As technologies for road construction advance, so too do the highways that connect cities, countries, and even continents. We look at the seven longest roads in the world today.
1) Pan-American Highway, American continent
The Pan-American Highway is a network of roads, extending from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. The 48,000km highway is the world’s longest ‘motorable road’, according to the Guinness World Records.
The route comprises official and unofficial sections and is interrupted by a 160km-wide gap, named the Darién Gap, between Central and South America. The highway encounters many dark jungles, deserts and different climates
2) Highway 1, Australia
Established in 1955, Highway 1 is one of the most well-known highways in Australia and the second longest highway in the world. With a total length of 14,500km, it includes both multi-lane and single roads.
The highway is thought to carry more than a million people every 24 hours and goes around the country, covering the majority of its inhabited regions.
Different landscapes, including but not limited to dramatic coastlines and forests, giant karri trees, scrubland, deserts, and huge tropical swamps, can be found along the route.
3) Trans-Siberian Highway, Russia
The 11,000km Trans-Siberian Highway comprises seven federal highways from the Baltic Sea to the Sea of Japan. It begins at an interchange in St. Petersburg and ends at Vladivostok.
About 10,000km of the route crosses some of the toughest environments and terrain — from forests to tundra to vast areas of nothingness.
Today, along the whole highway — built by gulag inmates — there is an asphalt-concrete pavement, but not always of good quality.
4) Trans-Canada Highway
The fourth-longest highway in the world has a total length of 7,821km. Construction of the Trans-Canada Highway commenced in 1950, and was completed in 1971 — although it was first opened to the public in 1962.
The highway goes through all ten Canadian provinces and connects the country’s major cities.
Sun Country Highway installed, in 2012, electric vehicle charging stations along the route, which enabled electric vehicles to travel its entire length — as proved by the company's president in a promotional trip in a Tesla Roadster.
Due to this, the route is also the world’s longest electric vehicle ready highway.
5) Golden Quadrilateral Highway Network, India
Golden Quadrilateral Highway Network has a length of about 5,846km and connects the cities of Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, and 13 states.
Construction on the highway started in 2001 and was completed in January 2012 at half of its initial cost — the project was estimated to cost INR600bn ($13.2bn) but in the end only required INR308.58bn.
Its construction, however, didn’t run without fatalities. Satyendra Dubey — an Indian engineering service officer and project director of the National Highways of India — was murdered in Gaya, Bihar, after exposing corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral project.
6) China National Highway 010
China National Highway 010 is the longest highway in China and the sixth longest in the world. Also known as Tongsan Expressway, it has a total length of about 5,700km.
It passes though the provinces of Zhejiang, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Shandong, Jilin, Fujian, Jiangsu, Shanghai and Guangdong.
The highway has a missing link in Guangdong, where trains have to carry cars across to Haikou in Hainan. The unusual road ends in Sanya.
7) US Route 20
US Route 20 stretches 5,415km in an east-west direction from Boston, Massachusetts, to Newport, Oregon.
The highway was commissioned in 1926 and extended in 1940. It spans across nine US states and divides into two at the Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park.
The highway’s western section intersects with US 101, while its eastern section runs parallel to the 222km stretch of Interstate 90 — known as Massachusetts Turnpike.