Romania Road Network

By | December 2, 2022

Romania’s completed and under construction highways.

According to wholevehicles, Romania has a network of 86,391 kilometers of public roads, including 17,873 kilometers of national road, 35,083 kilometers of district roads and 33,435 kilometers of municipal roads. Of these roads, 30% is still unpaved and 44% in good condition.

When Romania joined the European Union in 2007, Romania had the least developed road network in the EU. A large part of the roads was in poor condition and there were hardly any motorways. Since 2010, the main road network has been modernized at a rapid pace, almost all drum naţional are now in good condition. In addition, a network of motorways, called the autostradă, is under construction. The quality of the motorways is generally good, but they have few facilities such as gas stations by Western European standards.

The first road class is the autostradă (plural autostrăzi) with the prefix A. This is followed by the drum rapid or drum express, with the abbreviation DX. Then follow the national main roads, the drum naţional (plural drumuri naţionale) abbreviated as DN. The regional roads are the drum judeţean (plural drumuri judeţene) with the abbreviation DJ. Then follow the municipal roads, the drum comunal (plural drumuri comunale) abbreviated as DC. A number of major roads have an E number.

The motorways have at least 2×2 lanes and generally have excellent road surfaces. Insofar as there are expressways, they have a good road surface. The DN roads form Romania’s main road network and alternately have 1, 2 or even 3 lanes in each direction, often without a central partition. The quality of this has greatly improved. There are more and more road sections with excellent road surface quality.

The regional and municipal roads often have a moderate to poor road surface. In the major cities, almost all roads are paved, including residential streets. In rural areas, residential streets are often unpaved. There are also many unpaved country roads, but these never fulfill an important function.

Road marking occurs on almost all paved roads. These are often of high quality on national roads, but often worn away in urban and rural roads. The main roads almost always have side markings and often a narrow hard shoulder. The main roads are wide enough to pass each other. Regional and municipal roads are often narrower with the roadside crumbling.

Driving at night on non-main roads is not recommended for people who are not familiar with the road situation. There is hardly any road lighting, while reflector poles and reflective markings are missing. It is possible to drive at night on the major main roads. However, less and less attention must be paid to unlit and non-motorized vehicles on the road, such as a horse and carriage. The times when this happened on the highway are a thing of the past. Some roads with trees along the way sometimes have reflective paint applied to the trees.

Road management

The national road authority is the Compania Nationala de Administrare a Infrastructurii Rutiere, abbreviated CNAIR. This is an agency of the Ministry of Transport.

History

The Basarab flyover, new infrastructure in Bucureşti.

After World War II, Romania was ransacked by the Soviet Union. This resulted in a very scanty period that did not improve under the long communist regime of Ceaușescu. The dictatorship that Ceaușescu established was among the most repressive in Eastern Europe. Until the fall of communism in 1989, much attention was not paid to the road network.

The ideas for a highway network in Romania existed from the 60s of the 20th century. The increased traffic required better roads in this partially mountainous country. Between 1967 and 1969, he studied on a highway network in Romania. This was a network of radial highways from Bucharest, and intermediate links in all parts of the country. For example, there had to be a north-south connection between Ukraine and Bulgaria, and three connections between Hungary and Bucharest. Two highways to Moldova and a number of intermediate links were also considered, such as a highway from Cluj-Napoca to Suceava and Sibiu, and a highway from Sibiu to Brașov. A connection had also to be made along the Romanian coast to Bulgaria. Direct connections to the former Yugoslaviawere not provided. However, the focus of road construction was on the A1 from Bucharest to Pitești, rather than the busier connection between Bucharest and Brașov. This is seen as the influence of Ceauceșcu, the dictator of Romania who was born not far from Pitești. The planned highways were given a design speed of 140 km/h and had to pass through all cities, instead of through them. The highway plan included approximately 3,200 kilometers of highway.

Between 1967 and 1972, the first highway was opened in phases, the A1 from Bucharest to Pitești over 96 kilometers. In 1968 studies started for a highway from Bucharest to Ploiești. There was support for this highway, but in the end only the DN1 was expanded to 4 lanes. There was no highway. In 1971 a study started for a highway to the sea, and an extension from Constanța south to Bulgaria. The highway was not built, although it appeared in the so-called five-year plans from 1971 to 1975. From 1972 to 1973, studies were carried out for a highway between Ploiești and Brașov and from Pitești to Sibiu. A section between Campina and Comarnic was built at the time to be part of the highway from Bucharest to Brașov.

