Ukraine Road Network

By | December 23, 2022

The main road network (M) of Ukraine.

According to wholevehicles, Ukraine has a fairly extensive road network of major highways, the quality of which varies widely, from good modern roads to major roads between major cities that are in catastrophic condition. Ukraine has the worst maintained road network in Europe, many roads have not been maintained for decades. The industrial centers are connected by main routes, but the number of motorways is very limited. The exact amount of motorways is difficult to say, because Ukraine has quite a few roads with 2×2 lanes and largely grade-separated intersections, but which often still have a few left turners and lack emergency lanes. Most cities have wide boulevards, up to 4 or 5 lanes in each direction.

The quality of the road surface varies from road to road, but the main roads have a reasonable surface. Bad road surfaces can be everywhere, even on some major highways between major cities, the road surface is sometimes in downright catastrophic condition. On some roads, the asphalt pavement has completely disappeared and you drive on what is actually a dirt road, often with huge holes and potholes. Furthermore, bad road surfaces are common, especially in the Carpathians and in the cities, especially in western Ukraine. Also in the countryside most roads are of poor quality. Ukraine’s road network is in significantly worse condition than Belarus or Russia, in 2013 97% of Ukrainian roads were found to be in poor condition. In theThe World Economic Forum’s 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Index Ukrainian road quality ranked 130th out of 137 countries, trailing many African and Asian countries.

Ukraine had ambitious plans to build 4,500 kilometers of highway for the Euro 2012 football event. This plan was not realistic and was far from being achieved. Only the M06 has been significantly upgraded, other routes have been suspended due to lack of money. In the end, no new motorway was built for Euro 2012, and the road network has hardly been further developed in subsequent years.

Due to the deplorable state of the road network, the project ‘Велике будівництво’ (Velyke budivnytstvo, major work) has been carried out. Under this programme, 6,500 kilometers of road have been renovated until 2021. Typically, under this program the renovations were carried out under larger contracts than before, improving longer routes instead of only short segments as in the past.

In 2020, it was announced to modernize 6 roads with a total length of 1,500 kilometers as a PPP project. In 2021, the M30, with 1,392 kilometers the longest road in Ukraine, was introduced in celebration of 30 years of independence.

Due to the lower design requirements of roads in the times of the Soviet Union, the weight limit for trucks in general was 38 tons. In 2022 this will be increased to 40 tons for regular trucks and 44 tons for trucks with two rear axles. During that period, the enforcement of overloading was also expanded considerably with Weigh-in-Motion systems.

Main roads

The main main roads, the M roads, are also called a Автошлях or Avtoshlyakh. This name is different from the common Russian name for this type of road, where it exactly comes from is not known, but the word шлях is also used as “road”. Other names like Avtoban and shvydkisnykh shose (швидкісних шосе) are also used for 2×2 roads. Another name is Автомобільна дорога – Avtomobil’na Doroga, which can also be translated as “motorway”. The word Автомагістраль – avtomagistral’ is also used. There does not seem to be a single name for main roads in Ukraine. The formal name is international highway (міжнародні автомобільні дороги), where the prefix МComes from. In 2013, this network was 8,080 kilometers long. In 2013, the numbers M24 to M29 were also assigned within the road network of Ukraine.

The national roads (національні автомобільні дороги) have the prefix Н (N) and are complementary to the M roads. This road class was introduced in 2007. They are numbered from N01 to N33 and the network is 7,175 kilometers long. The numbering of the system was slightly changed in 2013 and 2016 and expanded significantly in 2019 from 4,830 to 7,175 kilometers. Then the numbers N24 to N33 were added to the network, mainly in eastern Ukraine. The road numbers of the N-roads were practically nowhere indicated, but with the introduction of new signage in 2020, this road number is indicated with a red shield, similar to the M-roads.

