Two-lane expressway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Plimoth Plantation Highway in Massachusetts is a two-lane expressway.

A two-lane expressway or two-lane freeway is an expressway or freeway with only one lane in each direction, and usually no median barrier. It may be built that way because of constraints, or may be intended for expansion once traffic volumes rise. The term super two is often used by roadgeeks for this type of road, but traffic engineers use that term for a high-quality surface road. Most of these roads are not tolled.

A somewhat related concept is a "four-lane undivided expressway". This is much rarer; a former example is some sections of U.S. Route 101 in northern California.

In Europe, the concept of express road, is related to road which are classed between a motorway and an ordinary road. This concept is recognized both by European union law and by UNECE treaty. This type of road is not very standardized, and its geometry may vary from country to country or within a same country. These roads are usually, but not always, reserved for motorized vehicles, and accessible with limited-access roads (see Voie rapide). Some European union regulation considers the high-quality roads are roads "which play an important role in long-distance freight and passenger traffic, integrate the main urban and economic centres, interconnect with other transport modes and link mountainous, remote, landlocked and peripheral NUTS 2 regions to central regions of the Union». According to this same regulation «High-quality roads shall be specially designed and built for motor traffic, and shall be either motorways, express roads or conventional strategic roads."


Two-lane freeways are usually built as a temporary solution due to lack of funds, as an environmental compromise or as a way to overcome problems constrained from highway reconstruction when there are four lanes or more. If the road is widened, the existing road is typically allocated to traffic going in one direction, and the lanes for the other direction are built as a whole new roadbed adjacent to the existing one. When upgraded in this manner, the road becomes a typical freeway. Many two-lane freeways are built so that when the road is upgraded to a proper divided freeway, the existing overpasses and ramps do not need reconstruction.[citation needed]

A super-2 expressway is a high-speed surface road with at-grade intersections, depending on the common usage of the term expressway in the area. By this definition, Super-2s can be considered the first stage of project which is expected to become a full freeway, with the transportation authority owning the land necessary for the future adjacent carriageway. At-grade intersections exist but there is sufficient land to replace them with interchanges. In some US states, a super-2 expressway is simply referred to as a super-2, regardless of whether it is fully controlled-access or not. Highway 410 in Ontario was originally a super-2 before being upgraded to a full freeway. Similarly, most of Highway 102 in Nova Scotia was a super-2 for three decades before being upgraded. Many super-2 expressways are simply just short transitional segments between surface street and four-lane divided freeways.

A super-4 expressway is a multi-lane divided highway with at-grade intersections, although the highway will become a full controlled-access freeway if the intersections are replaced with interchanges. A super-4 may have been a super-2 that has been twinned, although such instances of super-4 intermediaries are rare as super-2s are often upgraded right away to full freeways. Highway 40 in Ontario is a super-4 expressway between Highway 402 and Wellington St., and from Indian Rd to Rokeby Line. The remaining sections of Highway 40 are super-2 expressways. Other super-4 expressways include the Hanlon Parkway in Guelph and Black Creek Drive in Toronto, both which have sufficient right of way to allow for interchanges and overpasses to replace the at-grade crossings.

When a super-2 expressway is converted to a four-lane divided freeway, conversion artifacts such as double yellow lines, or broken yellow lines in passing zones are usually cleanly bestowed in favor of more consistent road marking for four-lane divided expressways.

List of two-lane freeways[edit]





