Road works booming: Ukraine plans to change its road map within 3 years
Ukraine's roads are among the worst ones in the world, with only Mozambique and Moldova lagging behind. However, in the coming years, the situation may change. The government plans to carry out a tremendous renovation of the country’s motorway infrastructure. UNIAN decided to find out where road construction and repair will start and what will be the cost for taxpayers.
Road repairs are the main priority for Volodymyr Groysman’s Cabinet. That is why for several years in a row, billions of hryvnias have been allocated for major repairs of our main road arteries and patching pits on secondary roads. For example, in 2017 alone, some UAH 12 billion was allocated from the state budget to this end. Another UAH 10.2 billion came from customs over the 9 months of this year.
"In fact, we see more than UAH 20 billion, although we planned UAH 35 billion. Accordingly, our forecast for capital road repair is about 2,000 kilometers by year-end," said Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan.
Next year, the government plans to allocate at least twice as much. The draft state budget-2018 envisages more than UAH 40 billion. "Starting from January 1, 2018, the Road Fund will be introduced as a new financing instrument. And this will only increase road repair funding... Next year it will be more than UAH 42 billion," Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman assured recently, and therefore the number of renovated roads should grow. However, to ensure that all roads are put in order, officials need to allocate at least UAH 50 billion within five years.
Plans for western Ukraine
In addition to road repair and patching pits, in the coming years, Ukraine will see the start of several new large-scale road projects. Among those will be the construction of the Northern bypass around Lviv, which should connect Ukraine’s important road arteries - Kyiv-Chop, Lviv-Krakivets, and Lviv-Lutsk routes.
The new bypass will be 24 km long and have four lanes - two in each direction. Construction of three modern overpasses made of reinforced concrete is also planned.
Besides, at the intersection of the new bypass with the Kyiv-Chop and Lviv-Lutsk routes near the village of Malye Pidlisky, the government plans to construct a two-level junction.
At the moment, the project is only on paper. In the summer, Ukravtodor, Ukraine’s road maintenance agency, announced that it was ready to call a tender for the development of the relevant project documentation. The cost of construction and the source of funding for this project remains unclear.
A similar large-scale construction is expected on the already operating Lviv-Mukacheve route. "Now the M-06 motorway from Mukacheve to Lviv passes through a complex mountainous terrain, therefore, it takes about 3.5 hours to travel through it. The new highway will reduce the travel time to just two hours," Ukravtodor believes.
Now the experts are developing a project that should include the development of the optimal concept of the route with proposals for the reconstruction of existing road sections or construction of new ones, and also determining the cost of the project in accordance with the chosen concept.
In addition, Ukravtodor together with the World Bank is developing another project - the reconstruction of the road from the city of Mukacheve to the village of Dyida, with the construction of a new eponymous border checkpoint.
This should relieve the load from the Chop-Zahon checkpoint, which for the time being, accounts for the bulk of freight road transport. Thus, the long-term problem of transport routes between Ukraine and Hungary will be solved.
Ukravtodor does not specify the construction deadline but promises that by the end of 2017, the design phase will have been completed.
Besides, the construction of a bypass road around Berehove and the reconstruction of the Berehove-Mukacheve highway are planned before 2020, as well as the expansion and modernization of the Beregsuran-Luzhanka (Astey) border checkpoint.
The development of highways from the city of Mukacheve to the village of Dyida and from Berehove to Mukacheve is planned to be carried out for credit funds. Last year, the Hungarian government gave Ukraine EUR 50 million for improving the infrastructure at the Ukrainian-Hungarian border.
Ukrainian motorists will also rejoice at the construction of a quality motorway on the Lviv-Dubno section. At least, the Ministry of Infrastructure announced that it is jointly exploring with the World Bank the possibility of building a high-speed road there. This route is part of an international motorway, which begins in Kyiv and ends on the border with Hungary at the checkpoint "Chop". However, according to the minister of infrastructure, now the narrow section of the Lviv-Dubno road significantly hinders the traffic flow.
Ukravtodor also said that they are carrying out a tender for capital repairs and reconstruction of a 41 km long road at the border of Khmelnitsky and Vinnytsia regions. In Ternopil region, Ukravtodor plans to build an 8.6 km long bypass road for the city of Ternopil.
We should expect an improvement on the Stryi-Ternopil-Kropivnytsky-Znamenka road. However, the repairs will be done only within Khmelnytsky region. The contractor is a China-based Xinjiang Communications Construction. The project cost is estimated at $38.485 million.
