Highways in Poland

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Polish motorway and expressway network as of November 2018. Legend of sections:
  under construction
Development of the motorway network in Poland since 1932. Legend of sections:
  under construction
Development of the motorway network in Poland

Highways in Poland are public roads designed to carry large amounts of traffic. The public roads in Poland are grouped into four categories related to the republic's administrative division. Motorways and expressways are part of the national road (DK) network. Voivodeship roads (DW) are provincial-level roads administered by the individual governments of the voivodeships. Powiat and gmina roads are administered by county and municipal authorities, and do not have any separate road signs for them, though they do have their respective signature. Poland has 419,636.4 km (260,750 mi) of public roads, of which 128,713.3 km (79,979 mi) are unsurfaced (2015):[1]

  • National roads: 19,292.8 km (11,988 mi), 0.2 km (0.12 mi) unsurfaced
  • Voivodeship roads: 29,108.6 km (18,087 mi), 52 km (32 mi) unsurfaced
  • Powiat roads: 125,092.3 km (77,729 mi), 10,380 km (6,450 mi) unsurfaced
  • Gmina roads: 246,142.7 km (152,946 mi), 118,285.1 km (73,499 mi) unsurfaced

Definitions of highways according to Polish law[edit]

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

  • Znak D9.svgA motorway is a public road with limited access which is designated for motor vehicles only, and is marked with 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.

Under current plans, three motorways will have spanned the country by 2022, with two routes running along an east to west axis (A2 running centrally and A4 running southerly) and one motorway traversing a north to south axis (A1 running centrally). In addition, three shorter motorway stretches: A6, A8 and A18, complete the planned motorway network. The only complete motorway stretches are A4 and A8. All others are currently (partially) under construction or in various stages of planning. As of 30 March 2018, 1,703.8 km (1,058.69 mi) of motorways are in use (of which 71.5 km (44.43 mi) one-carriageway). Some motorway stretches are tolled, others (predominantly the bypasses of large cities and newly-opened stretches) are free of charge. Motorways are the only roads in Poland which use blue background on road signs - others use green road signs.

  • Znak D7.svgAn express road is a public road with (mostly) 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 all the intersecting roads with the land and water transport, with the exception of minor public roads. They are equipped with roadside rest areas, which are intended only for users on the expressway.

Expressway on-ramp signs in Poland are marked by a white car inside a blue background, while numbered designations are white on a red background, with the letter S preceding the number. Major expressways (in various stages of use, construction, or planning) include S3, S5, S7, S11, S17 and S19 running north to south, and S6, S8, S10, S12 and S74, running east to west. As of 3 July, 1,937.3 km (1,203.78 mi) of expressways are currently in use (of which 248.42 km (154.36 mi) one-carriageway).

Technical parameters[edit]

The parameters of these roads are determined by the Ordinance of the Minister of Transport and Maritime Economy of 2 March 1999 - on technical parameters to be met by public roads and their location. Expressways are different from motorways mainly in that they:

  1. Can have a single carriageway
  2. Motorways can have interchanges only with main roads. The spacing between nodes should not be less than 15 km, and within borders or near a big city or a group of cities not less than 5 km. In exceptional cases, if necessary for the functional traffic movement, it can be not less than 3 km, but only within or near a large city or in a group of cities. Expressways may have them more often.
  3. Sometimes have a junction in built-up areas (motorways try to avoid it)
  4. Is designated for lower speed that the motorway
  5. Have narrower lanes (emergency lanes can be narrower, too, and they needn't be present at all). Motorways, on the other hand, must have them.
  6. Expressways have narrower road width (with all structures beside it) than motorways have - 40 m versus 60 m in motorways
  7. Expressways may built as the upgrade of the national road (voivodership road only in S61). However, most modern projects are built(planned) as a separate road rather than just as an addition of the lanes to the existing one(like S3). Motorways can't be built as the national road upgrade but as a separate road only

Other parameters of the roads:

projected speed (km/h) 120 100 801
the width of the lane (m) 3,75 3,5
width of the emergency lane (m) 3,0 2,5
maximum length of a slope (turn in the tunnel) which don't limit sight 2000 1500
min. length of a straight section between turns on the same side (m) 500 400 350
min. length of turns (m) 300 200 150
max. gradient of turn (proc.) 4 5 6

