Anyone who deals with oversize transport on a daily basis knows perfectly well that one of the most important issues is the road on which such transport can move. Many of us have also found out that it is rather not worth deviating from it, although sometimes it is necessary 😉 It is usually designated in the permit as a specific route or road network, or as an road network of the entire country. Such a division was also applied in the case of permits for the oversized transports in Poland.
In this article, we will focus on national roads that deserve attention, among others, because the third category of permits for oversize transport has been limited to these roads.
The Act on Public Roads of March 21, 1985 presents the following division of public roads in Poland:
- national roads (including A motorways and S expressways)
- provincial roads
- county roads
- municipal roads
The manager of national roads is the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways. However, this does not apply to sections of national roads within cities with county rights, where the function of the manager is performed by the city board, and sections of toll motorways, whose manager (after signing the concession agreement) becomes the concessionaire.
National roads form the main transport corridor in Poland, enabling domestic and international road transport between large cities and the most important border crossings.
They are recommended for long-distance and transit traffic. The map below shows the national road network in Poland:
An interesting fact is that roads with a course similar to the southern one, as a rule, have odd numbers, and roads with a parallel course – even numbers. The most important transit routes receive the lowest numbers (e.g. the A1 and A2 motorways crossing in the center of the country).
According to the list of GDDKiA, we currently have 97 national roads in Poland, which are marked with white numbers on a red background. Signs with national road numbers, however, differ from each other in a certain detail – the color of the border, which carries important information about the permissible axle load of the vehicle.
Sign E-15a “number of a national road with a permissible axle load of up to 11.5 t” means that vehicles with a single axle load not exceeding 11.5 t can travel on the road
|Sign E-15f “number of a national road with a permissible axle load of up to 10 t” means that vehicles with a single axle load not exceeding 10 t can travel on the road|
|Sign E-15g “number of a national road with a permissible axle load of up to 8 t” means that vehicles with a single axle load not exceeding 8 t may use the road.|
On March 21, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that Poland violated EU law by introducing restrictions on the free movement of vehicles with a maximum drive axle load of 11.5 tons. It was therefore decided to adapt the road network to the EU standard. From March 13, 2021, pursuant to the Act of December 18, 2020, the traffic of vehicles with a single axle load of up to 11.5 tons is allowed on all national roads, BUT … the act nevertheless allows for the establishment of a ban on the traffic of vehicles with a permissible single drive axle load above 10 t or over 8 t, if there are appropriate conditions for this, listed in the Act, e.g.:
- road condition
- an area under nature protection or monument protection
- neighborhood nursery, kindergarten, school, hospital
- neighborhood of intensive housing development
- no sidewalk, no collision-free pedestrian crossing or traffic lights on the crossing
However, you cannot introduce or establish a ban on:
- public roads or their sections that have been built or reconstructed with the participation of funds from the European Union budget, for a period of 5 years from the date of putting the road or its section into use
- public roads or sections of them on the trans-European road network
- national roads or their sections, with the exception of national roads managed by mayors of cities with county rights.
In practice, this means that we do not have to worry about the ban on the main transit routes. However, on a national road in a large city, the situation is completely different.
Therefore, it is certainly worth getting acquainted with the signs presented above, especially since the penalties for exceeding the permited axle load are very severe.
If you have any questions, please contact us and we wish you a safe journey!
Written by: Anna Kukowka-Wróbel
Edited by: Małgorzata Puławska