Belarus Road Network

By | November 7, 2022

The M-roads of Belarus.

Belarus is an important transit country, which is reflected in the fact that the M1 from Brest to the border with Russia has been developed as a highway. In addition, there are short highways here and there around major cities and around the capital Minsk there is a complete ring highway with at least 2×3 lanes. There is little traffic outside the capital Minsk, as the countryside is sparsely populated. The major thoroughfares are generally in good condition. There are wide ring roads around most of the larger cities, as was common throughout the former Soviet Union.

Motorways

According to wholevehicles, Belarus has 987 kilometers of motorway, considerably more than most neighboring countries. Most motorways are of good quality, but sometimes a bit substandardelements in road design. The M1 is the longest motorway, covering 611 kilometres. In addition, parts of most of Minsk’s radial roads are motorways, such as the M2, M3, M4, M5, M6, R1, and R23. The M9 is the Ring Minsk and is also a motorway. The M8 is briefly a motorway at Orsha, as is the M6 ​​at Grodno. At Polack in the north, the R20 is a short motorway. A number of 2×3 lane motorways have been developed around Minsk, such as the entire M9, part of the M4 and the entire R1. Traffic is not very busy. Only around Minsk it can be a bit busier. A highway is referred to in Belarus with various terms, including аўтастрады (autostrady). This is similar to Polish. Russian and Belarusian terms are often used interchangeably, Автодороги (Avtodorogi) is also a common term.

There are often grade separated bypasses around large cities, such as at Vitebsk, Orsha, Brest, Mogilev, Grodno and Gomel. These are not considered motorways, because they almost always have 1×2 lanes. There are also 2×2 parts around larger cities that are not considered a motorway due to the presence of irregular intersections and zebra crossings.

Toll

A toll is charged on a number of roads, for most travelers this is most evident on the M1 which runs from Brest via Minsk to the border with Russia. Since 1 July 2013, a fully electronic toll system with a transponder (OBU) has been introduced, which was first applied on the M1 motorway between Brest and the Russian border. Later, electronic tolls were also introduced on other motorways and main roads. Originally, a transponder was mandatory for all vehicles, including foreign ones, but in December 2020 an electronic vignette was introduced as an alternative. All vehicles must pay tolls, except vehicles registered in the Eurasian Union.

Republican roads

The secondary main road network of Belarus is formed by the republican roads, which have the prefix ‘R’ (Cyrillic: Р). The road numbering runs from the R1 to R151. Some R-roads are designed as motorways. The R-roads open up all places of interest.

Republican roads in Belarus

Local roads

The tertiary road network is formed by the local roads, which have the prefix ‘N’ (Cyrillic: Н). These road numbers are 4-digit and are probably not or hardly indicated. Given the density of the R-roads, the N-roads have a very secondary importance and only open up small villages and rural areas.

Road management

The Belarusian roads are operated by BelAvtoDor, short for Belorusskie Avtomobilnye Dorogi, translated Belarusian automobile roads. Before the Russian revolution, road management was carried out by the Ministry of Railways. After 1917, two departments were set up, the Упрдоротделов (Uprdorotdelov) and ГУМТов (GUMTov). In 1922 these departments were merged into Дорбелотдел (Dorbelotdel). From 1928 this was called the Главдортранс (Glavdortrans), and road construction only really started in Belarus, which at the time belonged to the Soviet Union. In August 1935 this department was again divided into a department for main roads and for local roads. Between 1941 and 1944, a large part of the road network was destroyed by the Second World War. Higher standard road projects, multi-lane roads and grade-separated intersections began in 1973. At the time, Belarus had 41,709 kilometers of road, of which 26,572 kilometers were paved. By the end of 1996, this number had grown to 50,833 kilometers of paved road. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Belarus has been one of the countries with the most developed road network, especially compared to neighboring countries.Ukraine, and in the 1990s also with Poland. Since then, the roads have been well maintained.

Borders

Belarus has had a customs union with Russia since April 1, 2011. This means that border controls have been lifted, similar to the Schengen area. Belarus still has border controls with Ukraine and the EU member states Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. Border controls are quite strict and usually take a few hours for passenger traffic to almost 24 hours for freight traffic. After that, you can in principle drive on to the border with China without further border controls, since Kazakhstanfrom 1 July 2011 also falls within the customs union. Border facilities with EU Member States have been modernized in recent years, in particular the Kukuryki border crossing with Poland, near Brest.

European roads

European roads in Belarus
E28 • E30 • E85 • E95 • E271

Signage

The signage is similar to that in Russia, with blue signs and white letters. Road numbers are indicated in white letters in a red box, with a prefix (M or P). The P is Cyrillic for R, but is often simply translated as P in Latin script. No color distinction is made among road numbers, except for Europawegen, which are in green. The signage is reasonable, but knowledge of Cyrillic is required as an English translation is used only sporadically and certainly not consistently.

Belarus Road Network