In 1979 a new plan appeared for a highway network with approximately 2,400 kilometers of highway. There was no real network, all highways were radial connections from Bucharest to different parts of the country, with the exception of the connection between Călărași and Galați. In this plan there were considerably fewer highways in western and northwestern Romania than in the highway plan of the late 1960s. The construction of the A2 was still a long time coming. Extensive studies were already carried out from 1979 to 1980, but it was not until 1987 that the first section between Fetești and Cernavodă was put into operation, including two bridges over the Danube. In 1980 there were plans for a ring road around the capital of about 100 kilometers. Little came of the plans,A3 and later also the extension of the A1 and the construction of an A4 as an east-west route through the Eastern Carpathians and the A5 to Moldova. It will be years before there is a complete network in Romania connecting all major cities. There are also no final plans for a Bucharest ring road yet.

In the 1990s, Romania experienced a long economic recession, partly because the many heavy industry in the country collapsed. The 1990s were very tight financially in Romania and little money was spent on the road network at that time. This changed after 2000, when Romania became more prosperous. Between 2004 and 2010, almost all major DN roads with the numbers 1 to 7 were modernized, so that these roads are now of excellent quality. In 2007 Romania joined the European Union and was eligible for co-financing of road projects, as usual up to 85% of construction costs. Partly because of this, a number of projects were started from 2007 to improve the other DN roads. On July 19, 2012, 103 kilometers of new highway opened, the largest number of new kilometers in one day so far.

Future

The motorway network will have to be expanded considerably in the coming years and for the time being, priority will be given to the construction of the A1 and A3. The most complex routes are the routes through the Carpathians. The construction costs of these routes are very high, which makes it desirable to design them as a PPP construction. It is unknown when this will be implemented. The construction of the A3 in western and central Romania is also continuously delayed. After 2010, road construction in Romania continued to decline, not a single new road was opened in 2017.

A third wave of modernization of the road network was initiated from 2010, so that by 2018 almost all DN roads were of good quality. The growing problems surrounding city traverses are also being tackled, with the construction of an ambitious program of bypasses. Hundreds of kilometers of new bypasses had to be built between 2010 and 2015, this program has only been partially implemented. The construction of new motorways should also relieve the DN road network. After that, in the context of rural development, a lot of money is invested in upgrading the DJ roads, which are more often of poor quality than of good quality. The Romanian road network is quite dense, there is hardly a village that is not located on a numbered road. This project will cost several billion euros and has a long duration. This is arranged decentrally per district, in contrast to the DN projects, which are arranged nationally by the CNAIR.

The development of the road network has slowed considerably from 2015, with deadlines not being met, construction projects coming to a standstill, funding shortages and unrealistic road building promises from the government. In addition, there appeared to be major problems with the quality of some new motorways. For example, subsidence and landslides occurred and soil conditions were poorly mapped out. By 2017, Romania barely opened any new sections of motorway despite the high availability of EU funds. One of the problems of road construction is the limited grip that road manager CNAIR had on poorly performing construction companies. A new sanctions system was introduced in 2022 that will allow contracts to be terminated more quickly, following debacles with contractors who delivered substandard work with years of delay, notably Italian construction companies were involved. The first round of negative certificates immediately involved 7 Italian construction companies.

The slow construction of the highways in Romania and the lack of accessibility to large parts of the country has led to more and more dissatisfaction, especially because neighboring Hungary is able to build a network of highways. On March 15, 2019, an entrepreneur from northeast Romania inaugurated the first meter of motorway in the Moldova region as a stunt. A call to protest against the lack of infrastructure that day was echoed across the country.

In time, the focus will be on the highways to the (north) east of Romania. For now, two are planned, the A7 to the border with Ukraine from Bucureşti and the highway from Târgu Mureş to Iaşi. The construction of this Autostrada Est-Vest will take a lot of time, especially because of the very high construction costs of more than 6 billion euros. A ring highway around the capital Bucureşti is also under construction.

In addition to the A-roads, drum on purpose is planned, grade-separated motorways with 2×2 lanes and highway characteristics. 11 routes are planned, mostly connections between A-roads or branches thereof. For the time being, the construction of these roads is not very concrete and depends on the Romanian government budget. Not a single DX road has been built yet.