List of M roads

# No. Procedure Length
M01 Kiev – Chernihiv – Belarus border 206 km
M02 Kipti – Hlukiv – border Russia 243 km
M03 Kiev – Poltava – Kharkiv – Slovyansk – Krasnyi Luch – border Russia 844 km
M04 Znamianka – Dnipro – Donetsk – Luhansk – Russia border 567 km
M05 Kyiv – Odessa 453 km
M06 Kiev – Zhytomir – Rivne – L’viv – Uzhhorod – Chop – Hungary border 822 km
M07 Kiev – Korosten – Kovel – border Poland 487 km
M08 Uzhhorod – Slovakia border 14 km
M09 L’viv – Rava-Ruska – border Poland 63 km
M10 L’viv – Krakovets – border Poland 65 km
M11 L’viv – border Poland 72 km
M12 Stryj – Ternopil – Khmelnitsky – Vinnytsia – Uman – Kropyvnytskyi – Znamianka 747 km
M13 Kropyvnytskyi – Moldova border 254 km
M14 Odessa – Mykolaiv – Kherson – Mariupol – border Russia 624 km
M15 Odessa – Izmail – Renic 282 km
M16 Odessa – Moldova border 59 km
M17 Kherson – Feodosia – Kerch 424 km
M18 Kharkiv – Zaporizhia – Melitopol – Simferopol – Yalta 723 km
M19 Border Belarus – Kovel – Lutsk – Ternopil – Chernivtsy – border Romania 504 km
M20 Kharkiv – border Russia 29 km
M21 Zhytomyr – Vinnytsia – Moldova border 221 km
M22 Poltava – Kremenchuk – Oleksandria 187 km
M23 Berehove – Veliky Bytchkov 50 km
M24 Mukacheve – Hungary border 33 km
M25 Solomonovo – Chop – Yanoshi 60 km
M26 Border Hungary – Vylok – border Romania 21 km
M27 Odessa – Chornomorsk 14 km
M28 Odessa – Yuzhne 49 km
M29 Kharkiv – Dniproz 181 km
M30 Stryj – Vinnytsia – Dnipro – Donetsk – Izvaryne – Russia border 1392 km

List of N roads

# No. Procedure Length
N01 Kyiv – Znamianka 266 km
N02 Lviv – Ternopil 112 km
N03 Zhytomyr – Khmelnytskyi – Chernivtsia 325 km
N04 Odessa – Chernomorsk 14 km
N05 Krasnoperekopsk – Simferopol 115 km
N06 Simferopol – Sevastopol 66 km
N07 Kiev – Sumy – border Russia 335 km
N08 Kiev – Kremenchuk – Dnipro – Zaporizhia 430 km
N09 Lviv – Ivano-Frankivsk – Mukacheve 422 km
N10 Stryi – Ivano-Frankivsk – Chernivtsi – Moldova border 273 km
N11 Dnipro – Kryvyi Rih – Mykolaiv 240 km
N12 Sumy – Poltava 154 km
N13 Lviv – Uzhhorod 228 km
N14 Oleksandrivka – Kropyvnytskyi – Mykolaiv 239 km
N15 Zaporizhia – Donetsk 209 km
N16 Zolotonosha – Cherkasy – Uman 197 km
N17 Lviv – Lutsky 131 km
N18 Ivano-Frankivsk – Ternopil 107 km
N19 Yalta – Sevastopol 81 km
N20 Slovyansk – Donetsk – Mariupol 191 km
N21 Starobilsk – Luhansk – Krasnyi Luch – Donetsk 207 km
N22 Border Poland – Lutsk – Rivne 156 km
N23 Kropyvnytskyi – Kryvyi Rih – Zaporizhia 245 km
N24 Blahovishchenske – Pervomaisk – Yuzhnoukrainsk – Mykolaiv 229 km
N25 Horodyshche – Sarny – Rivne – Starokostiantyniv 292 km
N26 Chuguiv – Starobilsk – Milove – border Russia 298 km
N27 Chernihiv – Mena – Sosnytsia – Gremyach – border Russia 204 km
N28 Chernihiv – Hrodna – Senkivka – Russia/Belarus border 71 km
N30 Vasylivka – Tokmak – Berdyansk 136 km
N31 Dnipro – Tsarychanka – Kobeliaky – Reshetylivka 158 km
N32 Pokrovsk – Bakhmut – Mykhailivka 137 km
N33 Odesa – Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyy – Monashi 97 km

