The first definition of the basic road network in Istria can be found in the Regional Physical Plan of Istria completed in 1968. The change in the Physical Plan from 1983 stated that the gravity traffic centre connecting the west and the east part of Istria should be moved down from the Baderna loop to the Kanfanar loop. The Physical Plan of the Istrian Region adopted in February 2002 confirmed the same concept.
Following the planned concept, the construction of the Istrian Y Highway was launched, and the first 26-kilometres-long section Matulji-Lupoglav, including the Tunnel Učka, opened for traffic in 1981. The later constructed sections were Lupoglav-Cerovlje, Cerovlje-Pazin (Rogovići), and the sections Dragonja-Pula: Buje Nova Vas and Medaki-Kanfanar (viaduct Limska Draga), with the total length of 36 km. The period between 1997-1999 witnessed the construction of the section Pazin-Vodnjan, so that the total length of 90 km is used for traffic.
The works on the construction of the west end of the Istrian Y Highway are under way. The opening for traffic of the section from the loop Umag to the loop Medaki (Vrsar) is planned for May 2005.
There is a relatively dense network of public roads in the Istrian Region. However, when making an evaluation of the situation, we have to determine that the quality of the existing road traffic is unsatisfactory, and that the development of road infrastructure does not satisfy the increased necessities of road traffic.
We also need to point out that the care of the Istrian roads has been significantly improved following the establishment of the Region, towns, and municipalities. Many roadways were renovated and numerous macadam roads were asphalted.
The total length of roads in the Istrian Region is 1.812,950 km:
- State roads - 380,200 km
- Regional roads - 698,950 km
- Local roads - 733,800 km