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Are all of the express roads currently under construction 1x2 roads? I'm particularly interested in the section Rankovce - Kriva palanka?
Yes. You can see like the very first images, that's how we unfortunately do express roads. And when someone says express road they mean those types of express roads.


Rankovce - Kriva Palanka will be made similar to Štip - Kočani and Štip - Radoviš, with smooth curves, highway - like interchanges, and all the other similar stuff.

The advantage of such roads is that you can just build a parallel one next to the existing road, and boom you get a motorway.


As i have explained before, we have a so called motorway from Tetovo to Gostivar that actually is an express road with 2+2 lanes, but then again, we have a saying here that if a 2+2 road gets build, then why not add additional asphalt and you get a motorway. That's probably one of the reasons why it's different here and why 2+2 roads even by law are designated as motorways and are even tolled.


So maybe in the future if the government changes, then they could change that and start calling those 2+2 roads as express roads, but that will mean that all the existing express roads will have to be upgraded to a motorway.

I don't think anyone will bother making such a change, because it's going to cause more chaos.

The solution is that we upgrade all existing 2+2 roads to full motorway standards.
And that is exactly what they will do with the express road from Tetovo to Gostivar. That's exactly what they are doing when upgrading A1, because some parts of our motorways are 2 lanes without hard shoulders too.

A1 at Gevgelija was expanded to a full motorway when the remaining part of A1 was finished from Smokvica to Demir Kapija.
Before that the right side of the motorway had a 2 lane formation with a hard shoulder, but the left side didn't have a hard shoulder, and then it was the opposite and so on.
The only section there that is still 2+2 is only the bridge over vardar river.


Then the section of A1 from Katlanovo towards Petrovec is also 2 lanes and they are expanding it now. The other side is a 2 lanes with hard shoulder.
The section from Katlanovo to Veles is not even a motorway, but that is another thing that i have discussed before.

And then you have the motorway that connects to the Skopje Airport, which is just a 2+2 formation. That motorway is mainly used by transit traffic and traffic going to and from the airport.

And then you have the sections from and to Kumanovo. Some of which have been expanded, but some are still 2 lanes without hard shoulders.

When these sections get finished, upgraded and expanded then we can have a more safe and proper motorway network, and we will only have the 1x2 with smaller hard shoulder express roads, and build / use them untill the traffic doesn't rise. When the traffic rises on a given express road, then they will have to consider upgrading those sections to fill motorways, which should be easier.


But let's not forget that my country is a small country. On certain places there's not a lot of traffic, but on some there is.

We will either connect a city with a motorway or express road connection. Plus, for most of the cases it will just be pointless to just use a 2+2 connection with hard shoulders, because as i have said why build 2+2 when you can add a bit of asphalt and turn it into a full motorway.

I must say tho yeah, we should've had most of the express roads built as motorways instead.

But this way it's also not bad because we can measure if the traffic levels are really demanding for an express road to be built.

Plus, even though by law it's forbidden people step on the hard shoulders on express roads, they move a bit to the right so they can free up some space for the other drivers overtaking. Even the police doesn't care and allows drivers to actually do that.

This makes driving and overtaking much safer, yeah but then again the chances are higher of rear - ending some parked vehicle on the hard shoulder, but we don't have that many vehicles that stop at hard shoulders so that shouldn't be a huge deal.
 

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We want to go Macedonia in January, but are hotels and restaurants closed? Somebody knows?
Currently restaurants have an obligation to work until 6pm.
I believe hotels work, but by strong covid protocols.

So you might be able to come, but let's say if the governments imposes a lock down and says that no one is allowed to go outside after 9pm, then you won't be able to go outside.

Edit: Just checked, hotels do indeed work. You will have to check for yourself which dates are available to be booked, and you can ask the hotel personal for more information.
 

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This is what could possibly be one part of the planned Kicevo - Gostivar Motorway.

The Kicevo - Gostivar Motorway will also take a long time to build because it too also goes through hard terrain, and if I'm not wrong, the terrain from Kicevo towards Gostivar is slightly harder than the terrain from Kicevo to Ohrid.

Btw you can notice the motorway that ends at Kicevo, which is still under construction (near Knezhino Village).
 

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Well it seems that the whole project, feasibility and environmental study "leaked" regarding the Kichevo - Gostivar motorway.

First of all let's clear things a bit.

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This is the planned route as you can see, but take things with a grain of salt as it could change (some local people were against having their village cut in half, where the motorway was supposed to run through). More detailed maps and informations are shown in the files i posted below.