Finnish national road 6 is a two-lane expressway at Kouvola, Finland.
  • In a few European countries (like Germany and Switzerland), many rural highways have been converted into two-lane freeways. However, most of these have been built with low overpasses wide enough to accommodate only two-lanes, which indicates that there is no intent to widen them into freeways in the foreseeable future. In German this type of road is called an Autostrasse.
  • In Germany rural segments of the A 8 in the Saarland (between Saarlouis and the Luxembourg border), the A 60 from the exit for Prüm to the Belgian border, and the A 62 between the A 6 and the A 8, are two lanes (or, in the former two cases, 2 + 1 with an extra climbing lane). Unlike the Autostrassen previously mentioned, these segments are built to Autobahn standards but with only one carriageway; all of the overpasses, culverts and short bridges, cuttings and earthworks are wide enough for twin carriageways, and only some long bridges would need to be dualized for upgrading to a full 4- or 5-lane Autobahn.
  • In Croatia, the Istrian Y highway complex used to consist out of two-lane freeways, which were due to be upgraded to four-lane ones, should the traffic increase. The complex is classified as consisting of expressways and as such has a general speed limit of 110 km/h (68 mph), although a limit of 100 km/h (62 mph) tends to be more prevalent there. However, as the traffic increases came sooner than it was predicted, the status of Istrian Y was changed to semi-highway, as a widening to four or six lanes is already in progress.
  • Highway 19 in the Czech Republic is a two-lane expressway between Highway 3 and Zahradka.
  • Some of the motorways in former German areas in Poland were originally two-lane expressways when built in the 1930s. Currently the road from Elbląg to Kaliningrad in Russia is still two-lane and in Poland is signed as expressway S22.
  • In Sweden and Norway, a large amount of two-lane expressways were built in the period 1960-1990 (Sweden) and 1970-2000 (Norway). In addition, some have been built in Denmark. Only a few such roads have been built recently because there were many serious accidents. Many have been widened to four-lane expressways. Those remaining have, in Sweden, been converted to 2+1 roads with a barrier between the directions. In Norway and many other European countries the two-lane expressways are too narrow to convert to 2+1-road if they are not widened.
  • In Spain, there were few two-lane expressways until the 1980s, when many started being built to provide a faster and safer alternative to old rural roads that cross towns and have long and dangerous tracings around mountains and other obstacles. Although there are less accidents on this type of road than in normal roads, those that happen are usually more serious, due to the high speeds they allow (100 km/h, but up to 120 km/h to pass). Some blamed the name "expressway" as being an "apology of speed", so after 2003 it was changed for "automobile way" in most of the country ("high performance way" in some regions). Since the 1990s, many have been widened to four-lane or six-lane expressways, but still few have been converted to 2+1 roads. In 2019, their general speed limit was lowered to 90 km/h.


  • The part of Semarang Toll Road, the Jatingaleh-Krapyak section, was a two-lane expressway. That section has since been upgraded into four-lane expressway.
  • The part of Belmera Toll Road from Amplas Interchange to southern terminus was a two-lane expressway. That section has since been upgraded into four-lane expressway.


Two-lane expressway in Obihiro, Hokkaido, Japan

While most expressways in Japan are four-lane divided expressways with median barriers, some expressways in rural areas are two-lane expressways, such as some sections of the Hokkaidō Expressway. The two-lane expressways in Japan are built in the same manner as the ordinary four-lane expressways with grade-separated interchanges and full access control, allowing future conversions to full four-lane divided expressways.[3]


The two-lane expressway section of the South Klang Valley Expressway E26 in Malaysia
The Sungai Johor Bridge and two-lane expressway as be seen from the westbound of Senai–Desaru Expressway in May 2016

The two-lane expressway is not a new concept in Malaysia, as the Kuala Lumpur–Karak Expressway was initially a two-lane toll expressway before being upgraded to a full expressway in 1997.[4] While the full four-lane divided toll expressways are more favored in recent years due to their higher traffic capacity, a few two-lane expressways do exist, such as the Kempas Highway and the North Klang Straits Bypass. These expressways, however, only have partial access control with at-grade intersections commonly available like most other federal and state roads. Nevertheless, these two-lane highways are still classified as "two-lane expressways" as they are maintained by highway concessionaires, namely PLUS Expressways Berhad (Kempas Highway) and Shapadu (North Klang Straits Bypass). Meanwhile, the South Klang Valley Expressway at Teluk Panglima Garang is a two-lane carriageway making it the first true two-lane expressway in Klang Valley and the second in Malaysia.