Notes: 1 – only inside or near borders of a big city

Maximum speeds allowed on highways[edit]

Max. speed (km/h)
Znak D9.svg
Znak D7.svg
2-lane expressway
Znak D7.svg
1-lane expressway
  • private car
  • motorbike
  • van up to 3.5 t
140 120 100
  • bus meeting additional technical requirements
100 100 100
  • car with a trailer
  • motorbike with a trailer
  • van with a trailer with the total mass less than 3.5 t
  • trucks and vans heavier than 3.5 t (as well with a trailer)
  • signed vehicle carrying e. g. dangerous, fragile articles
  • bus (as well with a trailer)
80 80 80
  • vehicle with equipment in front of the driver farther than 1.5 m from the seat
60 60 60
  • motorbike (as well with a trailer) carrying the child younger than 7 y.o.
40 40 40
Not allowed on motorways: pedestrians, bikes, mopeds, agricultural vehicles (e. g. tractors and horse carriages). 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 unless in very extraordinary cases and to move back. Towing is not allowed on motorways but is permitted on expressways. Roads are protected from animals crossing the road

The motorways and expressways built before 1999 do not have to fulfill the technical parameters listed in the ordinance. For instance, S3 near Rzęśnica (West Pomeranian voivodership) has at-grade road interchanges, and it does not need to be reconstructed since it was opened in 1979, but it might be reconstructed in the near future, nonetheless[citation needed].


This is how the toll motorway is signed in Poland
Motorway with toll areas

At the moment cars are free of payment while driving on expressways, however A1, A2 and A4 are planned as tolled (some parts are already such). The payments go to the National Roads Fund.

The National Roads Fund pays out money, if the amount of income received by the private concessor is less than was expected by the agreement between the government and the concessor. For example, in 2012 33 million PLN was allocated to private companies because of that.

There are two systems of collecting tolls:

Open system[edit]

In this system money is only paid at the toll booths put across the road. There different amount of money is paid according to the type of the vehicle. It is relatively cheap, 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.

This system is preferred by private concessors and it operates on the following sections:

  1. Motorway A2 (both sections managed by Autostrada Eksploatacja S.A.):
    • KrzesinyWrześnia (37.5 km (23.30 mi)) from 27.11.2003
    • WrześniaKonin (Modła) (47.7 km (29.64 mi)) from 20.12.2002
  2. Motorway A4 (section managed by Stalexport Autostrada Malopolska S.A.):
    • Mysłowice-BrzęczkowiceBalice (61 km) from 3.04.2000

Closed system[edit]

Another way to collect money from motorway using is so-called closed system, on which there are toll stations on every interchange both entering and exiting the motorway, as well as toll booths on the motorway, which signifies the end of the concession section. In this case the driver receives a ticket while entering the motorway, which must be kept all the time using the motorway. He pays at either toll station while exiting the motorway or at the toll booth. The amount of money depends not only on the type of the car, but also on the distance driven. It is more expensive at the building and maintenance, as the toll stations have to be built at every interchange. However, it requires fewer toll booths across the motorway, which is a big advantage, as the traffic is free-flowing, and there is less fuel consumption. The queues before the tolls are put off the motorway, and are put onto the exits and interchanges.

The following sections are tolled as of 31 March 2018:

  1. Motorway A1:
    • RusocinSwarożyn (24 km (14.91 mi)), from 20.02.2008
    • SwarożynNowe Marzy (64 km (39.77 mi)), from 6.01.2009
    • Nowe MarzyCzerniewice (62 km (38.53 mi)), from 11.02.2012
  2. Motorway A2:
  3. Motorway A4:

Free motorways[edit]

The motorways that are toll-free, as of 31 March 2018:

