‘The M15 highway, consistently ranked by journalists and industry experts as one of Ukraine’s worst, reflects both the difficulties of rebuilding the country’s road network and the potential for change. Odessa Governor Mikheil Saakashvili made fixing the road a priority shortly after he took office last year. The project has been divided into two parts: reconstructing the existing road and, eventually, building a brand new highway, estimated to cost $4.6 billion, that will completely bypass the neighboring ex-Soviet republic of Moldova,’ reads the article by Zubko, who is the sponsor of the reconstruction of M15 highway in Odesa region, southern Ukraine. Zubko was appointed by the Odesa governor Mikheil Saakashvili.
The expert assures that due to the forthcoming introduction of visa-free regime with Ukraine, the new road will get even more attractive for both domestic and foreign investors. ‘A partially reconstructed road might first attract more freight truckers, many of whom currently take a 120-mile detour through Moldova just to stay off the M15. Then, the European Union’s approval of a visa-free regime with Ukraine — later this year, officials hope — could help boost traffic in the region, which in turn would make a brand new toll road more attractive to the government and investors’, he wrote.
According to Ukraine’s infrastructure minister Volodymyr Omelyan, nearly USD 800 million has been assigned for funding of road repair works in 2016.