The first study was done in 2015 for the whole motorway (all phases) from Kicevo to Gostivar and it's outdated so going to have to be (or is already) re - newed. So take all these stuff with a grain of salt, as they might change.

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This picture above is the projected phase of the first section from Kicevo to Bukojchani. There is another proposed route mentioned in the study, but that one received a lot of negative points, so it was not chosen.

This first section is actually the easiest of the other 2, as it will mostly be hills, flatter land, some smaller mountains, and going through river.
It will have bridges, overpasses, viaducts and one tunnel (Kolibari Tunnel) which will be 700m long.

Building this section first is of a big importance, as those 2,5km remaining from the Ohrid - Kichevo motorway can also be put in use.
So first the part from where the motorway Ohrid - Kichevo ends to the Kichevo North Interchange should be put in use to completely bypass Kichevo, because once the Ohrid - Kichevo motorway gets finished, all traffic will still have to go through the city.
Then after the first phase gets built, the second phase will have to be built. Both the second and third phase are in a hard terrain going through mountains, and there will be big descends towards Gostivar. Numerous viaducts, bridges and smaller tunnels will have to be built, and the whole sections including all 3 phases could be finished around 2028 or so.
The first, second and third phases do not follow the existing railway route, and go by completely different routes.
For retroperspective here's an image of the existing railway line:
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It contains the longest railway tunnel (Tunnel Bukovik) and it goes under the Bukovik mountains. This railway was built sometime in the 60's and it's an engineering marvel, having lots of bridges and viaducts (and the longest railway viaduct in my country too)
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So this should give you a good look at the terrain there. It might not have long tunnels, but we will certainly see some long viaducts and bridges.


One of the forum members on the build.mk forum did a drawing of the proposed route on Google Earth, and this is how it turned out:
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Keep in mind that these images are just built by how the terrain goes, and they are not meant to be 100% Accurate.

Another thing i did is a re - draw on a map that i found on one of the studies. This pretty much sums up the important roads and corridors of my country.
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And here are all the links to the studies:

(Study done in December, 2014)

(Study done in November 2020)

(Study done in December 2020)

These are studies with a lot of pages, and they are in Macedonian. It would take me a really long time to translate them, so for those curious you can try to translate some of the stuff written there, but what i said pretty much summarizes it up. They did not choose the route to follow the existing railway route for many reasons, and so it will be something similar to what i explained.

And keep in mind that nothing is 100% Accurate, as there's many studies yet to be conducted until we see something official.
 

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I have a question. How do one get to the kicevo-ohrid highway when going southbound ? Do you have to go through villages west of Kicevo first? I dont get where the junction is near the city.
 

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I have a question. How do one get to the kicevo-ohrid highway when going southbound ? Do you have to go through villages west of Kicevo first? I dont get where the junction is near the city.
If you're asking about the future motorway, then most likely there will be junction right after you exit the city, given the fact that now a boulevard at the periphery serves as kind of ring road for Kichevo.
 

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As part of the project for the expressway A4 Stip-Radovish, a construction of a new bridge on the river Bregalnica is planned, parallel to the old one, which is located on the existing road and it will be reconstructed and reinforced. The new bridge will have a length of 65,94 meters. The old bridge has a length of 61, 1 meters.

the old bridge

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^^^ Just going to add up on this:
04.StipJug-2.jpg

The bridges you see will be used for carrying traffic in one way and for merging in and out of the interchange. The existing old bridge is being renovated and widened as well.

This project is really weird because some interchanges are wide enough and projected to allow for expansion into a full profile motorway, but some interchanges aren't.
 

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Some random pictures I took with the Macedonian road network during my trip this week:

A4 Skopje - Shtip, direction south (I even saw some cyclist and a family walking their dog on the hard shoulder on this section, but did not take a picture):



A3 expressway from Kadrifakovo towards Veles, direction west. The entire stretch has a 80 km/h speed limit:



Underneath a viaduct on A1 near Veles:



A1/A3 intersection close to Skopje, driving north:



A1 towards Serbia: an overpass built by Austrian construction company Alpine, that went bankrupt in 2013:

 

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2 weeks ago, the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure had a visit in Tetovo, and had a meeting with the mayor of Tetovo. They discussed about various infrastructure projects around Tetovo.
One of them is the Tetovo - Gostivar motorway.
As you know, Tetovo - Gostivar is not a motorway, and i have said it many times. The government knows this, and has realized it a long time ago, and so have many of the previous governments. This section is tolled, and it's in bad quality. What makes it even worse is that this is a dangerous "motorway", the lanes are narrow, there is no hard shoulder present and it's the road with the most traffic.

