Poland’s longest road tunnel, at 2,335 metres (7,661 feet), opened in Warsaw today. It completes the capital’s southern ring road, which will allow drivers to bypass the city faster and reduce urban congestion.
The three-lane tunnel runs under the residential Ursynów district and connects to a new bridge over the Vistula river which was opened a year ago.
“Today we are opening the most modern and at the same time longest tunnel in Poland,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the press at the opening. He said the project would bolster the country’s economic development as well as improve living standards and safety for residents of the capital.
Dziś pojedziemy tunelowym odcinkiem Południowej Obwodnicy Warszawy w ciągu drogi ekspresowej #S2. Tym samym połączymy funkcjonujące już odcinki po zachodniej i wschodniej stronie Wisły.#ŁączymyPolskę#FunduszeUE@MI_GOV_PL pic.twitter.com/Kr55SPsVG5
— GDDKiA Warszawa (@GDDKiA_Warszawa) December 20, 2021
The S2 southern ring road runs 33 kilometres, with its final stretch of 4.6 kilometres between Puławska street and the Wilanów district added today. As a result, drivers on the A2 highway will now be able to circumvent the capital.
“Connecting two express road systems, two highways…is very important because up until now Poland was to a large extend cut up, chopped up by expressways,” said Morawiecki, quoted by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
Infrastructure minister Andrzej Adamczyk said that the tunnel meant that traffic would be lighter for residents of Warsaw’s southern districts, but also would help “clear the entire route from the Polish-German border through Poznań, Łódź, Warsaw to Mińsk Mazowiecki”.
The tunnel is equipped with fire and air transparency detectors as well as average speed measuring speed cameras.
The cost of the three S2 fragments that constitute the southern ring road stood at 4.6 billion zloty (roughly €994 million), said Morawiecki. He noted that two thirds of the investment was covered from the state budget, rather than European funds. “That gives us good future prospects,” he said.
The tunnel is part of the government’s plans to expand the national high-speed road network. Morawiecki pledged that “hundreds of kilometres” of new roads across the country would follow. He later wrote on Facebook that the government had earmarked 292 billion zloty until 2030 for large road projects.
Main image credit: GDDiK/Krzysztof Nalewajko
Maria Wilczek is deputy editor of Notes from Poland. She is a regular writer for The Times, The Economist and Al Jazeera English, and has also featured in Foreign Policy, Politico Europe, The Spectator and Gazeta Wyborcza.