By the end of this year, a record 210 kilometers of highways will be under construction in the Czech Republic, with approximately 650 kilometers remaining to be completed from the basic highway network. Radek Mátl, director general of the Directorate of Roads and Highways (ŘSD), told journalists. He believes it could be completed within ten years, he added. Transport Minister Martin Kupka (ODS) said that next year 118 kilometers of new highway sections will be opened and the construction of 93 kilometers of highways will start. The minister wants to discuss financing the construction with the opposition.
Mátl appreciated that the record budget of the ŘSD this year will increase even more next year. This year, the directorate manages 65 billion crowns, next year it will be up to 78 billion, he said. To the 181 kilometers of highways currently under construction, additional sections will be added to the D35, D3 between Nažidly and Dolní Dvořiště and D11 from Trutnov to the border with Poland by the end of the year.
According to Mátl, the D6, D7, D35 and D11 motorways will be completed within three to five years, he identified the D3 in the Central Bohemian region, the D52 and the Prague motorway bypass as problematic sections. “I believe that within ten years, as we promise, the basic highway network will be completed,” he said.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Transport, 15.4 kilometers will be added to the highway network this year and 118.1 kilometers next year. For first-class roads, it is 54.8 kilometers this year and 29 kilometers next year. In total, more than 260 kilometers of highways and first-class roads are under construction, Kupka said. According to him, new sections of the motorways in Moravia on the D35, a more than thirty-kilometer section on the D4 built in PPP mode in cooperation with a private investor, and the České Budějovice motorway bypass on the D3 will be put into operation next year.
Construction will begin next year on four sections of the D35 highway, part of the Prague ring road between Běchovice and D1, as well as new sections on Karlovy Vary D6 and South Bohemia D3, the minister said. The documentation for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the connection between Brno and Vienna and the northern part of the Prague bypass is ready, he said. According to a press release from the Ministry of Transport, construction of 47 kilometers of first-class roads is expected to start next year, which includes, among other things, two sections of the I/20 road near České Budějovice, the Náchoda, Plas, Sezemic bypass and the eastern Bruntál bypass.
Kupka said that he wants to negotiate with the opposition next week in order to ensure money for road construction in the future as well. “We are looking at more than one government term,” he said. According to him, it is necessary to find agreement on new instruments for financing construction. This year and next year, a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) is being used, which is more advantageous than financing with money from government bonds, and a larger scale of PPP construction is planned, he said. According to him, investments from pension funds and other private entities can complete the puzzle of financial instruments. Negotiations with the opposition are needed to agree on long-term plans, as financing the construction will deepen the state’s debt, he said.
The ŘSD is ready for winter maintenance, Mátl said. Over 800 employees and 213 spreaders will be working on maintenance on highways, contractors are contracted on first-class roads. “I believe that the climatic conditions will not be so dramatic and that they will not prepare us for unexpected events,” said the head of the ŘSD. Kupka emphasized that the state’s maintenance payments will be billed based on actual mileage, as the vehicles can be tracked with a GPS system.
The Ministry of Transport stated in a press release that during the winter period, the number of places on the D1 will be expanded where, with the exception of sections with rising lanes, it will be prohibited to overtake trucks over 3.5 tons. In mid-November, a ban on overtaking trucks will come into force between the 90th and 112th kilometers in Vysočina and also between the 146th and 182nd kilometers, i.e. from Velké Meziříčí to Kývalek. At the beginning of next year, this will be followed by the extension of the ban also from Mirošovice to the 90th kilometer of Humpolka and from the 112th kilometer of Jihlava to the 141st kilometer near Velké Meziříčí.