So, the Minister for Transport said that they consider building a separate motorway from this current express road, and they will just upgrade the existing express road, re - draw it and build another section which will take a different but slightly closer route to the existing express road.
ERlA5sIh.jpg


The existing road can actually be upgraded, but the main question is will it be wroth it. There's plenty of buildings, houses and even some smaller factories near this express road, so you have to factor in the expropriation, land cost, removal of buildings, etc... That all adds up to the money, so a separate new route might be a cheaper option.

Below is a picture showing the road stats for 2020, the 9 most frequent roads in my country for 2020.
UnYCK0Ch.jpeg.jpg

On the top is again Tetovo - Gostivar and you should get now why it's the most dangerous "motorway".
Struga - Vevchani doesn't come as a surprise to me, as it's a road like Strumica - Novo Selo, that has to carry both transiting traffic and traffic going to / from each village as well. The first step and solution is to build a motorway from Ohrid to Struga. I have explained about that in my previous posts. Basically there are problems with UNESCO, that will have to be solved in the future, in order for that project to become a thing.
Strumica - Novo Selo is a no surprise, as we all know. There is an express road planned to be built from Strumica all the way to the Bulgarian border to relive traffic from the existing road, and increase safety.

Ohrid - Pestani is a road that goes by the Lake, it goes through many touristic places and attractions, beaches and what so not, and during peak summer period it has plenty of vehicles too.
Officially nothing is planned by the government, but the previous (VMRO) government had some proposals for an express road there too.

Now there's another road, which you probably haven't heard of and it's Madzari - Katlanovo.
It's the road that is used mostly from people living there, and vehicles that want to bypass the Petrovec Toll on A1. Because we have plenty of tolls for such a small amount of motorway (easy way to rob the poor), people seek ways to bypass those tolls and choose to drive on those regional roads which increases the traffic. The solution on that road is to completely get rid of the Petrovec toll, build more interchanges (by converting the overpasses and underpasses) into interchanges, so most of the villages can be directly connected to the motorway, which should further relive traffic.

Aside from that, the rest is as expected. Traffic is probably reduced a bit due to COVID, but not in drastic difference.


Now some other info:

Regarding the Strumica - Smokvica Express Road, i have posted some pictures below of where the route will go.
bbzFr80.jpg

This is the first section, and the hardest one. You can see Strumica on the top right.
This section includes the small part of Strumica before the Valandovo Hill (Gorge) and the Valandovo Hill (Gorge) itself.
The first part is the most easiest, and can be build to a motorway like standard. This part will probably temporary end where the existing road ends and connect with the Boulevard in Strumica. It might just get widened, and that's it. But in the future, I'm pretty sure they will build a trumpet interchange, or something similar to connect it with the Strumica Bypass. The Strumica bypass will link this express road with the Strumica - Novo Selo Express Road, and with Strumica - Radoviš (if that ever gets built as an express road or a motorway).
The second part of the first phase is the hardest one, and it includes upgrading, widening the existing road, re - aligning the curves, building some new sections (part of re - aligning the road), and doing the same to the bridges as well.
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The second phase begins where the first phase ends, and that is the bypass of village Kosturino. Current traffic has to go through the village, it has to interact with tractors, slower traffic and kids on the road, making it a more dangerous road. Since the terrain there is slightly easier, a new route will be built and in full motorway like standard, with smooth curves and grade separated interchanges.
Then the second part of this second phase is the so called "New Valandovo Valley". You can see the new route has much smoother curves, and not every curve is up to the motorway - like standard, but it's better than the existing road. The gradation will be lower, i believe at around 8%, so ascending and descending will be much easier than before.
Then the last part of the second phase is where the flat land begins, and the easiest part. There's the first interchange on this part, near the Rabrovo Industrial Zone.
nC5cMsn.jpg

The third and last phase begins where the second phase ends. There will be a bigger bypass of Valandovo, and another interchange after Valandovo to accommodate the nearby villages. The last interchange is what it will link to the old fast road which itself links to A1 at Smokvica Village.

That's pretty much as far as this project goes. The vmax will be 110 km/h, but near the hard part of Section 1, the fastest vehicles could drive would be 70 km/h, and nothing more.
Section 2 will have a vmax of 80 km/h, and Section 3 will have a vmax of 110 km/h.


And for last, some info related to the Štip - Radoviš Motorway.