  • A6, A8 and A18 on the whole length
  • A1 on sections:
    • Toruń-Południe (152nd kilometer) - Piotrków Trybunalski (349th kilometer)
    • Pyrzowice (475th kilometer) - Polish-Czech border (568th kilometer)
  • A2 on sections:
    • Poznań-Zach.Poznań-Wsch. (26.07 km (16.20 mi)), which will be toll-free as the southern Poznań bypass
    • SługocinŻdżary (ca. 19 km (11.81 mi)) as the so-called "buffer zone" between two different systems
    • ArynówRyczołek (20,85 km) as the Mińsk Mazowiecki bypass
  • A4 on sections:

viaTOLL payment system[edit]

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 System[edit]

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[edit]

In May 2004, the Council of Ministers of Poland published the document including the planned highway network, the length of which was about 7,200 km (4,473.87 mi) and contains most of the expressways in plans today. Further cabinet regulations under Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński published in February 2007 added S2 and S79 to the network, planned to facilitate high speed traffic in and out of Warsaw.[2] In October 2009, the cabinet under Donald Tusk supplemented plans for the construction of S61 to serve the northeastern region of the country to connect with Lithuania.[3] In September 2015, S16 was announced as the government priority.[4]

In May 2016, next changes were made: S16 was extended to Białystok and a new expressway from Bielsko-Biała to Głogoczów (interchange with S7) was added to the plan, receiving new label S52. Some changes in numbering were introduced, following the addition of S52: a fragment of S1 (from Cieszyn to Bielsko-Biała) was also labelled S52, S69 was incorporated into S1 instead, and future Kraków northern bypass received number S52 as well. [5]

As of 30 March 2018, the total planned high-speed way mileage is estimated at 7,943.42 km (4,935.81 mi) (see note 2 in table).

The following table summarizes the planned motorway and expressway network with approximate lengths. As of 21 July 2016, 57.2 km (40 mi) of motorways and 1,110.367 km (689.950 mi) of expressways are in various stages of construction(of which 98.6 km (61.27 mi) single-carriageway construction).[6][7][8]

Znak D9.svg
Sign Course Total length Existing In realisation Of these under active construction Tender Environmental decision (DŚU)
A1 Gdańsk (S6) – Toruń (S10) - Łódź - Gliwice (A4) - Gorzyczki (border with the Czech Republic) 566.1 km (351.76 mi) 431.65 km (268.21 mi) 76.25% 52.7 km (32.75 mi) 81.75 km (50.80 mi)
A2 Świecko (border with Germany) - Poznań (S5/S11) - Łódź (A1/S14) - Warsaw (S2) – Kukuryki (border with Belarus) 624.9 km (388.29 mi) 475 km (295.15 mi) 76.012% 14.6 km (9.07 mi) 135.3 km (84.07 mi)
A4 Jędrzychowice (border with Germany) – Legnica (S3) - Wrocław (A8) - Opole - Gliwice (A1) - Kraków (S7) - Rzeszów (S19) - Korczowa (border with Ukraine) 672 km (417.56 mi) 672 km (417.56 mi) 100%
A6 Kołbaskowo (border with Germany) – Rzęśnica (S3). Szczecin southern bypass 29 km (18.02 mi) 24.35 km (15.13 mi) 83.97% 4.65 km (2.89 mi)
A8 Bielany Wrocławskie (S8) – Wrocław (S8) (Wrocław motorway bypass, AOW) 22.3 km (13.86 mi) 22.3 km (13.86 mi) 100%
A18 Olszyna (border with Germany) – Krzyżowa (A4) 78.5 km (48.78 mi) 7 km (4.35 mi);
71.5 km (44.43 mi) (north carriageway)
54.46% 71.5 km (44.43 mi)
(south carriageway)
In total 1,992.9 km (1,238.33 mi) 1,632.3 km (1,014.26 mi)+71.5 km (44.43 mi) 1st carriageway 83.6996% 71.95 km (44.71 mi) 57.35 km (35.64 mi) 81.75 km (50.80 mi) 135.3 km (84.07 mi)+71.5 km (44.43 mi) 2nd carriageway
Znak D7.svg
Sign Course Total length Existing In realisation Of these under active construction Tender Environmental decision (DŚU)
S1 Pyrzowice (A1) – Mysłowice (A4) - Bielsko-Biała - Zwardoń (border with Slovakia) 129.4 km (80.41 mi) 59 km (36.66 mi)+25.92 km (16.11 mi) 1st carriageway 55.611% 5 km (3.11 mi)+13.26 km (8.24 mi) 2nd carriageway 47.46 km (29.49 mi)
S2 Konotopa (A2) – Nowy Konik (A2)

