|Length 22 km||Major cities Szczecin|
|From: Bundesautobahn 11 at border with Germany at Pomellen - Kołbaskowo|
To: Szczecin-Dąbie, extension planned along current S3 to Rzęśnica
The autostrada A6 in Poland is a 22 km (14 mi) long motorway that starts at the Polish/German border at Kołbaskowo/Pomellen connecting to the German A11 autobahn. It forms a southern bypass of the Szczecin metropolitan area, and terminates to the east of that city where it becomes the S3 express road to Świnoujście. Another 8 km (5 mi) of the S3 road will be redesignated as A6, once improvement work is carried out. The motorway is a part of the European route E28.
Map of A6, Szczecin, Poland
History of construction and plans for the future
The motorway had its beginning as part of the Reichsautobahn system built by Germany in the 1930s, as part of a planned motorway connection from Berlin through the "Polish Corridor" to Königsberg in East Prussia (present-day Kaliningrad, Russia). Construction works proceeded up to Rummelsburg (Miastko) after the 1939 Invasion of Poland, but finally discontinued in 1942 due to the World War II impact. After the war, the highway sections that together with the surrounding area became a part of Poland were dubbed Berlinka. The post-1945 borders meant that the need for a high-capacity road connection on that route disappeared and even though much of the construction work was already done, it was not continued by the postwar Polish government.
Of the portion that ended up on Polish territory, only a 29 km (18 mi) stretch east from the Oder-Neisse line border with Germany was fully completed as a dual-carriageway autobahn (in 1936-1937 (). Most of this stretch became the A6 of today, the rest is signed as the S3 express road. Further to the east, for another 30 km (19 mi), one finds a partially completed, single-lane motorway, signed as voivodeship road 142 (part of it has been reconstructed as an emergency military road airstrip). Further east the road is no longer passable, but the earthworks left from the motorway construction stretch for about 100 km (62 mi) more, and are easily visible on satellite photographs. While not part of the A6 in any formal sense, another part of Berlin-Königsberg autobahn was the single carriageway section east of Elbląg (Elbing), built in pre-war East Prussia and now in Poland and Russia. That stretch had been rebuilt and was opened to traffic in 2008 as express road S22.
In the years after the war the damage caused by wartime demolitions was repaired, though not completely as some Oder bridges were only rebuilt with a single carriageway. After that, the motorway did not see any significant upgrades or reconstruction until the 1990s. As a result, it fell far short of modern standards, and so on some maps it is not marked as a motorway (in whole or in part). Work on upgrading the highway to modern standards began in the late 1990s, starting with the full rebuilding of Oder bridges. At present, the full 22 km from the German border to the junction with national road 10 has been reconstructed, with the last 7 km (4.3 mi) stretch fully opened on 26 September 2007. However, some interchanges are still awaiting upgrades, and a major interchange with the express road S3 opened in 2010. Additional 8 km (5 mi) was upgraded in June 2014 and was officially redesignated as A6. In the more distant future A6 may be extended north to Goleniów and reach a length of about 50 km (31 mi).
In the long term it is conceivable that a motorway along Poland's Baltic coast will be built and if that happens, it will most likely be an extension of A6. It is highly unlikely though that it would follow the route planned in the 1930s, as in modern conditions it is no longer advantageous. Despite some support voiced for the idea by the inhabitants of north-western Poland, at present not even preliminary plans for such a motorway exist and it is highly unlikely that they will be formulated before 2015. The completion of the A1, A2 and A4 motorways, together with a network of express roads, has a much higher priority. In particular, the S6 expressway is planned for connecting Szczecin and Gdańsk, though it will have a lower standard than a motorway would. Also, it will not run by the most direct possible route between the two cities, but will instead arch slightly northwards to serve the cities of Koszalin and Słupsk. Nevertheless, once S6 is built, the need for the A6 motorway running along roughly the same route will probably be too low to justify building it in the foreseeable future, given the rather low traffic densities along this route.