Improving the condition of the M-03 highway and increasing road safety in Ukraine

April 15, 2014

Funded by the World Bank, the Roads and Safety Improvement Project (RSIP1) was launched in 2009. The project has contributed to improved road conditions, in particular, the safety of the Kyiv-Kharkiv M-03 road between the cities of Boryspil and Lubny. Road safety has also been improved by eliminating critically dangerous spots on several sections of the national road network.


With a heavy share of more than 11 percent of the GDP correlated to the intensive transport-demand structure of the economy, transport was (and still is) critical to Ukraine’s development. While the sector had been relying heavily on rail and pipelines for heavy freight and long haulage, road transport demand has been growing steadily over the past decades. However, the road network was starting to show traffic capacity bottlenecks, which, compounded by insufficient budget allocations that led to significant network deterioration, was affecting average speed and increasing transport costs. As a result, by the end of the 2000s, more than half of the national road network had excessive roughness, and close to 40 percent presented structural problems. After several years of progress, road safety improvement was stagnating, with fatality rates of about 10/10,000 vehicles, more than double those found in the best performing European countries. 


In close coordination with interventions from international funding stakeholders in other regions, this World Bank-funded project was designed to address some capacity concerns and safety issues on the M-03 national road, a major road corridor linking the capital Kiev to industrial regions in Eastern Ukraine, by rehabilitating and duplicating about 120 kilometers of the road. It also aimed to address road safety by supporting the elimination of a number of black spots on the country’s road network, as well as at contributing to improved efficiency in the management of the sector through institutional strengthening. Although the project enabled the introduction of best practices in construction quality assurance and contract management in Ukraine, the black spot elimination strategy was revised toward a corridor approach, as the affected areas were too geographically scattered to be operational. 


Engineers estimate the newly reconstructed highway could last for about 20 years without major rehabilitation.

World Bank


The project main results include:

  • The rehabilitation and upgrading to a four-lane highway of 140 kilometers of the M-03 road between Boryspil and Lubny between September 2009 and December 2013, exceeding the initial target and raising the road to international motorways standards.
  • The elimination of 10 road safety black spots and the improvement of road safety on 140 kilometers of the M-03 corridors and 25 kilometers of the Simferopol and Alushta road. On the M-03 in particular, the number of road accidents per year was already reduced by 15 percent between September 2009 and end-March 2014, while overall, the country is progressing toward European Union (EU) standards in road safety, with a reduction in fatalities per 10,000 vehicles from eight to four between December 2009 and August 2013.
  • Support to the State Road Agency of Ukraine (UKRAVTODOR) in the design, specifications, and tender of the country’s first road rehabilitation and maintenance performance-based contracts. The contract, to be financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), was successfully procured in 2013 and should begin in 2014. This pilot is expected to contribute to road management efficiency improvement by taking steps toward commercialization of the management of the sector. 


Workers have widened the road from two to four lanes, to make it safer for traffic.

World Bank

Bank Group Contribution

The project total cost is US$500 million, of which an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan financed US$400 million, complemented by counterpart financing provided by the Government of Ukraine. Two additional activities supporting the project, including a road technical audit and an assessment by the European Road Assessment Program, were financed by two Trust Funds for a total amount estimated at US$1.5 million.


The World Bank coordinated its efforts with other international funding institutions active in the roads sector in Ukraine, including the European Commission (EC), EBRD, and the European Investment Bank (EIB). While the EC and EIB concentrated on the main international corridors, EBRD focused on improving the roads in Western Ukraine and financing the first road rehabilitation and maintenance performance-based contracts designed by World Bank-financed technical assistance.

Moving Forward

Road condition and safety improvements under the project have allowed the M-03 road’s capacity concerns to be addressed in a sustainable manner and brought good practices to the road sector, already providing concrete results. Following this first project, a new operation of the same nature, the second Road and Safety Improvement Project, was prepared in 2012 and aims at expanding the rehabilitation and improvement of the M-03 between Kyiv-Kharkiv-Dovzhansky further to the East, between Lubny and Poltava.


The direct beneficiaries are the people who live in the vicinity of the M-03, locations where the black spots have been resolved or eliminated, and areas near the Simferopol and Alushta road. In total, this represents approximately 180,000 inhabitants. Moreover, the habitual and occasional users of these roads (traffic volume on the M-03 is about 15,000 vehicle per day) are also the direct beneficiaries of the project. 

140 km
of improved and safe roads of the M-03 corridors.

More Results