A new 7.7km-long European Union (EU)-funded bypass road around Ungheni in Moldova has opened to the public.

The ring road involved construction costs of more than €10.7m, of which €8.6m is an EU grant, and about €2m is from the government’s road fund.

According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the road will help to improve connection to the EU border and divert heavy traffic from the city of Ungheni.

EU Moldova delegation head Peter Michalko said: “The Ungheni bypass road, which we open today, will make this country’s connection with the European Union and with the EU border easier and more convenient.

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“EBRD said that the construction is part of a large-scale programme to upgrade and build key roads in the country.”

“It will also facilitate business and exchange of goods and merchandise while reducing congestion and lowering pollution for the benefit of the people who live here.

“With the joint efforts of all partners involved, we managed, through EU support, to bring European standards of living closer to the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, helping them live better, easier lives through this new infrastructure.”

EBRD said that the construction is part of a large-scale programme to upgrade and build key roads in the country.

As part of the development, a number of projects will be carried out funded by various investments and grants totalling €670m from the EU, the EBRD, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and US Government foreign aid agency Millennium Challenge Corporation.

The bypass includes two one-way lanes and numerous connecting roads. It helps to improve the connection to the EU border and cuts the distance from Chisinau by 11km.

The new road will divert at least 400 heavy-duty vehicles daily from the city centre of Ungheni. As a result, it will reduce congestion, cut pollution levels, and keep the air cleaner, which will aid in improving the quality of life.