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Difference Between Highway and Expressway

Highway vs Expressway

With a rapid increase in the number of automobiles, especially, after the first World War, many countries engaged in an exercise to provide roadways to accommodate these automobiles, also to provide congestion free roads connecting various cities. There are different nomenclatures for these high speed roads such as highway, freeway, expressway, turnpike, and so on. People remain confused as to what the real differences between such roads are especially highway and expressway. This article attempts to find out differences between a highway and expressway.

Any road meant for public use and connecting two major cities or otherwise important destinations is referred to as a highway. While, there were only a few countries boasting of national highways only a hundred years ago, there are scores of countries with interconnected highways, also called as highway system. While, it is the US that has the largest network of highways, the longest highway belongs to Australia with a length of nearly 9000 miles. If one looks at the system of highways in US, he finds that it has been so conceptualized so that, every state has one of these highways. There are both interstate highways as well as US highways connecting nearly all major cities in the country. There is one highway known as pan American Highway that connects many American countries. There are European Routes that are similar in nature connecting several European countries. There are instances of ferry services when there is a breakage in the highway because of water body as in the case of Route 10 in US which faces Lake Michigan in between.

Expressways are highways that have limited access or controlled access, but are very high quality and have features like lane dividers and access ramps to provide a pleasing motoring experience at high speed to motorists. So, a highway is merely a high speed road connecting 2 or more cities, whereas an expressway is a high speed road with 4 or more lanes that may or may not be a part of a highway. In fact, it has become common to refer to highways with 4 or more lanes as expressways. There may be a toll system to make use of the facilities in an expressway. Some expressways have overpasses and over intersections.

In brief:

Difference Between Highway and Expressway

• A highway is a generic term given to roadways that are used to connect important cities, and usually have 4 lanes to provide for high speed traffic.

• An expressway is a highway with partial access and extra facilities like access ramps and lane dividers.


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