Olszyna 37.2 km (23.12 mi) 1936 1938
  Elbląg-Grzechotki 51.4 km (31.94 mi) 1934 Western carriageway only
Total 138.4 km (86.00 mi) + 178.5 km (110.91 mi) first carriageway Note: Signage of the roads at the time of opening was different.

After 1945Edit


The Potsdam conference defined the new borders for Poland, which were completely different from the 1939 ones. It received the so-called Regained Territories from the former Third Reich with the following parts of motorways (some of them with first carriageway only, some of them destroyed because of the warfare):

  • "Berlinka" (the road to Königsberg (Kaliningrad)) at the sections between Kołbaskowo and Łęczyca (now A6 and DW142) and between Elbląg and Grzechotki (now S22), in total 106 km
  • Silezian, between Olszyna and Brzeg (now A18 and A4, ca. 220 km) and the Ujazd-Gliwice-Zabrze part (about 40 km, now DK88)

Most of the motorway bridges were destroyed by the armies, but only a few were repaired or rebuilt in the first post-war years. The bridge over Ina river was reconstructed in 1972, and those on S22 only between 1996 and 2003.

Apart from the bridges, almost all the motorways and expressways were left in the same condition as they were in 1945 until the mid-1990s. The only road left from Nazi times that was completed by the People's Republic of Poland (PRP) was a one-carriageway small section between Łęczyca and Lisowo (15 km of what is now DW142) in the powiat stargardzki, which was built on the previous works of Nazis.


At the post-war year there were very ambitious plans to make a motorway network for the whole Poland. For example, engineer Eugeniusz Buszma has published his propositions to the network in the magazine "Drogowiec" (1946, issue 1):

  1. East – West (SłubiceWarsawBiałystok) – 680 km
  2. North – South (Gdynia – Warsaw – Balkans) – 650 km
  3. Silesia – Baltic I (GdańskŁódźKatowice) – 460 km
  4. Pomeranian (Gdańsk – Szczecin) – 280 km
  5. Silesian (Wrocław – Katowice – Kraków) – 190 km
  6. Mazurian (Kaliningrad – ElblągMalbork) – 20 km
  7. Silesia – Baltic II (Bydgoszcz – Wrocław) – 260 km
  8. Łódź – Wrocław – (Prague) – 310 km
  9. Katowice – (Vienna) – 60 km
  10. Poznań – Szczecin – 200 km
  11. RadomLublin – (Lviv) – 220 km

In total, the mileage, according to the proposal, would total more than 3,300 km (2,050 mi).

After the addition of the sections built by the Third Reich the total network length had to be ca. 3700 km. In 1963 the Motorization Council at the Council of Ministers had prezented the similar plan plus the motorways: Warsaw-Kraków-Zakopane, Kraków-Przemyśl, Warsaw-Bydgoszcz-Koszalin, Poznań-Koszalin i Warsaw-Terespol (ca. 1250 km). None of those plans were realized, however.

Despite announcing such pompous plans, no motorway was opened in the meantime.

In the 1970sEdit

Express road S6 in Gdynia, part of Tricity bypass which was opened (at first as single carriageway) in 1977, making it the oldest expressway in Poland.

Only in the 1970s did any works start. In 1972 it was planned to build:

  • the Gliwice-Kraków motorway (now A4)
  • The second carriageway of the Wrocław-Gliwice motorway (also A4)
  • the Warsaw-Katowice motorway (so-called "Gierkówka", now the S8/A1 road), in the near future

The plans were expanded in 1976 by the following sections:

In 1973 – 1976, "Gierkówka" dual carriageway from Warsaw to Katowice (281 km (175 mi)) was built. Originally planned as a motorway, it was in the end constructed by adding another carriageway to the existing road, hence going through many villages and crossing with local roads. However, the part from Piotrków Trybunalski to Częstochowa (78 km (48 mi)) was constructed on a new route in a semi-motorway standard: road geometry matched this of a motorway and viaducts and overpasses were built for some of the local roads crossing its path, however all the intersections between the highway and the other roads were constructed as one-level with no viaducts or overpasses.

