There is over 900,000 kilometres of road in Australia and more than 64 million kilometres of roads worldwide. This incomprehensible amount of roads means hundreds of bridges, junctions, roundabouts and crazy architecture exist. Built primarily as part of a road, many of these have become attractions in their own right. Auto Europe has collected 5 of our favourite crazy road engineering features for you to explore.
The Magic Roundabout will have you driving in circles with its complicated layout. Located in Swindon, UK it was once a standard roundabout. As time passed the traffic increased and it struggled under heavy traffic. Local authorities came up with a unique solution - build 5 mini roundabouts around one central roundabout. Travel around the 5 mini-roundabouts and the outer loop is in the usual clockwise manner while the inner roundabout is anticlockwise.
A stack interchange is a free flowing separated junction between two roads. These crisscrossing roads are called fly overs and are often one over the other, hence the name stack interchange. Los Angeles has many busy stack interchanges, the busiest in terms of traffic and the number of fly overs is the Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange. Although baffling for tourists this structure allows for a free flow of traffic in all directions containing regular traffic, and HOV lanes (High Occupancy Vehicle lane, similar to a T2/T3 lane in Australia and New Zealand). Engineers even squeezed in the Harbor Freeway metro station, which runs down the middle median strip. Movie buffs may recognise the roads from the 1994 motion picture Speed.
Nervous drivers beware! The Atlanterhavsveien (Atlantic Road) in Norway is an 8.3km long road which runs through an archipelago connecting the mainland Romsdal peninsula to the island of AverÃ¸ya. The striking Storseisundet Bridge is the longest of the 8 bridges and is a remarkable sight. This 260 meter cantilever bridge is an optical illusion, when approaching, the road and bridge appear to abruptly come to a stop and just drop away. The clever architecture of the bridge means that from one angle the road looks more like a roller coaster rather than a typical bridge.
Located in Gravelly Hill, Birmingham, the Gravely Hill interchange is a massive intertwining junction which covers 30 acres of land. A local journalist reported its complicated twisted design looked very similar to a plate of spaghetti, and that is how the nickname Spaghetti Junction was born. With 18 possible routes and over 559 concrete columns it passes over two railway lines, three canals, and two rivers making it one of the most complicated road networks in the world. Fisherman fishing on the canals below the bridge makes a strange sight while crossing this bewildering network of roads.
Imagine your surprise when landing on an incoming flight; to see a queue of traffic waiting to cross the same runway you have just landed on. This is a common occurrence at Gibraltar International Airport. Situated on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, this small airport is intersected by Winston Churchill Avenue - a major city road. This road has large traffic volumes as it leads to the land border of Spain. When a flight arrives or departs a boom gate comes down and traffic comes to a halt. Often cars have to wait 10 minutes by time the final landing clearance is given, the plane lands and taxis to the terminal. Pedestrians were permitted to cross along with traffic but this is no longer permitted for safety reasons.
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