Warsaw southern bypass

34.1 km (21.19 mi) 15.45 km (9.60 mi) 45.308% 18.65 km (11.59 mi)
S3 Świnoujście (border with Germany) - Szczecin (A6) - Gorzów Wielkopolski - Jordanowo (A2) - Zielona Góra - Lubin - Legnica (A4) – Lubawka (border with the Czech Republic) 472.59 km (293.65 mi) 219.27 km (136.25 mi)+38.6 km (23.98 mi) 1st carriageway 50.481% 141.54 km (87.95 mi)+31.1 km (19.32 mi) 2nd carriageway 116.04 km (72.10 mi)+31.1 km (19.32 mi) 2nd carriageway 31.38 km (19.50 mi)
S5 Ostróda (S7) - Grudziądz (A1) - Bydgoszcz (S10) - Gniezno - Poznań (A2) - LesznoWrocław (A8) ca. 460 km (285.83 mi) 138.9 km (86.31 mi)+22 km (13.67 mi) 1st carriageway 32.6% 183.83 km (114.23 mi)+22 km (13.67 mi) second carriageway ca. 4.5 km (2.80 mi)
S6 Szczecin (A6) - Goleniów (S3) - Koszalin (S11) - SłupskGdańsk (A1) 408.72 km (253.97 mi) 24.2 km (15.04 mi)+15.2 km (9.44 mi) 1st carriageway 7.780% 157.82 km (98.06 mi) 135.02 km (83.90 mi) 143.1 km (88.92 mi)+15.2 km (9.44 mi) 2nd carriageway 68.4 km (42.50 mi)
S7 Gdańsk (A1) - Elbląg (S22) - Olsztynek (S51) - Warsaw - Radom (S12) - Kielce (S74) - KrakówRabka-Zdrój 713.67 km (443.45 mi) 373.4 km (232.02 mi)+0.5 km (0.31 mi) 1st carriageway 52.356% 227.57 km (141.41 mi)+0.5 km (0.31 mi) 2nd carriageway 113.05 km (70.25 mi)+0.5 km (0.31 mi) 2nd carriageway 18.3 km (11.37 mi) 48 km (29.83 mi)
S8 Wrocław (A8) - Łódź (A1) - Piotrków Trybunalski - Warsaw - Ostrów Mazowiecka (S61) - Białystok (S19) 527.52 km (327.79 mi) 466.33 km (289.76 mi) 88.400% 61.19 km (38.02 mi)
S10 Szczecin (A6) – Piła (S11) - Bydgoszcz (S5) - Toruń (A1) - Płock - Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki (S7)-Wola Rasztowska(S8) ca. 515 km (320.01 mi) 32.03 km (19.90 mi)+24.5 km (15.22 mi) 1st carriageway 8.6% 25.9 km (16.09 mi)+6.4 km (3.98 mi) 2nd carriageway 25.9 km (16.09 mi)
S11 Koszalin (S6) - Piła (S10) - Poznań (A2/S5) - Ostrów Wielkopolski - Kępno (S8) - Tarnowskie Góry - A1 ca. 560 km (347.97 mi) 47.5 km (29.52 mi)+8.6 km (5.34 mi) 1st carriageway 9.25% 20.5 km (12.74 mi)+4 km (2.49 mi)2nd carriageway 17.5 km (10.87 mi) 71.5 km (44.43 mi)+6.5 km (4.04 mi) 2nd carriageway
S12 Piotrków Trybunalski (A1) – Sulejów (S74) - Radom (S7) - Puławy - Lublin (S17/S19) - Chełm -Dorohusk (border with Ukraine) 319.7 km (198.65 mi)  74.6 km (46.35 mi)+8.5 km (5.28 mi) 1st carriageway 24.664% 11.8 km (7.33 mi) 74.6 km (46.35 mi)
S14 S8 - Pabianice - Konstantynów Łódzki - Aleksandrów Łódzki - Zgierz - A2