Motorways opened in the 1970s
Signage Section Length Start of construction Opening
DK1 Piotrków Trybunalski – Częstochowa
semi-motorway standard (one-level intersections)
[78 km (48 mi)] 1973 1976
  Tri-city bypass (eastern carriageway)
substandard (two one-level intersections, then reconstructed when adding a second carriageway in 1980s)
37.7 km (23.43 mi) 1973 1977
Rzęśnica – Goleniów
substandard (one-level intersections)
19.3 km (11.99 mi) 1976 1979
Total 57 km (35.42 mi)

In the 1980sEdit

A4 as the southern bypass of Kraków, opened in 1988

In the 1980s the first construction of motorways started.

In 1985 the government already planned to build the expressways apart from the motorways. The only roads left in plans as motorways were A1, A2 and A4. (Additionally, A6 to Rzęśnica and A18 were signed as motorways because they had been built by the motorway standards of the 1930s). The realization of these plans however came at a very slow pace. In the 1980s only the following sections of motorways were given to use: Jaworzno (Byczyna) – Kraków (Balice I) of A4 (35.7 km (22.18 mi)), WrześniaKonin (Modła), i.e. part of PoznańŁódź section of A2 (49.2 km (30.57 mi)) and Tuszyn (near Łódź) – Piotrków-Trybunalski of A1 (16.1 km (10.00 mi)).

The roads opened in 1980s were the first motorways and expressways which generally meet the contemporary standards at least with respect to the more important attributes.

Motorways opened in 1980s
Signage Section Length Date of beginning of the construction Date of opening Notes
  Tuszyn-Piotrków Trybunalski 16.1 km (10.00 mi) 1978 18 December 1989 DŚU issued for reconstruction
  Września-Sługocin (Golina) 35.7 km (22.18 mi) 1977 9 October 1985
Sługocin-Konin West (Modła) 13.5 km (8.39 mi) 1986 10 November 1988
  Chrzanów-Kraków (Balice I) 29.6 km (18.39 mi) 1976 3 January 1983
Chrzanów-Jaworzno (Byczyna) 6.1 km (3.79 mi) 1978 22 November 1986
Kraków (Balice I)-Kraków (Tyniec) 7.8 km (4.85 mi) 1979 8 December 1988
  Dąbrowa Górnicza-Tychy 34.7 km (21.56 mi) 1978 1983 After completion of Lędziny-Biesko-Biała section of S1 the Lędziny-Tychy road will be signed as S1A
  Obwodnica Trójmiasta (to Straszyn) 32.4 km (20.13 mi) 1978 1984 Only western carriageway
  Kielce bypass 22.9 km (14.23 mi) 1974 1984 Only eastern carriageway
  Katowice (węzeł Roździeńskiego)-Sosnowiec (węzeł Pogoń) 6.8 km (4.23 mi) 1978 1985 First completely done expressway
Total 150.3 km (93.39 mi) + 55.3 km (34.36 mi) single carriageway

In the 1990sEdit

In the III Republic of Poland the plans started to change again. The following expressways were promoted to motorway standards, temporarily however: A3 on the planned length became S3, and A8 was shortened to the Wrocław bypass instead of the Łódź-Wrocław-Bolków motorway, in 2001, There are some changes that survived, however: the Szczecin bypass(A6) and the Krzywa-Olszyna roads were promoted to motorways at that time, and still are ones. The signage of Krzywa-Olszyna section was A12, however, instead of the A4 at Krzywa-Krzyżowa and A18 at Krzyżowa-Olszyna.

