8 of the world’s most dangerous roads

  • From South America to Asia, there are busy roads that are truly terrifying.
  • They include steep cliffs, rough terrain, and extreme weather conditions.
  • We explore eight that should be taken by only the most fearless drivers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Whether they’re carved into the side of steep cliffs, prone to natural disasters, or disappear in an instant, some roads can be downright terrifying. From North America to Asia, you can find highways meant for the most fearless drivers. These are eight of the world’s most dangerous roads.

India’s Zoji La is a pass in the Himalayas that ventures 11,575 feet above sea level, completely unpaved as it reaches the summit. The road has no barriers separating drivers from going over the edge of its steep vertical cliffs. Zoji La also experiences extreme weather conditions. This includes heavy snow that can be 50 to 80 feet deep. Over 60 landslides have been reported on the road. In 2018, India approved the Zoji La tunnel project. It involves the construction of an 8.5-mile tunnel under the pass, which will reduce the time to cross the Zoji La from more than three hours to just 15 minutes.

Norway is one of the safest countries to drive in, with only 20 fatal car accidents per 1 million people. However, it’s also home to one of the most dangerous passageways, the Atlantic Ocean Road. The area is prone to major sea storms, meaning the bridges along the road become hazardous for drivers. During inclement weather, massive waves regularly sweep over the pavement, accompanied by powerful gusts of wind. Careless driving can be a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, there are few serious accidents on record because of precautions taken by local drivers and authorities when storms hit. Still, footage shows just how many close calls drivers have encountered and why this is a road trip best saved for a sunny day.

Stretching 414 miles through the most barren parts of Alaska is the James Dalton Highway. Ending just a few miles short of the Arctic Ocean, it’s one of the only roads for getting supplies to some of the northernmost parts of Alaska. The Dalton is no ordinary highway, though. As drivers travel north, they become more and more isolated from civilization. For a full 240-mile stretch, you won’t find gas stations, rest stops, or even cellphone coverage. Travelers must be prepared with emergency supplies and survival gear. A simple breakdown could leave you stranded for days. The extreme Arctic weather creates limited visibility, icy roads, and enormous potholes. In some parts, the temperature can drop to as little as minus 80 degrees at night. This doesn’t help when the road itself is 75% mud and gravel. This highway is best saved for only those whose job requires using it.

The 800-mile Karakoram Highway is a mountainous road that connects Pakistan to China. But the world’s highest paved international highway is also one of the most dangerous. The uppermost section in Pakistan climbs 15,397 feet above sea level but lacks any guardrails and is only wide enough for one car to fit through. Besides the hairpin turns that overlook steep mountain cliffs, it’s the weather that may be Karakoram’s most dangerous factor. The highway is regularly hit with heavy snowfall and monsoons that lead to flooding, landslides, and rockfall. Fatal accidents are not uncommon. Fortunately, as part of the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor project, reconstruction of the highway’s Pakistani portion is underway.

Known worldwide as “Death Road,” Bolivia’s 43-mile Yungas Road connects the country’s capital city, La Paz, to the town of Coroico. Carved into the side of the Cordillera Oriental mountains, it features few guardrails to keep motorists and cyclists from going straight over the edge. Most of the road is a single lane and made up of dirt and gravel. Its most dangerous features include heavy rain and fog, unpredictable landslides, and cliffs that drop 2,000 feet. Until 2006, Yungas Road was the only option for traveling from Coroico to La Paz. That trip is estimated to have claimed 200 to 300 lives a year. Still, many locals and daredevil tourists make the journey along Death Road regularly.

The Passage du Gois isn’t just dangerous, it’s a natural phenomenon. The 3-mile road connects mainland France to the island of Noirmoutier. Due to high tides, it disappears under the ocean twice a day, completely covered by waves. With that length, if you’re caught in the floods, you might not reach dry land before you’re chest-deep in water. These hazards are why France has signs that let people know when the road is passable. Elevated rescue towers are even put in place, and tourists are advised not to use the road unless absolutely necessary.

Winding through the Andes Mountains is Chile’s Caracoles Pass, which translates to “Snail’s Pass.” It gains its name from the dizzying 29 hairpin turns that climb to an elevation of 10,500 feet above sea level, right at the Chilean-Argentinian border. To make matters worse, there are no guardrails. However, the road is covered with snow for most part of the year, forcing drivers to err on the side of caution. The traffic is intense, forming long convoys, hence the name.

The Million Dollar Highway stretches 25 miles on Colorado’s Route 550. But despite being a highway, it takes 42 minutes to drive. That’s because it has a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. The road is carved into the side of the San Juan Mountains and reaches an elevation of 11,018 feet. However, it has no guardrails between the pavement and the sheer cliffs. As it climbs higher, the road only narrows and the turns get tighter. The highway is plagued by extreme weather as well. Storms and heavy snowfall make the road constantly at risk for rockslides and avalanches during the winter months. Records show that from 2005 to 2015 there were 412 accidents and eight fatalities, most involving single-vehicle crashes.