Western Łódź bypass

41.4 km (25.72 mi) 12.9 km (8.02 mi) 31.160% 28.5 km (17.71 mi)
S16-PL.svg Olsztyn(S51) - Ełk (S61) - Białystok (S19) ca. 249 km (154.72 mi) 15.6 km (9.69 mi)+15.5 km (9.63 mi) 1st carriageway 9.377% 14.7 km (9.13 mi) 30.1 km (18.70 mi)+15.5 km (9.63 mi)2nd carriageway
S17 Warszawa (S8) – Lublin (S12/S19) - Zamość - Hrebenne (border with Ukraine) 322.3 km (200.27 mi) 82.2 km (51.08 mi) 25.504% 100.054 km (62.17 mi)+9.58 km (5.95 mi) 1-carriageway 86.854 km (53.97 mi) 105.92 km (65.82 mi)
S19 Kuźnica Białostocka (border with Belarus) – Białystok (S8) - Lublin (S12/S17) - Stalowa Wola - Rzeszów (A4) - Barwinek (border with Slovakia) 594.7 km (369.53 mi) 32.8 km (20.38 mi)+26 km (16.16 mi) 1st carriageway 7.701% 77 km (47.85 mi) 54.2 km (33.68 mi) 212.35 km (131.95 mi)
S22 ElblągGrzechotki (border with Russia, Kaliningrad oblast) 48.6 km (30.20 mi) 48.6 km (30.20 mi) 1 carriageway 50%
S51 OlsztynOlsztynek (S7) 18.5 km (11.50 mi) 18.5 km (11.50 mi) 100%
S52-PL.svg Part 1. Kraków northern bypass (POK)

Part 2. Beskidzka Droga Integracyjna: Głogoczów (DK7) - Wadowice - Bielsko-Biała (S1) - Skoczów - Cieszyn (border with the Czech Republic)

122.1 km (75.87 mi) 42.3 km (26.28 mi) 31.777% 12.55 km (7.80 mi)+2.33 km (1.45 mi) to upgraded 67.25 km (41.79 mi)
S61 Ostrów Mazowiecka (S8) - Łomża - Ełk (S16) - SuwałkiBudzisko (border with Lithuania) 209.92 km (130.44 mi) 16 km (9.94 mi)+14.5 km (9.01 mi) 1st carriageway 8.657% 103.5 km (64.31 mi)+14.5 km (9.01 mi) 2nd carriageway 12.8 km (7.95 mi) 75.92 km (47.17 mi)
S74 Sulejów (S12) - Kielce (S7) - SandomierzNisko (S19) 192.2 km (119.43 mi) 6.8 km (4.23 mi) 3.538% 76.3 km (47.41 mi)
S79 Warszawa-Lotnisko (S2) – Warszawa-Marynarska 4.3 km (2.67 mi) 4.3 km (2.67 mi) 100% Notes: 1) S16 is not signed as an expressway.

2) Some sections (like S12/S17/S19 on Lublin bypass) overlap. This is true as well for: S5/S10 in Bydgoszcz, S1/S52 near Bielsko-Biała, and S7/S10 in Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki. The table shows data with overlapping sections, i.e. Lublin bypass section is counted for all S12/S17/S19.

