Thanks to the Large Construction national program more than 14,000 km of roads in Ukraine has been upgraded and built in two years. Next year, the program will be expanded with projects to modernize border crossing points. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the Large Construction: Roads and Bridges national forum.
As the Head of State said, despite the fact that the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees freedom of movement, this right in our country has been limited for years by broken roads and destroyed bridges.
"I agree, a few years ago a forum called Roads and Bridges was something like a forum about aliens or time travel. In short, this was a discussion about what everyone heard, but almost no one saw. The transformation of roads and bridges from mythical concepts into real modern objects was started two years ago by our team and the Large Construction program," Zelenskyy said.
According to the President, despite the skepticism of some people, with which they met the Large Construction program (saying that there will not be enough people, funding and building materials), in 2020, more than 6,500 km of roads was renovated or built, and this year it was more than 7,000 km of different roads.
Zelenskyy said that the government stopped thinking in terms of one budget year, changed its approach to public investment, procurement and pricing, united various teams and bodies around long-term goals, managed to attract public and international funds, improve quality and even reduce the cost of construction of one km of roads.
And the result is almost 14,000 km of roads in two years under the Large Construction program. More than 40% of the main road network of Ukraine, which connects large and small cities and towns, all important Ukrainian regions, has been renovated and built. This is what we see today according to statistics," Zelenskyy said.
The President said that the results of opinion polls confirm the highest assessment of the government's work: every third citizen considers road construction one of the most important achievements of Ukraine in 2021, and positive changes in infrastructure are noted by more than 60%.
"Only one conclusion we can draw: Large Construction program must continue and become even greater. In particular, this concerns the development of border infrastructure. Much has already been done here, and in 2022 the modernization of border crossing points will begin under the program. We will create a comfortable infrastructure for both people and businesses, for our citizens and guests of Ukraine. We will boost the capacity through the electronic queue. That is modern infrastructure," the Head of State said.
Zelenskyy also said that an experiment to find a contractor and finance a project to build the Kyiv Orbital road is underway, and there are hopes to attract powerful international players.
"On the path to building modern infrastructure, we currently have the support of our partners – the European Union, the World Bank, the EBRD and others. And this is proof of recognition of the effectiveness of our work, the work of the infrastructure team of our state and our reliability. It is really recognition of the quality of road networks and infrastructure projects that have already been built and implemented over the past two years," the President said.
According to Zelenskyy, in times of global crisis, infrastructure development is the best joint investment of all citizens.
"This is because roads and bridges, schools and kindergartens, sports complexes, stadiums and all other objects of Large Construction program are being renovated at the expense of our taxpayers. I want to thank all the citizens of Ukraine who dutifully and honestly pay taxes. Large Construction is not only a program of the government, but first of all it is the program of our state, our joint program, the program of our citizens. We are building together and we will build Ukraine together," the President said.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal said that the biggest-ever number of roads has been restored in two years – almost 14,000 km, which is a record for independent Ukraine. And the implementation of this program will be continued next year.
The Prime Minister also said that under the Large Construction program Ukravtodor restored more than 350 civil engineering structures. In total, more than 600 bridges have been rebuilt together with local authorities.
"And this will also continue, because we have a large number of bridges that need to be reconstructed, renovated and built," Shmyhal said.
According to the head of government, in 2022 more than UAH 140 billion was budgeted for further construction and repair of roads. Among other things, the possibility of attracting not only funds from international institutions, but also business is being considered. In particular, the implementation of the first concession highway Krakivets - Brody - Lviv - Rivne should start next year, which will also give an additional impetus to the development of infrastructure, and thus the development of the tourist and transit potential of Ukraine.
According to Shmyhal, the Small Carpathian Circle project, which includes 640 km of roads, is important for the development of tourism in Ukraine. This project is designed to fully unleash the potential of the Ukrainian Carpathians as a tourist area.
Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov, for his part, added that in 2021, UAH 106 billion was provided for roads of state importance, that is the funding has increased fivefold in two years. At the same time, the cost of road works decreased from UAH 25 million in 2019 to UAH 20.7 million in 2021 due to competition and mandatory examination of all projects. In two years, the Large Construction program created more than 200,000 jobs, which was very important during the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In general, according to experts, Large Construction program gives from 1.5% to 4% of Ukraine's GDP growth annually.
Kubrakov also spoke about the implementation of major infrastructure projects, including Zaporizhzhia Bridge, which is scheduled to open in January. The M-30 Stryi-Izvaryne route of international importance appeared in April 2021 after the merger of the M-04 and M-12 roads, which is the longest highway in Ukraine, is almost competed. The R-08 Nemyriv - Yampil road is fully completed, and the next stage is a joint project with the Moldovan side – Yampil Bridge across the Dniester River.