Projects

Number Procedure Length get started Opening status
A0 Ciorogârla (A1) – Petrești (DN1) 17.5 km in tender
A0 Petrești (DN1) – Afumați (DN2) 19.0 km 12-05-2021 00-05-2024 under construction
A0 Afumați (DN2) – Pantelimon (DN3) 8.6 km 25-06-2021 00-12-2023 under construction
A0 Pantelimon (DN3) – Căldăraru (A2) 4.5 km 18-08-2020 00-02-2023 under construction
A0 Căldăraru (A2) – Berceni 16.9 km 03-10-2019 00-04-2023 under construction
A0 Berceni-Cornetu (DN6) 16.3 km 14-04-2019 00-10-2023 under construction
A0 Cornetu (DN6) – Ciorogârla (A1) 17.9 km 23-05-2019 00-11-2023 under construction
A1 Piteşti – Curtea de Argeș 30.3 km 11-05-2020 00-05-2025 under construction
A1 Curtea de Arges – Tigvenic 9.9 km 00-09-2021 00-09-2026 in on;eg
A1 Tigveni – Cornetu 37.4 km 01-08-2022 00-05-2027 under construction
A1 Cornetu – Boica 31.3 km 07-02-2022 00-19-2027 under construction
A1 Boița – Sibiu 13.2 km 30-03-2020 01-04-2023 under construction
A1 Holdea – Margina 13.5 km 14-10-2022 00-06-2026 under construction
A3 Comarnic – Brasov 58.0 km 00-00-202? 00-00-202? On schedule
A3 Chezani – Campia Turziic 16.0 km 00-00-2017 00-00-2021 under construction
A3 Nușfalău – Suplacu de Barcău 13.5 km 18-08-2020 00-08-2022 under construction
A3 Suplacu de Barcău – Chiribiş 18.5 km 06-09-2021 00-09-2023 under construction
A3 Chiribis – Biharia 28.5 km 00-00-2018 00-07-2022 under construction
A7 Dumbrava (A1) – Mizil 21.0 km 16-06-2022 00-02-2024 under construction
A7 Mizil – Pietroasele 28.4 km 07-06-2022 00-02-2024 under construction
A7 Pietroasele – Buzău 13.9 km 00-00-2022 00-00-2024 in tender
A7 Buzău – Vadu Pașii 4.6 km 00-00-2022 00-00-2025 in tender
A7 Vadu Pasii – Ramnicu Surati 30.8 km 00-00-2022 00-00-2025 On schedule
A7 Ramnicu Surat – Mandreşti 36.1 km 00-00-2022 00-00-2025 On schedule
A7 Mândrești Munteni – Focșani-Nord 10.9 km 00-00-2022 00-00-2025 in tender
A7 Focșani – Domnești Târg 35.6 km 00-00-2022 00-00-2025 in tender
A7 Domnești Târg – Răcăciuni 38.8 km 00-00-2022 00-00-2025 in tender
A7 Răcăciuni – Bacău 24.5 km 00-00-2022 00-00-2025 in tender
A12 Craiova – Robănești 17.7 km 27-12-2018 00-00-2023 under construction
A12 Valea Mare – Colonesti 31.8 km 17-09-2020 00-08-2024 under construction
A12 Colonesti – A1 31.9 km 17-09-2020 00-08-2024 under construction

National roads

A drum național (plural: drumurile naționale, abbreviation: DN) is a national highway. These roads connect all major cities in the country and are of great importance for through traffic in Romania as long as there is no national highway network. The total network was 17,873 kilometers long in 2019. Driving on the DN roads requires a toll in the form of an e-vignette.

Toll

For Romania, the digital toll vignette rovinieta is required for all main roads and motorways. This costs €3 for 7 days to €28 for an annual vignette and is available at the border, at post offices and at larger petrol stations. Motorways do not (yet) have to pay a separate toll. However, a separate toll is charged for the bridges over the Danube. This concerns the bridge of the A2 at Feteşti, the bridge of the DN5 at Giurgiu and the Vidin – Calafat Bridge of the DN56.

Signage

The signage is good on the main roads, there is sufficient signage to major cities and almost all roads with a road number have signage. On the highways, portal signs are missing at many connections. The indications are only mentioned on a fork plate. Connections are indicated up to 3,000 meters in advance.

Highways have green signage with white letters. The destinations are indicated in normal letters, but road numbers may be small. There are blue signs on the other roads. The DN roads have a red road number plate with a white road number. Regional roads have a blue shield and municipal roads a yellow shield. This shield bears some resemblance to the American road shields. The shields are fairly unique within Europe.

The signage on the secondary road network is often implemented with only signposts. Pre-announcements are usually limited to large crossings. The targets on the signage are the major cities, but border crossings are sometimes marked hundreds of kilometers in advance, such as Nădlac on the A1 near Piteşti. This is somewhat similar to what Poland does. The signage in the cities leaves a lot to be desired.

Congestion

Large-scale congestion only occurs in the capital Bucureşti. Bucureşti has a large number of wide boulevards, but it lacks a good ring road. The current ring road, the CB Centura Bucureşti, usually has only one lane in each direction and many (unscheduled) intersections and roundabouts.