Katowice (Roździeńskiego interchange)-Sosnowiec (Pogoń interchange) 6.8 km (4.23 mi) 6.8 km (4.23 mi)
In total[7][8][10] 5,950.52 km (3,697.48 mi)±10 km (6.21 mi) 1,688.88 km (1,049.42 mi)+248.42 km (154.36 mi) 1st carriageway 30.4694% 1,144.054 km (710.882 mi)+88.08 km (54.73 mi) 2nd carriageway 778.684 km (483.85 mi)+53.6 km (33.31 mi) 1 carriageway 371.59 km (230.90 mi)+28.46 km (17.68 mi) 1 carriageway 806.38 km (501.06 mi)+22 km (13.67 mi) 2nd carriageway
Kind of highway Planned mileage Done In percentage In realisation(building) Of which in active building Tendered With DŚU
Motorways 1,992.9 km (1,238.33 mi) 1,632.3 km (1,014.26 mi)+71.5 km (44.43 mi) 1st carriageway 83.6996% 71.95 km (44.71 mi) 57.35 km (35.64 mi) 81.75 km (50.80 mi) 135.3 km (84.07 mi)+71.5 km (44.43 mi) 2nd carriageway
Expressways 5,950.52 km (3,697.48 mi)±10 km (6.21 mi) 1,688.88 km (1,049.42 mi)+248.42 km (154.36 mi) 1st carriageway 30.4694% 1,144.054 km (710.882 mi)+88.08 km (54.73 mi) 2nd carriageway 778.684 km (483.85 mi)+53.6 km (33.31 mi) 1 carriageway 371.59 km (230.90 mi)+28.46 km (17.68 mi) 1 carriageway 806.38 km (501.06 mi)+22 km (13.67 mi) 2nd carriageway
Total 7,943.42 km (4,935.81 mi)±10 km (6.21 mi) 3,321.18 km (2,063.69 mi)+319.92 km (198.79 mi) 1st carriageway 43.8242%1 1,216.004 km (755.59 mi)+88.08 km (54.73 mi) 1 carriageway 836.034 km (519.49 mi)+53.6 km (33.31 mi) 1 carriageway 453.34 km (281.69 mi)+28.46 km (17.68 mi) 1 carriageway 941.68 km (585.13 mi)+93.5 km (58.10 mi) 2nd carriageway
A1 - A4 Gliwice-Sośnica Interchange
A1 - A2 Łódź Północ Interchange
A4 in Zabrze
A2 (Berlin - Poznań), opened in 2003
A8 in Wrocław
A4 as the southern bypass of Kraków


The network planned prior to WWII

Before World War II[edit]

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.[9] 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):

At the same time the fascist Germany started the construction of parts of their motorway system that exists today as S22(the motorway to Konigsberg), A18 and A4 to Wroclaw(Breslau), as well as the A6 motorway as the Szczecin bypass(the same road to Konigsberg). Those were all completed by 1938.

The World War II warfare expenses meant little money would be invested into any infrastructure of the occupied Poland. Only the piece of what is now A4 motorway near the GOP was constructed.

Given to the usage till 1972(Date shown: DD.MM.YYYY)

Signature Section Length Date of the beginning of construction Date of opening Notes
A4-PL.svg Krzywa-Bielany Wrocławskie 91 km (56.54 mi) 1934 27.09.1936
Krzywa-Krzyżowa 12.3 km (7.64 mi) 17.10.1937
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
A6-PL.svg Flag of germany 800 480.png-Szczecin-Zachód 2.6 km (1.62 mi) 1934 27.09.1936
Szczecin-Zachód-Rzęśnica 26.6 km (16.53 mi) 1938
A18-PL.svg Krzyżowa-Golnice(bridge over Bóbr) 5.9 km (3.67 mi) 1936 1938 Modernized in 1993-1995
Krzyżowa-Iłowa 37.9 km (23.55 mi) 1935 17.10.1937 Southern carriageway only
Iłowa-Olszyna 37.2 km (23.12 mi) 1936 1938
S22-PL.svg Elbląg-Grzechotki 51.4 km (31.94 mi) 1934
Total 189.8 km (117.94 mi)+127.1 km (78.98 mi) first carriageway Note: Signature of the roads at the time of opening was different.

After 1945[edit]


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 with one carriageway only, some destroyed because of the warfare):

  • "Berlinka" (the road to Konigsberg (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 1970s[edit]

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:

Motorways opened in the 1970s:

Signation Section Length Date of the beginning of construction Date of opening
S6-PL.svg Obwodnica Trójmiasta(eastern carriageway)(to Rusocin) 37.7 km (23.43 mi) 1973 1977
Rzęśnica-Goleniów 19.3 km (11.99 mi) 1976 1979
Total 57 km (35.42 mi)

In the 1980s[edit]

In the 1980s the really first period of massive construction started.

In 1985 the government already planned to build the expressways apart from the motorways. The only roads left as motorways were A1, A2 and A4.(A6 to Rzęśnica and A18 were signed as motorways as they were built by the motorway standards in 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)), Września-Konin(Modła) of A2(49.2 km (30.57 mi)) and Tuszyn-Piotrków-Trybunalski of A1(16.1 km (10.00 mi)).

