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Desert Highway at Death Valley National Park, California, USA.

Do we want a new road?

Many cities around the world have a ring road to take the traffic out of the city center. They include Beijing, Cairo, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Lahore, Singapore, and Berlin. A bypass road is sometimes built to take all the through traffic away from a town or city. Such a road makes people’s journeys quicker and safer while living in the town or city is a little safer and less polluted. Once such a ring road or bypass is complete, new factories and offices are often built near it, bringing new jobs to the area. Not everyone welcomes a new road though.
Part of the ring road in Johannesburg, South Africa. Notice how new factories have been built by the road.

New roads and traffic problems

New roads can bring more cars and trucks, causing more noise and pollution, because better roads make journeys easier. When a motorway was built all the way around the outskirts of London, England, the engineers thought it would carry 80 000 vehicles a day. Within a few months, it was carrying more than 160 000 vehicles a day, causing traffic jams and even more noise and pollution. The motorway has had to be widened in places to take all the extra traffic.


Did you know?


The world’s longest ring road is the Berliner Ring, which goes all the way around the German capital city of Berlin. It is 196 kilometers long.

New roads and land use


New roads take up a large area of land. It may be necessary to knock down lots of homes that are in the way of the new road. Other homes may have the new road close to them, causing noise and pollution for the owners. A new ring road or bypass may use up valuable farmland, or even cut a farm in half so that it is difficult for the farmer to use the land. The new road may also cut across the beautiful countryside or destroy forests, marshes, grassland, and other areas where rare or unusual plants and animals live.
New roads take up valuable farmland and destroy the countryside and wildlife. New roads and local businesses Not everyone in a bypassed town or village will welcome the new road.
Shopkeepers and the owners of garages, cafés, restaurants, and other businesses may lose trade because there is less traffic. So, although it might reduce the traffic in a town or village, a bypass is extremely expensive and not everyone would like it.

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