Will Ukrainian roads be repaired?

Ukrainian government officials plan to repair a half of Ukraine’s roads in the next 5 years. Is this forecast real or just another election promise? How much money is necessary?  “Investor” reposts.

The total length of all Ukrainian roads is approximately 170 thousand kilometers, of which about 95% need major repairs. Therefore, in order to implement the government’s plans and do the repairs in 5 years, it is necessary to repair about 30 thousand kilometers of roads per year. Only about 700 km were repaired last year.

In order to implement this plan, the government has allocated funds in an amount of about 298 billion hryvnias. However, is this amount enough? Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman on the air of one of the Ukrainian TV channels has promised that in the next five years more than half of the country’s roads will be repaired. The head of “Ukravtodor” Slavomir Novak is more cautious in his assessments and said that during the next five years it is planned to connect all the regional centers of Ukraine by good roads.

“We plan to gradually move away from current average repairs and carry out major repairs, reconstruction, and new construction. And starting from 2020, pit repair will be done in emergency cases only, and current average repairs will go down in history”,

assured the head of “Ukravtodor “.

He also noted that by the end of 2022 about 20 thousand kilometers of highways will be repaired.

However, the experts do not share optimistic forecast of the head of the government or the head of “Ukravtodor”. Current road repairs cost about 10 million per kilometer, and major road repairs are going to cost 20 million per kilometer. Thus, Andriy Martens, an expert of the “Reanimation Package of Reforms” initiative, which specializes in the reform of the road sector, said:

“Taking to account the fact that such repairs will cost more than 30 million hryvnias per kilometer, 20 thousand kilometers of roads may require an amount at least three times higher than planned”.

According to government plans for the construction and reconstruction of roads of state importance for 2018, it is planned to spend 6.6 billion hryvnias this year, about 1,3 billion of which are for major repairs, and over 4.8 billion – for current repairs.

To sum up,  initiatives like this one should be welcomed. However, there’s a concern that such statements may be a political manipulation. We will see if it’s true only when “Ukravtodor” will present a clear strategic plan of action, not just forecasts. Of course, many experts also state that the quality of work largely depends on the reform of the department itself.

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