The autostrada A1, officially named Amber Highway (pol. Autostrada Bursztynowa) in Poland is a north-south motorway, partly under construction, that runs through central Poland, from Gdańsk on the Baltic Sea through Łódź and the Upper Silesian Industry Area (to the west of Katowice) to the Polish-Czech border in Gorzyczki (Wodzisław County) /Věřňovice (Karviná District), where it is connected with the Czech motorway D1. The motorway is a part of the European route E75. The total planned length is 565.1 km (351.1 mi).
The construction of the A1 motorway has been a highly politicized issue in Poland, as it is perceived to be an economically vital road that would connect the country's major ports on the Baltic coast with both central and southern Poland. Since 1989 various governments and political parties have supported an accelerated construction schedule for this motorway, without results. After many delays, caused mainly by lack of funding, construction resumed in 2005. When Jarosław Kaczyński was prime minister, statements from government officials indicated a firm commitment for accelerating the construction schedule, with completion of the whole motorway achieved in 2010. That plan was too optimistic, but according to then current plans much of the motorway would be opened by 2012 (as it was, 68% was complete by Dec 2012). As of October 2015, about 395.5 km (245.8 mi) of the motorway has been completed.
This section was built in stages between 2005 and 2014. First, a 25 km (16 mi) section was opened on 22 December 2007, near Gdańsk, extending the S6 bypass expressway, and a remaining 65 km (40 mi) opened on 17 October 2008. The 62 km extension of the motorway to Toruń opened on 14 October 2011.
The oldest section of this segment, a 17.5 km (11 mi) stretch as the Piotrków Trybunalski bypass, was built between 1978 and 1989. This was one of the very few stretches of motorway built in Poland under the Communist regime. In addition, the section from Częstochowa to Piotrków Trybunalski was built in the 1970s as a dual carriageway road on a motorway alignment. However, it lacks motorway interchanges, and instead has standard intersections with no grade separation, regulated by traffic lights.
On 22 January 2009 a contract was signed for the construction of the 180 km (110 mi) section from Stryków (junction with motorway A2) to Pyrzowice. Under the terms of the contract, the segment from Stryków to Częstochowa (123 km (76 mi)) was to be finished by May 2012, while the remaining segment from Częstochowa to Pyrzowice (57 km (35 mi)) was to be finished by January 2014 (60 months after the signing of the contract). The motorway was to be built within a Private-Public Partnership framework by company Autostrada Południe. The contract included the rebuilding of an already existing stretch of A1 motorway (opened in 1989) as well as the upgrade of the existing dual-carriageway road between Piotrków Trybunalski and Częstochowa. On 23 January 2010 the contract was cancelled as the company was not able to secure financing. It carried out the design project of the motorway however, which according to the Polish government was to make it possible for construction to begin in 2010 by new contractors, and be finished by 2012. However, the design project turned out to be full of flaws and will have to be redone from scratch.
The section from Pyrzowice to Częstochowa began construction in 2016, with completion planned for 2019/2020. The government plans to upgrade the remaining dual-carriageway stretch from Częstochowa to Piotrków Trybunalski by forming a partnership with a private company which would use future toll collections for financing, but the precise plans for doing this are uncertain as of 2016.
At the southern end of the motorway, construction of a 15.5 km (9.6 mi) section from Gliwice-Sośnica to Bełk, part of the southernmost section from the junction with the A4 motorway at Sośnica district of Gliwice to the Czech border, began on 26 March 2007 and was completed in December 2009. The remainder of the 48 km (30 mi) long section from A4 to the border was opened in different stages from 2009 till 2014. Construction of the 43 km (27 mi) section from Gliwice-Sośnica north to Pyrzowice began in 2009 and was fully completed by June 2012.
On 15 December 2009 the Polish government announced the cancelling of the contract for building the Świerklany - Gorzyczki (Czech border) section, citing the unacceptably slow pace of construction by Alpine Bau GmbH. The government solicited new bids for this section in April 2010 and the bid was won by the same company that lost the original contract, and construction resumed in October 2010. The original plan was for the road to be ready in the Summer of 2010, and according to the new contract it was to be ready in April 2012, in time for Euro 2012 championships. Alpine Bau GmbH abandoned their second effort to finish this section in May 2013. It was finally opened in May 2014.