Motorways opened in the 1990s
Signage Section Length Date of beginning of the construction Date of opening Notes
  Mysłowice (Brzęczkowice)-Jaworzno(Byczyna) 15.9 km (9.88 mi) 1986 29 November 1990 Northern carriageway only
4 September 1991 Southern carriageway only
Kraków (Tyniec)-Kraków (Sidzina) 3.5 km (2.17 mi) 1988 1993
Jędrzychowice -Zgorzelec 1.8 km (1.12 mi) 1992 15 July 1994
Kraków Skawina (Sidzina)-Kraków (ul.Kąpietowa) 5.4 km (3.36 mi) 1993 27 October 1995 A4 had a crossroads with ul. Kąpielowa(ca. 750 m (820.2 yd) from Kraków Zakopiańska) till 2002, when the bridge was built over it.
Katowice Francuska-Mysłowice (Brzęczkowice) 11.1 km (6.90 mi) 1989 30 October 1996
Katowice Mikołowska-Katowice Francuska 1.9 km (1.18 mi) ? 10 November 1999
Krzyżowa - Krzywa [10.2 km (6.34 mi)] 1995 Renovated
   -Podjuchy [12.7 km (7.89 mi)] 1996 1999 Renovated
  Olszyna -Królów 9.6 km (5.97 mi) ? 1993 Northern carriageway only, southern renovated to Olszyna interchange(350 m (382.76 yd))
Golnice - Krzyżowa [5.9 km (3.67 mi)] 1995 Renovated both carriageways
  Cieszyn -Cieszyn-East 5.2 km (3.23 mi) 1991 1995
  Sulechów-Zielona Góra (Niedoradz) 26.8 km (16.65 mi) 1985 1995 Western carriageway only
  Świecie (West)-Świecie (North) 7 km (4.35 mi) ? 1996 Single carriageway only, 6.9 km (4.29 mi) were built as double carriageway(mostly near the interchanges)
Świecie (West)-Świecie (South) 6 km (3.73 mi) 1996 1998
  Zakroczym-Czosnów (Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki bypass) 14.6 km (9.07 mi) 1990 1999
Miłomłyn North-Miłomłyn South 5.1 km (3.17 mi) 1995 1997 Single carriageway only
  Radzymin North-Radzymin South 8.15 km (5.06 mi) 1996 1998
Total 74.8 km (46.48 mi) + 47.6 km (29.58 mi) single carriageway + 5.9 km (3.67 mi)modernized + 350 m (382.76 yd) single carriageway modernized

At the end of 1999, only about 276 km (171 mi) of modern dual-carriageway motorways and expressways were present - only 3.5% of the network as planned nowadays, followed by about 90 km (56 mi) of single-carriageway expressways and about 280 km (174 mi) (more than half of them single-carriageway) not-yet-resurfaced Nazi German motorways from 1930s.

At the beginning of the new millenniumEdit

Before Poland received the EU membershipEdit

Express road S7 near Białobrzegi, opened in 2003

A few years before Poland entered the EU the tempo of motorway construction increased significantly. The main focus was yet on the east-west motorway A4, although the A2 around Poznań was built, too. Thanks to that by 2005 a direct motorway connection to Kraków from Berlin was established. It was the time when most of the bridges that the World War II destroyed were rebuilt or renovated, especially on A4.

However, the pieces of the motorways couldn't have been yet called a network, as only A4 could have been considered as an intercity highway, as it was in 2004. The rest of the constructed highways were mostly the bypasses of cities. These years a focus to build comfortable and quick connections between major cities started. This is also a period when Poland started introducing motorway tolls, first in 2000 for the A4 section between Mysłowice and Kraków (Balice I).

Motorways opened in 2000–2004
Signage Section Length Date of beginning of the construction Date of opening Notes
  Poznań Komorniki-Poznań Krzesiny 11.2 km (6.96 mi) 1998 13 September 2003
Poznań Krzesiny-Września 37.3 km (23.18 mi) 2002 27 November 2003
  Bielany Wrocławskie-Brzeg (Owczary) 34.1 km (21.19 mi) 1997 16 December 2000 North carriageway built
Brzeg (Owczary)-Przylesie 6.6 km (4.10 mi)
Prądy-Dąbrówka Górna 21.4 km (13.30 mi)
Przylesie-Prądy 28.6 km (17.77 mi) 30 September 2000
Dąbrówka Górna-Nogowczyce 34.3 km (21.31 mi) 26 July 2001
Nogowczyce-Kleszczów 17.9 km (11.12 mi) 2001 4 December 2003 South carriageway built
ul.Kąpielowa-Kraków (Wielicka) 1.1 km (0.68 mi) ? 19 December 2002
3 September 2003 North carriageway built
Krzywa - Bielany Wrocławskie 93 km (57.79 mi) 2002 2004–2006
(in sections)
Renovated both carriageways
  Śmigiel bypass 4.1 km (2.55 mi) ? 2002 One carriageway only
  Straszyn-Pruszcz Gdański (Rusocin) 5.4 km (3.36 mi) 2000 2001 Second carriageway built
  Białobrzegi bypass 7.7 km (4.78 mi) 2001 2003
  Podborze-Brok 7.6 km (4.72 mi) 2000
Total 173.7 km (107.93 mi) + 61.5 km (38.21 mi) one carriageway