Motorways opened in 1980s

Signation Section Length Date of beginning of the construction Date of opening Notes
A1-PL.svg Tuszyn-Piotrków Trybunalski 16.1 km (10.00 mi) 1978 18.12.1989 DŚU issued for reconstruction
A2-PL.svg Września-Sługocin (Golina) 35.7 km (22.18 mi) 1977 9.10.1985
Sługocin-Konin West (Modła) 13.5 km (8.39 mi) 1986 10.11.1988
A4-PL.svg Chrzanów-Kraków (Balice I) 29.6 km (18.39 mi) 1976 3.01.1983
Chrzanów-Jaworzno (Byczyna) 6.1 km (3.79 mi) 1978 22.11.1986
Kraków (Balice I)-Kraków (Tyniec) 7.8 km (4.85 mi) 1979 8.12.1988
S1-PL.svg 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
S6-PL.svg Obwodnica Trójmiasta (to Straszyn) 32.4 km (20.13 mi) 1978 1984 Only western carriageway
S7-PL.svg Kielce bypass 22.9 km (14.23 mi) 1974 1984 Only eastern carriageway
S86-PL.svg 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 1990s[edit]

In the III Rzeczpospolita 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:

Signation Section Length Date of beginning of the construction Date of opening Notes
A4-PL.svg Mysłowice (Brzęczkowice)-Jaworzno(Byczyna) 15.9 km (9.88 mi) 1986 29,11,1990 Northern carriageway only
4.09.1991 Southern carriageway only
Kraków (Tyniec)-Kraków (Sidzina) 3.5 km (2.17 mi) 1988 1993
JędrzychowiceFlag of germany 800 480.png-Zgorzelec 1.8 km (1.12 mi) 1992 15.07.1994
Kraków Skawina (Sidzina)-Kraków (ul.Kąpietowa) 5.4 km (3.36 mi) 1993 27.10.1995 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 30.10.1996
Katowice Mikołowska-Katowice Francuska 1.9 km (1.18 mi) ? 10.11.1999
A18-PL.svg OlszynaFlag of germany 800 480.png-Królów 9.6 km (5.97 mi) 1993 Northern carriageway only, southern renovated to Olszyna interchange(350 m (382.76 yd))
Krzyżowa-Golnice 5.9 km (3.67 mi) 1995 Modernized both carriageways
S1-PL.svg CieszynFlag of the Czech Republic-Cieszyn-East 5.2 km (3.23 mi) 1991 1995
S3-PL.svg Sulechów-Zielona Góra (Niedoradz) 26.8 km (16.65 mi) 1985 1995 Western carriageway only
S5-PL.svg 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
S7-PL.svg 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
S8-PL.svg 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 beginning of the new millennium[edit]

Before Poland received the EU membership[edit]

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 there was a direct motorway connection to Kraków from Berlin. 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 highways built were mostly the bypasses of cities. These years started the focus to build comfortable and quick connections between cities. This is also a period when Poland started introducing motorway tolls, as it happened in 2000 with the A4 section between Mysłowice and Kraków(Balice I).

Motorways opened in 2000-1.05.2004

Signation Section Length Date of beginning of the construction Date of opening Notes
A2-PL.svg Poznań Komorniki-Poznań Krzesiny 11.2 km (6.96 mi) 1998 13.09.2003
Poznań Krzesiny-Września 37.3 km (23.18 mi) 2002 27.11.2003
A4-PL.svg Bielany Wrocławskie-Brzeg (Owczary) 34.1 km (21.19 mi) 1997 16.12.2000 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) 30.09.2000
Dąbrówka Górna-Nogowczyce 34.3 km (21.31 mi) 26.07.2001
Nogowczyce-Kleszczów 17.9 km (11.12 mi) 2001 4.12.2003 South carriageway built
ul.Kąpielowa-Kraków (Wielicka) 1.1 km (0.68 mi) ? 19.12.2002
3.09.2003 North carriageway built
S5-PL.svg Śmigiel bypass 4.1 km (2.55 mi) 2002 One carriageway only
S6-PL.svg Straszyn-Pruszcz Gdański (Rusocin) 5.4 km (3.36 mi) 2000 2001 Second carriageway built
S7-PL.svg Białobrzegi bypass 7.7 km (4.78 mi) 2001 2003
S8-PL.svg 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 EU[edit]