Parts from Štip West to Štip South interchange will be have to be completely closed for traffic, because of upgrading and extending the road there, as part of the Štip - Radoviš Express Road.
They will have to do Compaction (Tamponing) and reconstruction / expansion of that section, so traffic will have to be diverted through Štip.
If they let traffic flow, while construction is underway, that can have serious effects on the quality of the road later on. And Strabag is a serious company that wants to have the highest quality of asphalt done.
There is really no other solution. Building temporary roads just specifically for this purpose will cost a lot and it won't be worth it. So as a temporary solution, traffic will have to be diverted through Štip. No other solution.

On the Section from Bučim to Radoviš, traffic will also have to be diverted, but here it can be diverted on the local road. Currently it's diverted near Radoviš, and traffic goes on the local road. They will asphalt and build the remaining local road from Bučim to Radoviš (the old road to Radoviš, as i explained before), and they will revert the traffic from the current Magistral Road in use, to the local road.
That section will have to be upgraded and expanded, just like the part from Štip West to Štip South. The good thing on this section is that there is somewhat a local road, that will need to have little work, and they can divert traffic to that road. Simple as that.
Now when will this take place, I don't know but as soon as I find info, everyone will be informed.
Edit: I also forgot to mention. The bridge over river Bregalnica is actually not built in a full motorway standard, but the old bridge that is under renovation will be used for merging on the interchange and carrying the one way traffic, and so will the new one. Hence why they are also widening the old bridge. This doesn't mean that it can't be upgraded and expanded one day, if possible and if there's a need of course. Again, sorry for the mistake, i corrected it now.
 

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A4 Skopje - Shtip, direction south (I even saw some cyclist and a family walking their dog on the hard shoulder on this section, but did not take a picture)
Don't find this surprising, it's quite often.
The main problem on A4 is that there aren't fences everywhere, and most of the fences that are present are not properly installed. There's also another issue where the third lane does not close from the right side, but instead the far left lane closes.
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^ This is how it used to be before, and that's how it's pretty much used elsewhere in the world.
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^ This is how it is now. Very big mistake, and the person / company that did this should be instantly fired... There's nothing on that crossed out white spot. They probably did this when they were fixing some of the landslides that occurred.
Idk if you noticed this while driving, but really dangerous. So far no - one has done anything to re - draw those lines, and this is just unacceptable. Truly shows the bad image of my country.

Not to mention that one time, when going towards Skopje, we had a dog run over the motorway. Yes you read that right, a dog casually decided to cross the motorway, and we were driving around 100 km/h. We had to brake so hard, or else we would hit the dog. Luckly no - one was behind us, or we would've ended badly...

Now don't get me wrong, A4 is a nice motorway, and me and my family drive through it quite a lot when we're on the holidays at my grandparents, or say if we go to Bulgaria. It's a nice motorway, but mistakes like this, unacceptable.

They also have those dotted lines for keeping a distance during foggy weather. I think they should implement those on all motorway network in my country, not only on the small stretch near the Kadrifakovo Interchange on A4.

Edit: Most parts of this motorway were actually upgrades, and removal of existing regional roads. So now you have like 5 villages near this motorway. Before this motorway got built, they all used the local road. When the motorway got built, many of the local roads had to be destroyed, or converted. So the traffic from those villages, and the people living in those villages do not really have other alternatives to drive and walk on, so they are forced to use the motorway. Quite risky yes, but when you have no other choice...
Yes there's probably unpaved dirt roads, some asphalted roads but that's mostly used by the farmers. And the route those roads take is usually longer, since it passes through villages. The motorway doesn't and thus is the shortest route.
You can have a good look on google earth, and go a little back in time to see what was present on this location before the motorway got built.
 

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In Austria and sometimes also in Germany the additional climbing lane “appears” on the left side and also “closes” on the left side. When there is a lot of traffic it works much smoother than having it on the right.

So I don’t think that is a mistake.
 

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Absolutely, it makes much more sense to be like it is now. Otherwise the rather ignorant general driver population keeps driving in the middle lane, greatly reducing the usefulness of the additional one.
 
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Exactly! If you have it on the right, slow vehicles drivers have to change lane (and sometimes they don’t!).

If you have it on the left, everybody drives in their own lane, and who wants to overtake has the bonus of an additional lane.
 

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The problem with many climbing lanes is that they end at the top of the hill. This means that traffic has to merge at the point where truck traffic is at its slowest. It's better to continue the lane for several hundred meters so trucks can gain speed again.

I also believe that going back from 3 to 2 lanes is better with a lane reduction on the left, this eliminates lane changes by (slow) trucks interfering with faster car traffic.
 
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