Elsewhere in the country there can be some crowds in the cities, but large-scale commuting over distances over 10 kilometers only occurs to a limited extent. Most cities barely have suburbs, although this is gradually changing. Many new neighborhoods are being built around larger cities and car ownership in Romania is increasing rapidly. The fleet of vehicles is rapidly modernizing so that modern cars have become an everyday sight on the Romanian road network. In 2008, car ownership was the lowest in the EU and the fourth lowest in Europe.

Driving long distances in Romania is tiring due to the lack of highways and the mountainous nature of parts of the country. There is also increasing freight traffic, especially on long-distance routes. In addition, the condition of the road surface is a point of attention. Most DN roads have a good surface, except for some two-digit DN roads in the Carpathians, but the quality of the road surface is improving rapidly. Many DJ roads still have a bad road surface. For a distance of 100 kilometres, a minimum of 1.5 hours is taken into account when using the main roads and 2 to 2.5 hours on regional roads. Numerous road works also cause delays as often only one lane is available at a time. Road works are often arranged with a temporary traffic light, but may be poorly marked. Non-motorised vehicles such as horse and carriage or tractors are no longer so common on the DN roads, but are still common on the more local roads.

Another problem is the lack of bypasses for villages and towns. Although the countryside is quite sparsely populated, places are regularly crossed. Larger cities often lack a ring road. From 2025 it should be possible to avoid most major cities via new highways.

Road numbering

autostrada

The Romanian highways are initially numbered chronologically, later more structured with a road numbering plan. The A1 is opened first, then the A2, A3 and A4. As a result, planning numbers often wanted to change if another highway was given a higher priority. The A6 at Lugoj was the first to be numbered out of chronological order, as no A5 exists yet.

Drumul National

Romania’s road number zones.

The Romanian main road network of DN roads has a system that is somewhat different from other European numbering systems, although it is implemented consistently. The system consists of layers. Numbers 1 to 7 are the radial roads from Bucureşti. The DN1 runs northwest, after which the numbering increases clockwise. Because Bucureşti is located in the southeast, some tracks, such as the DN3, DN4 and DN5, are quite short. There are no DN8 or DN9. The two-digit numbers are derived from the one-digit numbers. For example, the DN10 to DN19 run between DN1 and DN2, and the higher numbers are further away from Bucureşti. This creates zones that widen towards the edges of the country, especially the west and north. Most two-digit numbers end on the main route of the next zone, so no DN10 to DN19 roads run further east than the DN2 because that’s the next zone. Again, because Bucureşti is located in the southeast, the DN30 to DN49 only exist sporadically, because the DN3 and DN4 are too short to have many branches. There are more numbers from the DN50 to DN79. Because there are no DN8 and DN9, there are also no DN80 to DN99. There are no three-digit DN roads. Branches of two-digit DN roads have a lettersuffix, e.g. A, B, C, D, E or F, depending on the amount of branches. The DN2L has the highest letter of the alphabet as a suffix. Roads with a suffix are not necessarily less important than roads without a suffix.

Drumul Județean

The DJ roads are roads in the management of the districts, also called a “county” in English, similar to provinces. The road numbers of the DJ roads are derived from the DN roads with an extra number added at the end. A road like the DJ672 will run close to the DN67. Also DJ roads have literate suffixes. The relevance cannot be deduced from the height of the number of DJ roads, some DJ roads are even unpaved.

European roads

European roads in Romania
E58 • E60 • E68 • E70 • E79 • E81 • E85 • E87 • E574 • E576 • E577 • E578 • E581 • E583 • E584 • E671 • E673 • E675

Taxes

In Romania, a fuel tax is levied on petrol and diesel (accize pe benzina si motorina). In 2012, this excise tax yielded RON 8.4 billion (€1.9 billion), 6.5% more than in 2011.

In addition, there is a tax on the purchase of new cars. This tax depends on the engine size and CO2 emissions. The tax is usually less than 2000 RON (about €500) for regular passenger cars.

Maximum speed

In Romania, the speed limit is 50 km/h within built-up areas and 90 km/h outside built-up areas. On DN roads that are also part of a European road, the speed limit is 100 km/h. 130 km/h applies on motorways.

Road safety

Year Road fatalities
2010 2.377
2011 2.018
2012 2.042
2013 1,861
2014 1,818
2015 1,893
2016 1,913
2017 1,951
2018 1,867
2019 1,864

In 2010, there were 117 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants in Romania, an increase of 7 percent compared to 2001. This makes the country one of the worst in the European Union, and the worst in percentage decrease in the number of road deaths, [ 20] which can mainly be explained by the rapid increase in car mobility in combination with a particularly underdeveloped road network. In 2015, there were 95 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants, the second highest number in the European Union. From 2014 to 2017, the number of road deaths has grown every year, being the only country in the European Union where this has been the case.

Romania Road Network