Also, in the west of the country, a toll road Lviv-Krakivets will be constructed. In early October, Omelyan said that the tender could be announced as early as this year. "I think the announcement will be this year. This is real, and we will try. To this end, it is necessary to adopt changes in the legislation on concession projects. This is an experiment and will proceed from traffic," he said.
It should be noted that these plans are not new. Back in 2015, Ukravtodor announced a tender for the construction of the Lviv-Krakivets concession road. But in September of the same year, it became known that the competitive applications do not meet the conditions of the competition. In this regard, the Ministry of Infrastructure reported that it expects to restart the competition after the Ukrainian legislation on concession has been improved, as well as that on public-private partnership.
Projects for central and northern Ukraine
The roads in the center and north of Ukraine will not be deprived of attention, either. Now, a major overhaul of a 63.7 km long Kyiv-Bila Tserkva road is underway. Altcom Company has begun the works in 2013, and it plans to complete the project this year.
But it may so happen that the newly renovated road to Bila Tserkva will not be the only one. The government plans to build another route, but it will be a toll road. An advisor to Ukravtodor CEO, Oleksandr Kava, told UNIAN about these plans earlier this summer. According to him, Ukravtodor is already preparing the technical requirements for the construction of this concession road. The cost is about $300 million. It is an investor who should give this sum, to collect fares for the next 25 years.
However, the idea of building a new road to Bila Tserkva is puzzling to many officials. "I talked with investors. They will not invest EUR 150-200 million. What for? Now there is a great, and free, road, which is constantly being upgraded," Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Viktor Dovgan told UNIAN.
Ukravtodor has plenty of plans for central and northern regions of Ukraine. The company is ready to undertake the overhaul of a 80 km long Brovary-Kipti route. The work will be carried out at the expense of the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and the EIB (European Investment Bank).
In addition, Ukravtodor intends for the money of the World Bank to build a 15 km long bypass road in Boryspil: after all, now the narrow central street of this town can no longer service the huge traffic flow to Kyiv and back. Because of this, traffic jams in Boryspil can delay road trips by several hours.
Also, this year Ukravtodor plans to announce a tender for the reconstruction of the Kyiv-Chernihiv motorway and sign an agreement on the reconstruction of the Northern bypass of Zhytomir.
On Wednesday, Ukravtodor CEO Slawomir Novak reported on the completion of the major overhaul of a 29km long Kyiv-Znamenka road section, stretching from Kyiv to Obukhiv. The project cost Ukravtodor some EUR 46.5 million, lent by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank. Now the agency intends to undertake new repairs next year to fix the route from Obukhiv to Znamenka. At the moment, two sections, 36.6 km and 26 km long, and two overpasses through the railway at 107 km are scheduled for repairs.
Kyiv-Dnipro highway, which runs through Boryspil, Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky and Kremenchug will not be ignored, either. Now, Turkey’s Onur Construction International is repairing certain parts of the route for almost UAH 500 million. The project is to be completed by mid-2019.
An important project for Dnipropetrovsk region will be the reconstruction of the southern entrance to the city of the Dnipro. In August, PM Groysman promised that these works will be completed next year. To this end, the Ukrainian government intends to allocate UAH 250 million by year-end.
However, to allow motorists getting easier to Dnipro via the Kyiv-Poltava-Kharkiv route, it is also planned to seriously repair the section of the Reshetylivka-Dnipro road. For UAH 350 million, Ukravtodor is to expand the road to four lanes, which will significantly improve the traffic flow between Kyiv and Dnipro.
However, not all has been decided on this section of the road yet. For example, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Viktor Dovgan believes that from Reshetylivka to Kobylyaky it is possible to build a new concrete road for UAH 5 billion. The tender is expected to be announced next month, while the construction will cost about UAH 5 billion, according to the official.
In Poltava region, Ukravtodor is constructing an 8.5 km long detour around Pokrovska Bohachka. This should improve the traffic flow between Poltava and Lubny. In addition, Ukravtodor is building a 2.9 km long south-western detour around Poltava.
Another Chinese company, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), is to carry out a major overhaul of the Poltava-Oleksandria motorway at the section of Kremenchug with a bridge across the Dnipro River.
