Another highway segment has been opened for traffic in Romania.
For almost two decades, in every election campaign, the parties with governmental ambitions promise, without exception, that, when they finish their mandate, Romania will have a network of highways like the West. And at the end of the mandate, nothing actually happened in that sense, but their promises resume. Romania, the press notes, ends another year without much success in terms of transport infrastructure. On Thursday, in the center of the country, 13 kilometers of the A1 Highway, part of the pan-European Corridor IV, were inaugurated, not without some fanfare. They add to the already existing 40 kilometers of the Craiova-Pitesti Expressway (south), inaugurated in the summer of this year. They are sections of the Olt Valley highway, considered the most important road infrastructure project and, at the same time, the first high-speed highway that will cross the Carpathians, connecting Muntenia (south) to Transylvania (center). Experts say, however, that only in 2028 could the entire Olt Valley highway be opened. This will include 70 kilometers in a mountain area and works will start next year.
If the optimistic scenario is respected, in six years’ time traffic will be possible on fast roads from Constanta (south-east), Romania’s largest Black Sea port, to the border with Hungary, in the west. However, about 150 kilometers are missing to have a complete highway from one end of the country to the other, i.e. three segments on the Bucharest Ring Road, four segments between Pitesti and Sibiu (center) and one more, smaller segment, but with tunnels requiring laborious work, between Lugoj and Deva (center-west). The decision-makers from the Transport Ministry claim that a very important step has been taken for the future network leading to the north-east of the country. The execution contracts for the Focşani-Bacău section, 96 kilometers on the Moldova Highway, were signed, and the builder is the most powerful civil contractor in Romania, a company from the very Bacău county, which Minister Sorin Grindeanu praises a lot.
As for the Highway known as the Union Highway, which will go from the center of the country, from Târgu Mures, to Iasi, in the east, and then to Ungheni, on the border with the Republic of Moldova, all the specialists say that a realistic deadline for completion is the year 2030. The road measures about 300 kilometers in length and will cut through the mountains between Transylvania and Moldavia. Finally, another major connection between the Romanian historical provinces, the bridge over the Danube from Brăila (south-east), located on the border between Dobrogea, Muntenia and Moldavia, will be inaugurated only next spring. Minister Grindeanu admits that the works had to be completed on December 20 at the latest, as the Italian contractor had promised, but the connecting roads are only half ready, and the bridge has not even been asphalted. (LS)