A18 autostrada (Poland)
|Maintained by GDDKiA|
|Length:||7 km (4 mi)
78 km (48 mi) planned
|From:||Bundesautobahn 15 at border with Germany at Forst-Bademeusel/Olszyna|
|To:||A4 motorway near Krzyżowa|
Autostrada A18 is a short planned motorway in southwestern Poland which is to run from the Polish/German border at Olszyna/Forst-Bademeusel and the German Bundesautobahn 15 to the Polish Autostrada A4. The highway is a part of the European route E36 and the Pan-European corridor IIIA from Berlin to Wrocław.
After completion, the A18 should be 78 km (48 mi) long. The stretch currently opened and signed as A18 from Golnice to the A4 is 7 km (4.3 mi) long. The remaining 71 km (44 mi) currently exists as a dual-carriageway road not up to motorway standards and not officially signed as such. Before August 2009, the signed A18 was 17 km long; part of it was then re-signed as A4, after the completion of a missing stretch of that motorway. Full modernization to motorway standard along the entire length is not expected to be completed before 2020.
The motorway had its beginning as a single-carriageway part of Reichsautobahn 9 (Berlin-Breslau) built by Germany in the 1930s, completed between 1936 and 1938. This route had all the features of an autobahn built according to the standards of the time, including all the exits, viaducts and bridges, except that only a single carriageway was actually constructed along most of its length, and space was left for constructing the second carriageway at a later time. The road existed in this state until the early 1990s, when the first 7 km (4.3 mi) at its eastern end were rebuilt with new concrete carriageways. In 1995 the 7 km stretch at the western end was modernised with the addition of a second carriageway.
From 2004 onward, construction work has been progressively carried out to upgrade the whole stretch to modern standards, so that it can officially be designated as an Autostrada in its entirety. Between 2004 and 2006 the missing northern carriageway was completed on the whole length and most of the overpasses and bridges were reconstructed. By June 2007, the road had two carriageways in use. However, the older of the two (carrying eastbound traffic towards Wrocław) is in very poor shape, as it still has a surface made of concrete slabs laid in the 1930s. Due to poor road condition, the speed on that carriageway is limited to 70 km/h.
The next stage of the reconstruction has not started as of 2014, and current Polish government plans do not envisage it starting in the immediate future. The delay in completing the upgrade was caused in part by changes in the motorway project required by new environmental protection rules (A18 passes through Natura 2000 protected areas). On 15 July 2010 the environmental impact decision for the revised project was issued, which would have allowed for the contract bidding procedure to be completed and for construction to start in 2011. However, in December 2010 the Polish government announced significant cutbacks to its funding for road construction, which will delay the project for some years. During the final stage of reconstruction, traffic will be shifted to the northern carriageway, and then the southern carriageway should be demolished and rebuilt. The work will not be completed before 2020. 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Freeway A18 (Poland).|
- Table listing existing highways in Poland, from Nowe Drogi magazine website (Polish)
- Urwane koła, zgubiony na wertepach towar. Pseudoautostrada A18 wroclaw.gazeta.pl, February 26, 2014
- Listing of Reichsautobahns outside Germany's present borders, on www.autobahn-online.de website. A18 is part of the Forst - Breslau - Brieg stretch listed there.
- Table listing highways under construction in Poland, from Nowe Drogi magazine website (Polish)
- Natura 2000 areas map