At KH Plant, we have a special interest in roads because of the important role our rebuilt Caterpillar motor graders play in building and maintaining roads, in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa.

Just for fun, here we look at some of the world's most dangerous roads, from unpaved roads and terrifyingly steep bridges to hair-raising mountain passes and rudimentary tunnels.

Tongtian Avenue, China

tongtian avenue
© photo by Huangden2060

This serpentine pass in Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park ascend from 200 metres to 1 300 metres over a stretch of just 11 kilometres and includes no fewer than 99 hairpin bends – making it one of the most dangerous roads in China. The road has earned the nicknames “Big Gate Road”, “Avenue Toward Heaven”, and “Heaven-Linking Avenue” as it leads to the “Gateway to Heaven”, a natural cave high in the Tianmen Mountain.

North Yungas Road, Bolivia

north yang's road
© photo by GilCahana

This stretch of highway from La Paz to Coroico in the Amazon jungle is one of the most dangerous roads in the world, and is aptly nicknamed “Death Road”. The 64 kilometre highway is only 3,5 metres wide at some points, with unpaved sections and missing guardrails. The potential for mudslides and falling rocks make this deadly road even more terrifying.

National Road 5, Madagascar

rn 5
© photo by Florentine Vermeiren

This 200 kilometre national road runs between the towns of Maroantsetra and Soanierana-Ivongo on Madagascar's east coast, with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean, pristine coastline, and palm tree forests along the route. However, with sections of sand and rock, as well as a number of derelict bridges, the road is possibly one of the worst in the world, taking up to 24 hours to drive due to its horrendous condition.

Trollstigen, Norway

trollstigen, norway
© photo by Chell Hill

Trollstigen, meaning “Troll’s Ladder”, is a narrow mountain pass in Rauma, Norway, with a steep gradient and 11 hairpin bends. Part of the Norwegian National Road 63, the 106 kilometre long Trollstigen is a popular tourist attraction for its dramatic views and beautiful waterfall. For safety reasons, the road is closed to the public during the rainy season from October to mid-May each year.

Guoliang Tunnel Road, China

Guoliang Tunnel Road, China
© photo by Chell Hill

Guoliang, a village in the Taihang Mountains, was isolated from the rest of the world until 1972 – only accessible via steps carved into the mountainside. Between 1972 and 1977, villagers dug a tunnel through the mountain, using only their hands and a limited supply of tools. Today, the tunnel road, which is 1 200 metres long, 5 metres tall and 4 metres wide, is a popular tourist attraction in spite of the fact that it was constructed without the assistance of engineers.

Sani Pass, South Africa and Lesotho

sani pass, Lesotho
© photo by Armada 44

This gravel mountain pass runs from the Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal to Mokhotlong in Lesotho, and requires a four-wheel-drive to navigate its rough surface and steep inclines. The pass climbs from an altitude of 1 544 metres to 2 876 metres, over a stretch of just 9 kilometres. Bad weather conditions, including snow and ice in winter, make this road even more treacherous – although the views are incredible.

Sidu River Bridge, China

sidu river bridge, china
© photo by Highest Bridges

This 1 222 metre long suspension bridge, located at the border of Yichang and En’shi in China's Hubei province, passes over the Sidu River. The bridge is currently the highest in the world, hanging 488 metres above the valley floor. Construction took 20 years, from 1989 to 2009, and required a rocket to install the pilot cable across the valley.

Kolyma Highway, Russia

kolyma

This Russian Federal Highway connects Magadan and Yakutsk – passing through forests, mountains and deserts. The road, which is largely unpaved, is the only road in the area. The highway is particularly dangerous during the ten-month-long winter, when heavy snow and ice reduce visibility and reduce traction on the road's surface. Summer rains are also a problem, as the clay road becomes muddy, making it hazardous to drive.

Van Zyl's Pass, Namibia

van zyl pass
© photo by MSA in South Africa with Sonja Blog

This steep pass, leading from the Kaokoveld plateaus to Marienflüss in the Otjinjange Valley, is the most infamous pass in Namibia, and one of the toughest to drive on the African continent. The road – or rather, dirt track – is only navigable with a 4x4, and can only be driven in a downwards direction, from east to west, as the route is too unsafe to ascend.

Ejima Bridge, Japan

elijima Bridge
© photo by Florentine Vermeiren

Designed to accommodate the passage of large ships on Lake Nakaumi, this bridge in Matsue, Japan, is ridiculously steep. Not surprisingly, the 1,44 kilometre long and 44 metre high bridge resembles a rollercoaster, and is widely considered one of the scariest in the world. The bridge also holds the title of the longest bridge in Japan, and third longest in the world.

At KH Plant, our rebuilt Caterpillar 140G, 140H and 140K motor graders are ideal for building and maintaining roads, and they're available for a fraction of the cost of new machines.

Contact us for more information.