Sunday, November 27, 2011

7 Longest Roads in the World

Road trips are an iconic part of the American experience. Despite the ease and speed of air travel, seeing America by car is still the preferred means of travel for many. But some of the most iconic roadways in the world are actually located outside of the US, and many of them put the longest roads in America to shame. While some roads span states, many others span entire countries, as the following list will show.

1. Interstate 80

MILES: 2,909

The second longest highway in America, Interstate 80 serves as America’s equator. Splitting the country in half as it travels east to west, beginning in San Francisco and ending in Teaneck, New Jersey, I-80 spans 2,909 miles.

Built in 1956, this road mimics the path of the Lincoln Highway, which was the first road across America. Not surprisingly, there is an obvious shortage of former Confederate states along the Lincoln Highway.

2. Interstate 90

MILES: 3,111

Inching out I-80 by about 200 miles, Interstate 90 holds the title of longest road in America. Starting in Seattle and ending in Boston, there isn’t much room for the road to get any longer.

Built in 1957 and spanning 12 states, I-90 literally connects America from sea to shining sea (both of which are in fact oceans).

3. Trans-Canada Highway

MILES: 5,000

Although America takes pride in being the best at everything, our neighbors to the north simply have more real estate than we do, which is why parts of the Trans-Canada Highway dwarf our interstates.

Built in 1962, this highway connects Victoria, British Columbia, to North Sydney, Nova Scotia (and then, after a 110-mile ferry ride, to St. John’s, Newfoundland). Translation for the Canadian Geographically-challenged: just shy of 5,000 miles of open road connecting east to west. Not bad, eh?

4. Trans-Siberian Highway

MILES: 6,835 (approx.)

Spanning the width of Russia, the Trans-Siberian Highway connects the edges of the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Beginning in St. Petersburg and ending in Vladivostok, the 6,800 miles of road comprise Russia’s main highway system.

This massive amount of road proves that America and Russia have much in common, despite the fact that they may not see eye to eye on everything (for more information, see Rocky IV).

5. Australia’s Highway 1

MILES: 9,000

A racetrack on steroids, Australia’s Highway 1 puts the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to shame. This 9,000 mile highway circles the outer edge of the entire continent, and intersects every state capital in Australia.
This makes it a must-visit destination for your next tour to Australia.

Traveled by an average of one million motorists per day, this main highway of Australia keeps the continent connected, for those who like to take the long way around.

6. Pan American Highway

MILES: 27,197

Although this road lacks an official sponsor, as it spans several countries and continents, it is widely considered to be the longest motorable road in the world. The term “motorable” is an important qualifier, as there is a 54 mile gap where traditional automobiles cannot pass.

Nevertheless, from its northernmost point in Alaska to its southernmost point in South America, this road is the longest road you’ll never want to drive. Though mileage measurements vary widely from source to source (16,000-29,800), 27,197 miles is our official count, based on

7. Tarim Desert Highway (AKA Cross-Desert Highway)

MILES: 343

Although the Tarim Desert Highway comes in at a meek 343 miles long, it may well be the “longest” road in terms of your perception of the length, as 80% of it cuts through an uninhabitable desert in Central Asia.

Motorists on this road enjoy the sights of the Taklamakan Desert, including sand, sun, and… more sand. While this road may not be the longest on the map, it certainly feels like it.