Poland in EUEdit

Express road S8 near Oleśnica, opened in 2006

1 May 2004 was a crucial day for the history of motorway construction, and that is when the highway boom started. The main advantage of signing the document is that Poland from the day on request money from the funds in the European Union, so the money could help build, renovate and upgrade the existing road infrastructure(and not only). Under the government of Prime Minister Marek Belka, the Council of Ministers regulations issued in May 2004 detailed plans for a network of motorways and expressways totaling to 7,200 km (4,473.87 mi) across the republic, including 2,033 km (1,260 mi) of designated motorways (A1, A2 (at that times the S2 section was planned as A2), A4, A6, and A18), and the rest being the expressways (S1, S3, S5, S6, S7, S8, S9 (now S19), S10, S11, S12, S14, S17, S22, S51, S69, and S74).[24] S86 existed, but it was not shown in the legal documents until 2015 as part of network. That plan is now the basis of the whole highway network, with only small amendments added in later years.

The current planned network consists of six motorways (A1, A2, A4, A6, A8, A18) and 21 expressways (S1-S3, S5-S8, S10-12, S14, S16, S17, S19, S22, S51-52, S61, S74, S79 and S86).[11]

Motorways opened from 1 May 2004 to 31 October 2009
Signage Section Length Date of beginning of the construction Date of opening Notes
  Rusocin-Swarożyn 24.2 km (15.04 mi) 2005 2007
Swarożyn-Nowe Marzy 64.7 km (40.20 mi) 2008
Sośnica-Bełk 15.6 km (9.69 mi) 22 January 2007 20 October 2009
Bełk-Świerklany 14.3 km (8.89 mi) 7 August 2008 2009
  Kleszczów-Sośnica 19.1 km (11.87 mi) 2003 October 2005
Wieliczka-Targowisko 19.5 km (12.12 mi) 2007 2009
  Miłówka-Szare 2.9 km (1.80 mi) 30 June 2004 14 November 2006 Single carriageway
Szare-Laliki 4.9 km (3.04 mi) 26 October 2007 18 November 2009
Laliki-Zwardoń 1.8 km (1.12 mi) 12 June 2007 26 December 2008
Zwardoń-border with Slovakia  1.4 km (0.87 mi) 15 November 2002 22 December 2004
  Gorzów Wielkopolski bypass

(Gorzów Połusnie i/c-Sułęcińska str.)

2.38 km (1.48 mi) 2003 2004 Single carriageway
Gorzów Wielkopolski bypass

(Sułęcińska str.-Gorzów-Północ (Małyszyn))

