If you never went to Poland, you probably don’t know why I’m going on about polish roads. Well, Poland is huge. I mean, you need some good hours to go around it. Fortunately, they do have some good amounts of highways that tie the big cities. Some of them are paid, some aren’t. But it doesn’t really matter, since most of the national roads are quite easy to around. Except the road from Krakow to Oswiecim, which is mostly a hill road with very few overpass chances. But that in another article.
I first entered Poland on the road from Slovakia, on a local roads, on the road to Zakopane. The road through Zakopane was interesting, we saw an interesting architecture on the Polish houses that we’ve never expected. Because it was snowing, we didn’t really went very fast.
Nevertheless, we’ve were happy to go slow on this polish road, because we had quite a view. And Zakopane it’s quite a place to visit. However, we’ll talk about it in a future article. Let’s stick with the polish roads, which are quite interesting.
How the polish roads are divided
You can divide polish roads into four categories: motorways, expressways (or euro roads), voivevodship roads and local roads, know as powiat or gmina.
Motorways in Poland
In Poland you have over 3000 km of motorway. To be precise, 3274 KM in March 2017. Also, in the following years, we’re going to see more motorways in Poland. More like 5000 km by 2030. Due to cost and geography, they haven’t managed to build more roads in the last 20 years. Also, most of the highways have been built in the last 15 years, since Poland had joined the EU.
There are three main highways in Poland:
A4 – Going from the Ukraine border town of Korczowa near cities like Przeworsk, Rzeszow, Debica, Tarnow, Brezsko, Krakow, Katowice, Opole, Wroclaw ad Legnita, entering in Germany near Cottbus.
A2 – Starts from Warsaw and goes near cities like Lodz and Poznan, until going into Germany towards Berlin. Probably in the future we’re going to see it extended to Bialystok and there further on to Lithuanian and Belarusian Borders.
A1 – This highways goes from the port towns of Gdynia and Gdansk to Lodz, going near cities like Grudziaz and Wlocklawek. While it’s shorter than the other highways, they plan to construct it all the way to Katowice and further on to the Slovakian and Czech borders.
They do plan to build more highways in other parts of the country, since there are a lot of big cities in Poland that don’t have good connection to the main highways.
The cost of travelling on the polish motorways is 8 to 10 zlots per 100 KM, depending on the motorway you are on.
Expressways in Poland
Expressways are the national roads that unite most of the big cities that are now not directly linked by higways. These are still good quality roads, some of them with 4 lanes, but with smaller maintenance costs. Although Poland is a country with a lot of highways, these roads can become quite crowded in some days of the week. From all the expressway roads that you can find in Poland, two of them are the busiest:
E28 or 6th road, that goes from Szczecin through Kozalin, Slups and finally Gdynia, being the big Baltic sea coastal road. This is one of the most important roads in the country, since Gdynia is the biggest port town in Poland and from there quite a lot of merchandise find it’s way to the rest of the Europe.
Another crowded road is the one from Zakopane to Krakow (47th road). This one is not a long road, but being the main connection from Zakopane, a big mountain tourist attraction and Krakow, the biggest city in the south of Poland, you are going to see a lot of “staus” here.
There are of course the roads that go north to south in the eastern part of Poland. There will be a highway there in the near future, but not until 2020, for sure. That’s why roads like Lublin – Rzeszow and Lublin Bialystok can become quite busy in the weekends.
Expressways are an important part of the country and they are going to remain important for the following 10 to 15 years. Until all the big cities in Eastern Poland are easier to get through.
Voivodeships roads in Poland
If you aren’t aware, Poland is quite a big place divided in voivodeships. And every Voivodeship has a lot of local important roads in it’s care. Most of them are single carriage roads, with a few dual carriage ways, on the most important bits.
Most of the roads are in good shape and shortcuts if you want to go around the country. Also, those are a good way to discover polish towns and villages and see how the polish people are living.
Powiat or Gmina roads in Poland
If you don’t know the difference, let me explain. Powiat roads are county roads, powiat being a subdivision of a voivodeship in Poland. These are clusters of towns that group to form a comunity. A county, to make it simple to understand.
On the other had, gmina are local roads. Town and villages from Poland are the ones responsible for maintaining the infrastructure on those roads. Almost 2/3 of these roads haven’t seen pavement in their days.
In conclusion, that’s what you need to know about the Polish roads. A huge country, lots of motorways, expressways and small roads that make the country easy to traverse, even if it’s a vast place.