A few months ago we decided to delve into some of the weirdest and most unusual of UK roads, and boy did we discover some corkers! From the rudest to the most dangerous, we may think we sometimes complain about the roads on our little island, but when you start branching out into other countries it makes you realise just how fortunate we are! We take a look at some of the longest, most famous and beastiest international roads the world has to offer ?
Baldwin Street – New Zealand
Ever been to Cornwall and Devon and thought that was steep? Well neither can be compared to the infamous residential road in New Zealand. Although it’s only 350 metres long, it’s still enough for you to face plant if you’re in a hurry! The slope of Baldwin Street is on a 35% gradient and every year an event is held for fitness freaks to compete for the best time running from the base of the hill, to the top and back down again. The fastest time to date recorded as 1 minute 58 seconds and the road itself has made it into the Guinness World Records as officially being the steepest road in the world!
Leardel Tunnel – Norway
The Leardel Tunnel in Norway is a 15.23 miles long road and is the main connection from Oslo to Bergen. Built in 1992 and costing a whopping 1082billion Norwegian Krone (just over 100million pounds) the tunnel is divided into 4 sections which takes approximately 20 minutes to complete all of them. Every section is littered with white LEDs other than one particular part which is littered with beautiful orange and blue lights, designed to give the impression of the sun coming up! The sections also makes a rumbling noise every few minutes to keep drivers awake during the stretch of the journey ?
Guoliang Tunnel Road – China
Situated in Huixian, Xinxiang, Henan Province of China – The Gouliang Tunnel was named after a fugitive rebel during the Han Dynasty and is basically a road carved into the side of a mountain! Originally built in 1972 by a group of 13 local villagers, the whole thing was completed and opened for public use by 1977 as a means of easier access and transportation to the outside world. The entire pathway is 0.75 miles long, just under 5 metres high, 4 metres wide and was carved entirely using hammers and chisels… Now that is some serious stone cutting skills!
Route 66 – USA
It’s been featured in a bunch of movies and programmes over the years and it is rare to find a person who doesn’t know about Route 66! Also known as “The Mother Road” is a 2,448 mile stretch of road which was originally laid in 1926. Plans were made to construct this new highway system to create a more direct route from Chicago to Los Angeles with access to Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in between. Route 66 is the largest road in the U.S and it would take you about 2 weeks to complete it by car, from start to finish. To put that into context, it would take you just under 16 hours to go the 838 miles from Land’s end to John O’Groats (top to bottom of the UK)! Yep…. America is a BIG place!
North Yungas – Bolivia
Finally, the North Yungas road in Bolivia has been considered the “créme de la créme” for most dangerous roads in the road. Also known as “The Road of Death” it claimed to take the lives of 200-300 travellers EVERY year up until 2008! Initially built in the 1930s by Paraguayan Prisoners, it became a very popular tourist attraction in the 1990’s for mountain bike enthusiasts and thrill seekers, and has since been modernized to include guard rails, wider paths, bridges and multiple lanes to make it that bit less life threatening! I think we’d still give it a miss…