Some roads are well-known for their design, their steepness or the way they work with the surrounding environment. Other roads aren’t so much famous as they are infamous for the dangers they present. In today’s blog, we’re taking a look at some of the most famous roads from around globe, be it for good or bad reasons.
Japan’s Hanshin Expressway
Japan is one of the smallest yet crowded countries in the world, so the abundance of traffic has required that some pretty interesting measures be taken when roads are constructed. One such example is the Hanshin Expressway in Osaka, which literally courses its way through a building – the Gate Tower Building.
It took five years of negotiations, most of them heated, to permit additional ramps to the highway to cut through the 5th and 7th floors of the building.
San Francisco’s Lombard Street
If you want to see the world’s most crooked street (not in terms of crime, but actual physical nature), then you’ll need to head to San Francisco. Lombard Street comprises eight hairpin turns, and this was done – in part – to account for the hill’s natural 27% grade. Without this hairpin design, the hill would prove too steep for many vehicles. As these turns are very sharp (they’re hairpins, after all), the maximum speed along Lombard Street is a mere 5 miles an hour (8km/h).
New Zealand’s Baldwin Street
When it comes to steep streets, they don’t get much steeper than New Zealand’s Baldwin Street. While there is some debate over whether or not our neighbours to the east actually have the steepest residential street in the world, they have been awarded the honour from the Guinness Book of World Records. Regardless, Baldwin Street will test your cars – and you – should you ever try to venture up its slope, which maxes out at 19 degrees (a 35% grade).
As a fun fact, much of Baldwin Street (particularly the higher and steeper parts) are paved with concrete instead of bitumen. Why, you ask? Well, if it were paved with bitumen, chances are you’d find that bitumen spilling down the slope on a hot day. Concrete takes much more heat to melt and, therefore, means the street needs less repairs.
Bolivia’s North Yungas Road
Out of all the roads in the world, Bolivia’s North Yungas Road holds a more inauspicious title. With a reputation that precedes it, North Yungas is nicknamed “The Death Road”. Considering the number of deaths that occur on this stretch of road along every year, however, the nickname is certainly justified. Connecting Bolivia’s main administrative capital, La Paz, to the Amazon region of the country, it’s estimated that somewhere between 200 to 300 travellers are killed every year on this road alone.
The majority of its risk comes from the fact that much of it is extremely narrow and winding. And did we mention a large portion of the road is carved into the side of mountains with sudden massive drops that would instantly kill you if you were to drive a little too close to the edge? Yeah, there’s that as well. Luckily, these days not many spend their time on this road as a far safer bypass opened back in 2006. However, thrill seekers and those with a morbid curiosity still test their luck by venturing onto “Death Road”.