M-4 “Don” Highway was designed by GIPRODORNII Road Design and Research Institute and built in 1959-1966 in compliance with the requirements to third technical category roads – road bed width of 7 meters and two lanes of traffic. Originally the road was not designed for heavy loads.

An alternate 18.4 km long segment was built and launched into operation in Domodedovsky District of Moscow Region between 1984 and 1990. By 1999 the new road was extended to 72 kilometers, with 4 to 8 lanes of traffic; by 2000 a further 63 km in Moscow and Tula Region were added. Today’s Don highway is an extension of Lipetskaya Street in Moscow. The original route – the old Kashirskoe Highway – has lost its relevance and is mainly used for regional traffic and to bypass congestion on the Don highway.

The first toll road in Russia’s modern history, a 20-km toll segment bypassing Hlevnoe village in Lipetsk Region, was launched in November 1998.

Reconstruction of the road along its entire length continued in the 21st century, with most of the highway getting dual carriageways and overpasses, and longer segments getting night-time illumination. Bypasses of Bogoroditsk (2009), Yefremov (2010), Yelets (2011) and other towns were built.

In 2010, the road was delivered into fiduciary management to the State Company Russian Highways. Together with the Association of International Road Carriers, OPORA Public Organization of Small and Medium Entrepreneurship of Russia and mass media, the State Company conducted monitoring of roadside service facilities. More than 50% of the existing facilities were considered not fit for comfortable use, and further 30% were found non-compliant with the legal requirements.

After reconstruction in December 2010, the length of toll segment in Lipetsk Region was extended from 20 to 50 km (414-464 km). The speed limit in this segment is set to 110 km/h since June 2011.