Cairo–Alexandria desert road

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Sunrise in Cairo Alexandria Road.

Cairo–Alexandria desert road, also known as the Cairo–Alexandria freeway[1] and the Cairo–Alexandria highway,[2] is the main highway that connects Cairo to Alexandria, the two largest cities in Egypt. It is 220 km long. The Road is dark at night – no lights – but it has a lot of traffic signs that help drivers to find their way. It begins at Giza, at the northwest corner of Cairo's ring road,[2] and ends in Alexandria (KM. 21).


  • In 1935, The English Shell Company built the road six meters wide, built with rocks and covered with bitumen, using "mix in place" method.
  • In 1959, The Egyptian government planned to cover the road with asphalt layers to enhance it.
  • In 1971, The Egyptian government extended the road to be 9 meters wide.
  • In 1981, The Egyptian government expanded the road to two directions. It was designed to sustain 1500vehicles/day.
  • In 1998, A third lane for each direction was established to increase the road capacity to sustain 13500 vehicles/day.
  • In 2003, A fourth lane for each direction was established to increase the road capacity to sustain 25200 vehicles/day.
  • In 2005, The Egyptians planned to light the road to increase the road's quality. However, it has been lit from km 29 to km 59 only.

In 2007, The Egyptian government represented by the General Authority for Roads, Bridges and Land Transport (GARBLT) planned to develop the Cairo-Alex- Marsa Matrouh desert road and turn it into a freeway in compliance with global standards. It would be a turning point in the building of roads in Egypt.

The project scope[edit]

  1. Increasing the safety degree of the road
  2. Increasing the roads' performance and the level of service to its users

Pillars of Progress[edit]

These project scope will be achieved through the following:

• Establishing new service roads besides the main road to serve the existent structures beside the road with ideal control for the roads entrances and exits.

• Cancelling all surface intersections which forms the main reason for some daily accidents building new free intersections to ensure the traffic flow

• Lighting works for the roads

• Supply the road with intelligent traffic systems, marks and signs.

• Evaluating the engineering situation for the existent road with its different intersections and detecting its traffic capacity to the targeted year 2025.

• Enhancing the roads' specifications to comply with the free way's specifications.

• Increasing the design speed to decrease the travel time

• Decreasing the environmental effects

• Developing the toll stations and building new ones

• Support enough numbers of main services like ambulance stations and vehicles, emergency call cells and rest areas.

Project Phases[edit]

GARBLT planned to develop this road in four phases respectively as shown below:

Phase The road
No. of sections Status
Approximate cost estimate (EGP) Total cost
Phase I Cairo-Alex (from 26 km- 126 km) 4 Under construction 860 million
Phase II Cairo- Alex. (from 126 km- 187 km) 2 Under construction 520 Million
Phase III A new link road 1 Proposed 370 million
Phase IV Alex.-Matrouh Road 4 Proposed 950 million
2,7 Billions

Rest house[edit]

It contains a lot of rest houses, among which are the Master rest house (Cairo–Alexandria direction) and Omar Oasis rest house (Alexandria–Cairo direction).

Cairo–Alexandria agricultural road[edit]

An alternative route is the Cairo–Alexandria agricultural road through Tanta; it is sometimes called the Tanta–Alexandria road.


  1. ^ Daily News Egypt
  2. ^ a b United Nations Human Settlements Programme (2009). The State of African Cities 2008: A Framework for Addressing Urban Challenges in Africa. UN-HABITAT. p. 66. ISBN 978-92-1-132015-2. 

Coordinates: 30°14′55″N 30°40′41″E / 30.24861°N 30.67806°E / 30.24861; 30.67806