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).[10] 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).[3]

Motorways opened from 1.05.2004 to 31.10.2009

Signation Section Length Date of beginning of the construction Date of opening Notes
A1-PL.svg 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) 22.01.2007 20.10.2009
Bełk-Świerklany 14.3 km (8.89 mi) 7.08.2008 2009
A4-PL.svg Kleszczów-Sośnica 19.1 km (11.87 mi) 2003 October 2005
Wieliczka-Targowisko 19.5 km (12.12 mi) 2007 2009
S1-PL.svg Miłówka-Szare 2.9 km (1.80 mi) 30.06.2004 14.11.2006 Single carriageway
Szare-Laliki 4.9 km (3.04 mi) 26.10.2007 18.11.2009
Laliki-Zwardoń 1.8 km (1.12 mi) 12.06.2007 26.12.2008
Zwardoń-border with SlovakiaSlovakia flag 300.png 1.4 km (0.87 mi) 15.11.2002 22.12.2004
S3-PL.svg 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
S5-PL.svg Szubin bypass 4.5 km (2.80 mi) 2004 2006
S7-PL.svg 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) 28.09.2007 03.06.2009
Grójec bypass 8.3 km (5.16 mi) 18.10.2006 19.09.2008
Białobrzegi-Jedlińsk 15.7 km (9.76 mi) 06.07.2006 30.06.2008
Kielce bypass (northern part) 7.1 km (4.41 mi) 2007 2009
S8-PL.svg Oleśnica bypass 7.21 km (4.48 mi) 2004 2006
Wyszków bypass 12.8 km (7.95 mi) 27.02.2006 14.11.2008
Wyszków-Radzymin 17.3 km (10.75 mi) 08.12.2006 31.07.2009
S52-PL.svg Bielsko-Biała (Komorowice)-Jasienica 9.5 km (5.90 mi) 4.06.2003 27.10.2006

Total length of motorways and expressways in Poland (end of the year)[11][edit]

1936 – 95 km [12]
1937 – 133 km [12]
1938-1945 – 133 km [12]
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 – 4000 km (forecast)
2019 – 4467 km (forecast)
2020 – 4598 km (forecast)
2021 – 5253 km (forecast)
2022 – 5461 km (forecast)
2023 – 5815 km (forecast)
2024 – 6098 km (forecast)
2025 – 6205 km (forecast)
20?? - 8000,00  km (year unknown; forecast; according to plans)


Information in the tables given as of 30.03.2018.

1-One carriage highways accounted as half-length in percentages

See also[edit]


  1. ^ GUS. "Transport - wyniki działalności w 2016 r." stat.gov.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  2. ^ Dz.U. 2007 nr 35 poz. 220(in Polish)
  3. ^ a b Dz.U. 2009 nr 187 poz. 1446(in Polish)
  4. ^ "S16 na priorytetowej liście Rządu". olsztyn.tvp.pl. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  5. ^ "Zmiany w rozporządzeniu w sprawie sieci autostrad i dróg ekspresowych - Ministerstwo Infrastruktury i Budownictwa". mib.gov.pl. Retrieved 2016-07-05.
  6. ^ a b "Strona główna :: Generalna Dyrekcja Dróg Krajowych i Autostrad - Serwis informacyjny". www.gddkia.gov.pl/pl/1077/mapa-stanu-budowy-drog. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  7. ^ a b "OpenStreetMap". www.openstreetmap.org. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  8. ^ a b "Mapa autostrad i dróg ekspresowych w Polsce - SISKOM & SSC". ssc.siskom.waw.pl. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  9. ^ Prof. M. W. Nestorowicz, Problem budowy dróg samochodowych (autostrad) w Polsce
  10. ^ Dz.U. 2004 nr 128 poz. 1334(in Polish)
  11. ^ http://mib.gov.pl/files/0/1796809/RMUchwala1052017.pdf
  12. ^ a b c Then Nazi Germany

External links[edit]