Regional roads

Ukraine has a network of regional roads (регіональна автомобільна дорога) with the prefix Р (R). The numbering of these has been changed as of January 1, 2013. The numbers run from Р01 to Р79. The network is 10,068 kilometers long.

Secondary roads

The secondary roads in Ukraine are the territorial roads (територіальні автомобільні дороги), with a prefix T. These are numbered per oblast with a 4-digit number. The first two digits are the number of the oblast, followed by the number of the road itself, for example the T-10-05 is road number 5 in Kiev Oblast.

The numbering of the oblasts is as follows;

# Oblast/city Road length (km) # Oblast/city Road length (km) # Oblast/city Road length (km)
01 Crimea 6605 10 Kiev 8490 20 Ternopil 5063
02 Vinnytsia 9519 12 Kirovohrad 6545 21 Kharkiv 9551
03 Volyn 6199 13 Luhansky 5810 22 Kherson 4950
04 Dnipropetrovsk 9182 14 L’vivo 8334 23 Khmelnytsky 7136
05 Donetsk 8052 15 Mykolayiv 4831 24 Cherkasy 6118
06 Zhytomyr 8513 16 Odessa 8232 25 Chernihivi 7680
07 Zakarpatia 3330 17 Poltava 8836 26 Chernivtsia 2869
08 Zaporizhia 6974 18 Rivne 5056 27 Sevastopol 352
09 Ivano-Frankivsky 4160 19 Sumy 7281

History

In the history of the road network of Ukraine, a clear distinction can be made from the prehistory in the 19th century. Western Ukraine previously belonged to Austria-Hungary and Poland. The southwest was part of Austria-Hungary until 1918, the northwest was part of the Polish region of Volhynia until 1939. The road network in these parts was considerably better developed than the part that belonged to the Russian Empire.

Before the Second World War, a relatively developed road network already existed in western Ukraine, but there was almost no improved road network in eastern Ukraine, consisting mainly of dirt roads and cart tracks, even between larger cities. Only a very small number of roads in eastern, central and southern Ukraine had already been paved before the Second World War. At that time transport was largely by rail or by ship on the Dnieper. There were actually only two longer paved roads, namely the M01 from Kiev to Gomel and the Soviet M2 (now M18 and M20) as a north-south route from Kharkiv to Dnipro and Zaporizhia, and later to Simferopol.

Ukraine’s road network was considerably more developed under the Soviet Union, especially after 1960, when most of the main roads were asphalted or completely new connections were built, as was the case with the M03, M05 and M14. Quite a lot of M-roads have been constructed as completely new roads, except in western Ukraine, where they already followed improved road connections from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

From the 1970s, a number of roads were widened to 2×2 lanes. However, these were not full-fledged motorways, as there were numerous at-grade intersections. Not all places were given a bypass. In 1965 a start was made on doubling the then newly constructed M05 between Kiev and Odessa. By the 1990s, this road had been largely widened to 2×2 lanes since 2002. Ukraine’s first and for a long time only full-fledged motorway was a short section of the M03 between Kiev and the airport, which was opened in 1972. During the Soviet Union, work was also carried out on the infrastructure in Kiev and the doubling of the M06from Kiev to the west, but was not completed in Soviet times as far as L’viv. In eastern Ukraine, the development of the road network was more limited. Characteristic was the construction of reservoirs in the Dnieper, most of which also have a road connection. However, major industrial cities such as Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih and Donetsk only received limited improved roads. In Eastern Ukraine, for example, there were far fewer roads with 2×2 lanes despite the presence of large cities.

