From the beginning of civilization, the need for public interconnecting roads became evident for the speediness of communication and national defense. With the creation of advanced technology, paved roads combined with other tactics created the most proficient roadways to better serve travelers. Sometimes these roads are shortcut to hell which takes away life.
Some roads have been around for centuries whereas others are known for their specific engineering characteristics. From longest to busiest to deadliest, here are the most remarkable roadways ever built.
Known as the fastest highway in the world, the German Autobahn is a motorway specifically for cars. Bicycles, mopeds, pedestrians or any other means of transportation that is unable to go faster than 38 mph, or 60 kph, are prohibited from entering.
As the nationally coordinated motorway for Germany, it is called Bundesautobahn (BAB), which translates to the federal way for cars. Although 52 percent of BAB doesn’t have a speed limit, it is recommended to travel at a limit of 81 mph, or 130 kph. Other areas of the German motorway are subject to driving conditions.15 percent have speed limits depending on weather or traffic conditions.
Due to the high speeds of most of the vehicles traveling on the autobahn, it is illegal to stop unnecessarily on the motorway and this includes running out of fuel.
James Dalton Highway (Alaska)
The James Dalton Highway is a 414 mile gravel road. It heads straight north from the Livengood turnoff of the Elliott Highway, through arctic tundra to the farthest north reaches of Alaska. Alyeska built the 360 mile haul road, now known as the Dalton Highway, from the Yukon River to Prudhoe Bay, for $150 million to supply the oil facilities on the North Slope. The pipeline bridge across the 1,875 mile Yukon River is the only span across that river in Alaska.
It is still the main supply route for the Prudhoe Bay oilfields, and you will be sharing the road with large tractor trailers. Windshields and headlights are easy targets of flying rocks. Most rental companies will not allow you to drive their cars on the Dalton. Trucks speeding along the slippery gravel track kick up thick clouds of dust or mud, reducing visibility to absolute zero; potholes take a heavy toll on cars and services, gas, and repairs are practically nonexistent.
The Big Dig
Boston’s Big Dig was an idea estimated to cost $2.8 billion in 1985 and substantially soared to $14.8 billion, making it the most expensive highway project ever undertaken in history.
Beginning in 1991, construction for the Big Dig led to the fatal injuries of four workers and death of a motorist from the collapse of a concrete panel. The expressway system was completed in 2007.
Less than 50 miles long and barely ten feet wide, Bolivia’s Yungas Road kills an estimated 200 to 300 travelers each year.
Traveling along the Andes Mountain, the road leads from the city of La Pez to the Yungas region and was deemed the most dangerous road in the world by the Inter American Development Bank in 1995.
Since 1923, plans were in the making of building a highway from Alaska to Chile.The Pan American Highway is the long est highway system covering roughly 16,000 miles. It runs through 16 countries, including the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and Peru.
Highway 401, also known as the Macdonald Cartier Freeway, is the busiest highway in North America with 420,000 vehicles visiting some parts of the highway daily.
Since its completion in the 1960s, the highway serves travelers in the southern, central and eastern parts of Ontario, Canada.
The Katy Freeway
With 26 lanes in certain parts, the Katy Freeway, or Interstate 10, is the widest highway in the world. It serves more than 219,000 vehicles daily. Originally constructed in the 1960s, Interstate 10 expands across a 23 mile stretch from its intersection with Interstate 610 to the city of Katy in Texas.
The Karakoram Highway
The Karakoram Highway is the highest paved highway in the world at 16,000 feet and running through three mountain regions: the Himalayas, Karakorams, and Pamirs. The Indus River also runs through some parts of the road.
Extending 500 miles, the highway connects the Xinjiang region of China with Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. In 1963, Pakistan and China signed a borders agreement to construct a road that would mutually benefit the two countries. In 1986, the Karakoram Highway officially opened to travelers and connected China with central Asian countries.
Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun Road
Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun Road is known for its high volume of accidents with the culprit bei ng a ghost. Built in 1977 to connect China regions Tuen Mon and Tsuen Wan, the high speed roadway is believed by some to be haunted by ghosts causing accidents.
The Guoliang Tunnel
In China’s Taihang Mountains, there is a 4,000 feet long road called the Guoliang Tunnel that was built by the villagers themselves.
In 1972, 13 villagers began the project to carve a road along the side of a mountain in order to link their village to the outside world. On May 1, 1977, the road was opened for travelers.