9.47 km (5.88 mi) 2005 2007
Międzyrzecz bypass 6.37 km (3.96 mi) 2004 2006
Nowa Sól bypass 18 km (11.18 mi) 2006 2008
  Szubin bypass 4.5 km (2.80 mi) 2004 2006
  Jędrzejów bypass 5.8 km (3.60 mi) 2003 2005 3.1 km (1.93 mi) double-carriageway; rest single carriageway
Myślenice-Lubień 16.2 km (10.07 mi) 2004 2009
Nowy Dwór Gdański bypass 2.5 km (1.55 mi) 2005 2007
Elbląg southern bypass 4.2 km (2.61 mi)
Płońsk bypass 4.7 km (2.92 mi) 28 September 2007 3 June 2009
Grójec bypass 8.3 km (5.16 mi) 18 October 2006 19 September 2008
Białobrzegi-Jedlińsk 15.7 km (9.76 mi) 6 July 2006 30 June 2008
Kielce bypass (northern part) 7.1 km (4.41 mi) 2007 2009
  Oleśnica bypass 7.21 km (4.48 mi) 2004 2006
Wyszków bypass 12.8 km (7.95 mi) 27 February 2006 14 November 2008
Wyszków-Radzymin 17.3 km (10.75 mi) 8 December 2006 31 July 2009
  Elbląg -   51.6 km (32.06 mi) April 2006 December 2008 Reconstructed (single carriageway)
  Bielsko-Biała (Komorowice)-Jasienica 9.5 km (5.90 mi) 4 June 2003 27 October 2006

Total length of motorways and expressways in Poland (end of the year)[25]Edit

Year Highways, total length
1936 (then Nazi Germany) 92 km
1937 (then Nazi Germany) 104 km and 38 km first carriageway
1938–1945 (then Nazi Germany) 133 km and 135 km first carriageway (further below not considered as a motorway until addition of the second carriageway)
1939–1945 (Poland) 28 km (today not considered as a highway)
1945–1976 133 km
1977 169 km
1978 169 km
1979 190 km
1980 190 km
1981 190 km
1982 190 km
1983 255 km
1984 278 km
1985 321 km
1986 327 km
1987 327 km
1988 348 km
1989 366 km
1990 381 km
1991 399 km
1992 399 km
1993 403 km
1994 405 km
1995 440 km
1996 453 km
1997 456 km
1998 490 km
1999 502 km
2000 592 km
2001 630 km
2002 639 km
2003 727 km
2004 781 km
2005 848 km
2006 1013 km
2007 1083 km
2008 1282 km
2009 1454 km
2010 1560 km
2011 1865 km
2012 2495 km
2013 2805 km
2014 3100 km
2015 3131 km
2016 3252 km
2017 3510 km
2018 3811 km
2019 4301 km (forecast[26])
2020 4504 km (forecast[27])
2021 4971 km (forecast[27])
2022 5400 km (acc. to plans from 2017[25][citation needed])
2023 5755 km (acc. to plans from 2017[25][citation needed])
2024 6038 km (acc. to plans from 2017[25][citation needed])
2025 6145 km (acc. to plans from 2017[25][citation needed])
20?? 8000 km (year unknown; forecast; according to plans)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ Including joint Design–build contracts. Of these 655.1 km (407.06 mi) in active construction.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b,247,0,2413047.html
  7. ^ a b,nId,3256593
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Dz.U. 2009 nr 187 poz. 1446(in Polish)
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ "Zmiany w rozporządzeniu w sprawie sieci autostrad i dróg ekspresowych - Ministerstwo Infrastruktury i Budownictwa". Retrieved 2016-07-05.
  14. ^ a b "Zestawienie realizacji autostrad i dróg ekspresowych w Polsce". Retrieved 2019-08-02s. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  15. ^ a b "Strona główna :: Generalna Dyrekcja Dróg Krajowych i Autostrad - Road construction". Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  16. ^ a b "Mapa budowy dróg ekspresowych i autostrad". Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  17. ^ a b "Map of construction of Polish highways - SISKOM & SSC". Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  18. ^ a b c d "Public data resources: Status of ongoing and planned road investments by GDDKiA".
  19. ^ Appendix 2, footnote 1 (in Polish)
  20. ^ a b "Amendment to Road Construction Plan of 24 September 2019 - Ministry of Infrastructure". Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Progress of Road Construction Plan as of 24 September 2019" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  23. ^ Prof. M. W. Nestorowicz, Problem budowy dróg samochodowych (autostrad) w Polsce
  24. ^ Dz.U. 2004 nr 128 poz. 1334(in Polish)
  25. ^ a b c d e
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b "List of ongoing road contracts signed by GDDKiA".

External linksEdit