After Ukraine became independent in 1991, it took over a large and neglected road network. The 1990s were economically disastrous in Ukraine, with a huge economic contraction. The road network deteriorated significantly during that period. Many projects that were started in the late 1980s came to a standstill. Some lay dormant for almost 10 years. Only after 2000 did the Ukrainian economy recover somewhat and investments in the road network could again be made. In the period 2000-2010, however, the road network deteriorated faster than new roads were built. Major thoroughfares fell into serious disrepair, on some roads between major cities the asphalt pavement had almost completely disappeared at certain points, especially in the east and south of the country.

In 2008, Ukraine’s first long-haul highway, between Kharkiv and Dnipro, the 181-kilometer M29 opened. In the run-up to the Euro 2012 in Ukraine, many roads have been renovated, especially the M06 between L’viv and Kiev has been modernised, widened and partly made grade-separated. However, it is not a full-fledged motorway. However, many desired projects for the European Championship 2012 have not been implemented due to a lack of money. The situation started to improve somewhat after 2018 due to major investment programs by the Ukrainian government under the ‘major works’ programme. The approach to road maintenance has been professionalized and improved in the period 2018-2020, with large-scale maintenance and modernization of road and road furniture, instead of just minor asphalt replacements.

Annexation of Crimea

In February–March 2014, the Crimean peninsula was annexed by Russia. Crimea had belonged to Russia since the 18th century but was transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 during the Soviet Union. Because this happened within one country, this actually had few complications, but from 1991 Crimea came under Ukrainian administration. Crimea was historically the main tourist area of ​​Ukraine and during the Soviet Union Sevastopol had one of the most important naval ports.

After the annexation of Crimea, the Ukrainian government de facto no longer had control over the region and road management also came to rest with Russia. The Russian government has invested heavily in the road infrastructure in Crimea, with the opening of the Crimean Bridge in 2018 and the construction of the 251-kilometre-long ‘Tavrida’ motorway from Sevastopol to Kerch (A291). A new ring road has also been constructed around Simferopol and a new approach road as a highway from Yevpatoriya. With this, Crimea had more kilometers of motorway than the rest of Ukraine combined.

Border posts have been established on the two approach roads from Crimea to the rest of Ukraine, the M18 is the most extensive, but the N05 has also been given a border post. To emphasize the integrality of Crimea to the rest of Russia, no border posts have been built around the Crimean Bridge near Kerch.

Conflict in the Donbas

In March 2014, conflict broke out in the eastern region of Donbas. In doing so, pro-Russian separatists managed to conquer large areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, which have since existed as self-declared people’s republics. By August 2014, the Ukrainian military had recaptured much of the area, but the conflict had seen little territorial change until 2022. The major cities of Donetsk and Luhansk are under separatist rule.

Many roads were damaged during the fighting, most notably between March and August 2014. The damage consists largely of blown up or damaged bridges over railways and in junctions and trenches and barriers constructed by or over the roads. The damage is particularly extensive around Donetsk. The Ukrainian army has set up checkpoints at the conflict borders. De facto through traffic between the two areas is almost impossible.

Russian invasion in 2022

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a major military invasion of Ukraine. In the early days of the conflict, numerous bridges were blown up to slow down the Russian advance, especially in the Kiev area. On February 26, all bridges from the M-06 to the Dnieper in an arc around Kiev had been blown up, as well as several bridges in the northeast of the country. There was also a huge population exodus from Kiev on February 24 and 25, 2022, with a 140-kilometer-long traffic jam on the M-06 between Kiev and Zhytomyr and huge traffic jams on the border with Poland. On February 26, 2022, road authority Ukravtodor began removing all signage to complicate the invasion.