Delicate eastern prospects
The main road project in the east of the country, according to the authorities, should be the construction of a route from Kharkiv toward the front-line town of Bakhmut. The government testified to the seriousness of its plans and intentions in the draft budget for 2018, laying UAH 2 billion for the overhaul of this road, which is a fairly long section. In addition, the best experts from Xinjiang Communications Construction Group will be working there hand in hand with Ukravtodor. In October, Ukravtodor signed a contract worth $57.298 million after the plan to repair the route was foiled by the Italian company, Todini.
The project will be financed from a $560 million World Bank loan, which Ukraine received in early October 2015.
Also, the section of the route from Kharkiv to Poltava is waiting for its overhaul: Ukravtodor plans to announce a tender for major repairs and reconstruction of 70 km of Poltava-Valki road.
The repair of the Slavyansk-Chervony Lyman motorway is also underway. In some sections, the asphalt was torn to the ground, so a new coating was built. A railway bridge in Lyman is also being repaired. In Lyman itself, a bypass has 95% of new asphalt. A major road repair is underway and in the village of Torske. In addition, the work on the construction of a 6.7 km long detour around Krasnohorivka (Donetsk region) is nearing completion.
Concrete roads in southern Ukraine
Perhaps, the most important project for the Ukrainian economy is the construction of roads in the country’s south. After all, this is where the main sea gates and popular resorts with obvious potential are located - therefore, high-quality road arteries are extremely necessary. That is why Odesa region is seeing a capital repair of the Kyiv-Odesa highway. As UNIAN was told in the Ministry of Infrastructure, in 2017 some UAH 389.21 million was allocated to this end.
The grandiose plan of the Ukrainian government became the construction of an Autobahn called GO Highway, which will connect Odesa with the Baltics. The highway will run along the Lviv-Ternopil-Khmelnytsky-Vinnytsia-Uman-Odesa-Mykolayiv route. At the moment, work is underway on the Lviv-Ternopil highway, which will be part of this transport corridor and this year, UAH 800 million are laid in the budget for this project. However, next year, the government plans to allocate another UAH 4 billion. According to Ukravtodor CEO, the funds are planned to be used to repair a section of the road from Ternopil to Uman and begin major repairs and reconstruction of the road from Khmelnytsky to the border with Vinnytsia region.
In addition, in the framework of GO Highway, a section of the Odesa-Mykolayiv-Kherson road is to be reconstructed.
By the way, it is possible that the road from Odesa to Mykolayiv will be made of concrete. The relevant memorandum was signed in early July with China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). According to the agreement, CRBC shall allocate two preferential loans - a loan from the Chinese government and an export buyer's loan.
Good news for the people living in southern Ukraine was also the statements by Prime Minister Groysman on the government’s intention to include the Mykolayiv-Kropyvnytskyi road into the capital repair plan for the coming years. However, the infrastructure minister calls not to postpone the construction for the next few years, but to start as early as 2018 and finish it the same year. In addition, the minister insists - the road from Mykolayiv to Kropyvnytskyi must be made of concrete.
Via Carpatia: everything is just beginning
A significant event for the domestic infrastructure was Ukraine’s accession to the new international road route Via Carpatia, which has several branches in our country. Having joined the project, Ukraine undertakes to carry out major repairs and construction of separate sections of roads on several routes.
The first one begins with the Polish Rzeszow in the direction of Lviv and Chernivtsi, and then goes to the Romanian city of Suceava. The second route of the international highway starts in Lublin, Poland. Further it passes through the Polish Helm and Ukrainian cities Kovel, Lutsk, Kyiv, Ternopil, Vinnytsia, with Odesa being its final destination. And the third route begins in Lublin (Poland), passes through Zamosc (Poland), Lviv, Ternopil, and turns to the Romanian city of Siret.
By the way, Ukraine in 2017 already planned to overhaul the Ternopil-Chernivtsi-Tereblece road section (Chernivtsi region), which is part of one of the above-mentioned routes. However, as UNIAN was informed by Ukravtodor, no funding was allocated this year. "For UAH 30 million it was planned to repair 6 kilometers of the road. But they did not do anything. Accordingly, this remains in the plans for the next year," Ukravtodor officials said.
However, work has been done on the average repair of the road from Lviv to Ternopil. The amount of funds spent is over UAH 500 million, while in Vinnytsia region it is planned to repair roads in 201 for UAH 448.1 million within the framework of the Via Carpatia project.
As we can see, next year, road works in Ukraine will expand significantly. While all of this gives hope that in the foreseeable future, part of the domestic roads will not only stop annoying Ukrainians but also become a factor in increasing the country's transit potential and economic development. That’s, of course, provided that the money is found and not plundered.