Motorway law change paves way to Euro 2012

Poland, hoping to avoid the embarrassment of not opening several major roads before it co-hosts Euro 2012, wants to modify laws to allow the use of unfinished motorways.

The centre-right government said on Tuesday it would push through changes giving conditional clearance for cars to drive on highways missing non-essential facilities, including petrol stations or sound barriers, as long as they are deemed safe.

The builders would also be temporarily spared the need to get the green light from environmental authorities, which often takes months or years to secure.

Poland's efforts to upgrade its dilapidated infrastructure before the football tournament it hopes will highlight its economic success, have encountered numerous bumps in the road, including red tape and financial troubles of some contractors.

In the most high-profile case, Polish authorities scrambled last year to find a new builder for a section of a key highway linking Warsaw to its western neighbour Germany after cancelling a deal with China's COVEC over unpaid sub-contractors.

With less than four months to go before Euro 2012 kicks off, Poland has 1,065 kilometres (662 miles) of motorways and 580 km under construction, with several other projects put off indefinitely.

Poland's sports fans breathed a sigh of relief earlier in the day after authorities cleared Warsaw's National Stadium to stage its first match after delays had raised questions over the readiness of the venue that is scheduled to host the opening match of Euro 2012.

Poland is co-hosting the June 8-July 1 tournament with Ukraine.


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