From unguarded cliffs to natural disasters, these terrifying roads all have their own dangers. These hazards and risks are why it truly takes guts to traverse them.

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GOP senator says bipartisan infrastructure group wants to double Biden’s spending on roads and bridges

Bill Cassidy
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

  • Sen. Bill Cassidy says he’s working on an “alternative” to Biden’s multitrillion-dollar jobs plan.
  • “The money in our bill … would double the amount of money going for roads and bridges” compared to Biden, he said.
  • Cassidy was part of a key GOP working group that made a stimulus counteroffer to Biden this year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, indicated another major infrastructure plan was being drafted by lawmakers searching for another option besides President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion proposal.

“I’ll be meeting with governors and bipartisan group of senators and [representatives] on a bill which will be an alternative to the President’s proposal,” Cassidy told Louisiana reporters on Tuesday.

He continued: “As I look at it, the money in our bill – at least what I’m proposing – would double the amount of money going for roads and bridges compared to what the president is putting forward.”

Biden’s plan sets aside $115 billion to upgrade roads and bridges. That suggests a potential alternative plan from Cassidy could allocate at least $230 billion.

Cassidy added his state was hit with a low grade in the White House’s ‘infrastructure report card’ issued on Monday. “In Louisiana if we’re a ‘D,’ we need a lot more infrastructure and a lot less of that something else,” he said.

The Louisiana senator formed part of a group of 10 Republican senators who met with Biden earlier this year and pitched a $618 billion coronavirus relief counterproposal. They recently panned Biden for calling that package inadequate to address the crisis. Democrats ultimately approved a $1.9 trillion rescue plan without Republican votes.

It was not immediately clear whether Cassidy was drafting a plan in tandem with any of those GOP lawmakers. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democrats favor a large package that ramps up spending on in-home care for the elderly and affordable housing. The GOP argues these measures go beyond traditional infrastructure, besides having a size and scope that are too large. They are also critical of hiking corporate taxes.

“There is bipartisan appetite for smart infrastructure bills that are built the right way,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday. “There isn’t much appetite for using the word “infrastructure” to justify a colossal, multitrillion-dollar slush fund for unrelated bad ideas.”

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Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg backs Biden’s infrastructure bill, says ‘we’re still coasting on infrastructure choices’ from the 1950s

Pete Buttigieg
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg at a press conference in February.

  • Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg is helping rally support for Biden’s infrastructure plan.
  • Buttigieg said on Sunday the American Jobs Plan represented “a generational investment.”
  • The plan aims for upgrades in everything from roads and bridges to public schools and airports.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday promoted President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, making the case that the legislation would be transformational for the country.

During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Buttigieg said the American Jobs Plan represented “a generational investment” that would produce “economic growth that’s going to go on for years and years.”

“Infrastructure is the foundation that makes it possible for Americans to thrive,” he said. “And what we know is that foundation has been crumbling.

Buttigieg made the argument that the current transportation network, built up decades ago, has to meet the needs of a modern society.

“We’re still coasting on infrastructure choices that were made in the 1950s,” he said. “Now’s our chance to make infrastructure choices for the future that are going to serve us well in the 2030s and onto the middle of the century when we will be judged for whether we meet this moment here in the 2020s.”

Biden’s massive plan includes $621 billion in transportation infrastructure investments, with direct funding for road and bridge repairs, improvements in Amtrak passenger train service, lead pipe repairs, port and airport funding, and public school improvements, among other long-awaited projects.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California is seeking to have a bill passed sometime in July, but the legislation’s fate also rests in the hands of the Senate, which the party only narrowly controls.

While Biden is seeking Republican input on the bill, Democrats have not ruled out passing an infrastructure package through the reconciliation process, which would only require a party-line vote.

Read more: Here are 9 hurdles Biden’s infrastructure plan would have to overcome in Congress before it can become law

In order to pay for the plan, Biden hopes to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, which congressional Republicans vehemently oppose.

GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky last week said that in its current form, Biden’s infrastructure bill will be a hard sell for his caucus, especially if it is funded with “a combination of massive tax increases on businesses and individuals, and more borrowing.”

“I think that package they’re putting together now, as much as we would like to address infrastructure, is not going to get support from our side,” he said.

GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said on ABC’s “This Week” earlier on Sunday that a smaller infrastructure bill could be “a bipartisan, easy win” for the president.

“The other 70 or so percent of the package that doesn’t have very much to do with infrastructure, if you want to force that in a partisan way, you can still do that,” he added.

Buttigieg, along with Housing and Urban Development secretary Marcia Fudge, Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo, and Labor secretary Marty Walsh, have been tasked with helping rally support behind the plan.

Buttigieg emphasized during the Sunday interview that Biden’s plan would not only repair aging US transportation networks, but would strengthen the country’s economic standing and position it as a leader on climate change.

“America will be much more economically competitive, we’ll be stronger in terms of leading the world because of the research and development investments that are here, and we will be on track to avoid climate disaster because of the provisions for things like electric vehicles,” he said.

He added: “Those electric vehicles that more and more people around the world are driving will be increasingly made in America by union workers. This is what you get for planning for the long term.”

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