After a month, many bridges in northeastern and eastern Ukraine had been blown up, especially across smaller rivers such as the Desna, Irpin, Seym and Siverskyi Donets. The Russians withdrew all the way from the north and northeast of the country in late March and early April, leaving a trail of bridge destruction and broken roads. The Russian offensive then concentrated in an arc from Kharkiv via the Donbas to Kherson and Mykolaiv, through eastern and southeastern Ukraine.

European roads

European roads in Ukraine
E38 • E40 • E50 • E58 • E81 • E85 • E87 • E95 • E97 • E101 • E105 • E372 • E373 • E391 • E471 • E573 • E581 • E583 • E584

Toll

The Ukrainian road network is toll-free. It is one of the few countries in Europe where there is no toll for freight or passenger traffic at all. Toll roads have been announced several times in the past. The M03 was originally planned as a toll road between Yahotyn and Lubny but eventually this road was doubled to 2×2 lanes without tolls. However, there are plans to bring roads under concession, introducing tolls.

There is a local toll on the R24 past the castle in Kamianets-Podilskyi.

Road management

The national road authority of Ukraine is Ukravtodor, (Ukrainian: Державне агентство автомобільних доріг України (Укравтодор)), in English the State Agency of Automobile Roads of Ukraine. Ukravtodor is responsible for all national roads, this includes the M-roads, N-roads, R-roads and T-roads, which together cover a network of 46,600 kilometers. The current Ukravtodor was founded in 1994.

Signage

The signage is mediocre by Western European standards. The signposts have blue signs with white letters, although green signs with white letters have also been observed along the Kharkov – Dnipropetrovsk highway. Major targets are written in both Cyrillic and Latin scripts, but not in minor ways. Marking is also often absent, especially in cities where it has worn away. Bus stops occur along major roads without a stopping port. M and E numbers are indicated, but primarily as a trailblazer. Since 2020, a more modern form of signage has been applied.

Road numbering

Ukraine has several layers of road numbering. The E-numbers run on various main roads. The international roads are the main roads of Ukraine. They are abbreviated with the prefix ‘M’, which is an abbreviation for міжнародних автомобільних доріг (international highways). The national roads complement this network, with the prefix ‘N’ (Cyrillic: Н), which stands for найменування автомобільної дороги (national highways). The term ‘motorway’ should be seen here in an Eastern European context, this means an important main road but does not imply any specific design requirements.

The R roads are regional roads marked with a Cyrillic. In addition, there is another layer with road numbers, namely the T-roads which consist of two digits, followed by a hyphen and then again two digits, for example “T16-02”. The “T” stands for територіальної дороги – Teritorialnoy Dorogi – territorial roads. They are numbered per oblast, but the numbers can cross the oblast boundary. The road numbering of the M-roads has sometimes been changed so that maps may have the old numbering. The N-roads are not indicated on many maps anyway because this is a new road class. In principle, all road numbers are unique, but the T-roads are numbered per oblast. This means that the numbering of M, N and R roads is national.

Maximum speed

In 2018, the maximum speed in built-up areas was reduced from 60 km/h to 50 km/h. 60 km/h was the norm throughout Eastern Europe for decades, but after 2000 most countries lowered the speed limit from 60 to 50 km/h.

The concept of the motorway is unknown in Ukraine. Outside built-up areas, 90 km/h normally applies, but 110 km/h if the road has separate carriageways, unless it has specific motorway status, then 130 km/h applies, but is only on a small part of the road. the roads apply.

Road safety

Road safety in Ukraine was very poorly regarded for many years, even today Ukraine still has one of the highest numbers of road deaths per 1 million inhabitants in Europe. In 1990 there were 9616 road deaths, in 2013 this had been reduced to 4833 road deaths. Figures from 2014 are not comparable with previous years due to the annexation of Crimea and parts of the Donbass where the Ukrainian government no longer has de facto governance. In 2017 there were 3,432 road deaths.

Ukraine Road Network