The first true two-lane expressway with full access control is the section of the Senai–Desaru Expressway between Cahaya Baru and Penawar.[5]


  • A new Super-2 bypass of Mexicali (MEX-2D) was completed in summer 2006. It features 1 lane in each direction and is a toll road. Three interchanges exist—one at each end, and one in the middle, providing access to MEX-5 (north to downtown Mexicali and south to San Felipe). The road has complete control of access. According to a toll collector, this Super-2 is scheduled for an upgrade to a full toll freeway (four lanes, two in each direction) by sometime in 2008. Eventually, this freeway may be constructed all the way to San Luis Río Colorado, replacing the existing four lane undivided highway, MEX-2.
  • A Super-2 toll road, MEX-150D and MEX-190D (MEX-150D travels to Veracruz), connects Mexico City and Oaxaca.
  • A Super-2 bypass of Poza Rica, Veracruz, was finished in 2005. This two-lane toll highway connects MEX 131 north of Poza Rica to MEX 180 east of Papantla.
  • A Super-2 toll road (MEX-15D) connects most of the distance between Mazatlán and Tepic.

New Zealand[edit]

  • The Wellington Urban Motorway is three lanes undivided (two northbound, one southbound) through the Terrace Motorway Tunnel. A separate southbound tunnel was never built.
  • Christchurch
    • The Christchurch Northern Motorway is two lanes undivided between its northern terminus at Pineacres and the Lineside Road interchange. This reduces the number of lanes prior to the northern terminus, where the motorway merges onto a two-laned road.
    • In the southwestern part of the city prior to 2012 was the two-laned Christchurch Southern Motorway, between Barrington Street and Curletts Road. The road has since been duplicated to four lanes divided as part of the motorway's extension from Curletts Road to Halswell Junction Road.


The Subic Freeport Expressway before its expansion in 2020.

South Africa[edit]

Some sections of two-lane freeway can be found on the N1 and the N2 highways.

South Korea[edit]

88 Olympic Expressway (Korea)

753 of 1,225 kilometers were two-lane expressway in 1978. After 1992, South Korean Government planned to widen all two-lane expressways into four-lane. All expressways except 88 Olympic Expressway (Route 12) has been widened before 2004. 88 Olympic Expressway was the last two-lane limited access tollway of South Korea, for 144 of its 183 kilometers, between exits 14 (Damyang) and 26 (East Goryeong). Although a service rating of two-lane section was poor, still they were fully integrated into South Korea's ticketed tollway system. No two-lane expressway has been in South Korea after 22 December 2015, since all expressways are widened to four-lane.

United Kingdom[edit]

  • The former A6144(M) in Manchester had one lane in each direction, although to Motorway standards. It has now been downgraded to an A road.
  • The A601(M) road in Lancashire is a two-lane motorway between its junction with the M6 and terminus at the B6254.
  • The Runcorn Spur Road in Runcorn is a two-lane expressway with grade separations and at-grade intersections (partially motorway-like).

United States[edit]




  • A one-mile (1.6 km) portion of the Milford Connector from the Wilbur Cross Parkway to Wheelers Farms Road in Milford. This divided two-lane extension of the original connector opened in 1993.
  • Route 190 between Route 159 in Suffield and the Pearl Street underpass in Enfield is a two-lane undivided freeway. It was originally planned to be a four-lane expressway across northern Connecticut.
  • Route 2A from the eastbound on-ramp from Mohegan Boulevard to Route 12 (0.8 miles or 1.3 kilometres).




  • The Hal Rogers Parkway (formerly Daniel Boone Parkway), connecting Hazard and London, is a two-lane freeway for virtually its entire length (approximately 65 miles (105 km)), with occasional truck lanes on hills. The only four-lane section is the northern bypass of London at the road's western end. Originally, the road was tolled from the eastern end of the London bypass to Hazard. Upgrading to four lanes had been considered in the early 21st century as part of a possible extension to Interstate 66, but I-66 was officially killed in 2015.
  • The Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway, another road that was originally a toll road but has since ceased toll collection, is a two-lane freeway from exit 46 at Campton to the road's eastern terminus in Salyersville. In 2014, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced a proposal to upgrade the two-lane section to four lanes, and extend the parkway a further 16 miles (26 km) to Prestonsburg.[8]



  • Interstate 95 north of Bangor was originally constructed as a two-lane freeway. In 1981 the present divided highway was completed between Bangor and Houlton at the Canadian border.




  • A rare instance of a two-lane freeway that was restricted to only one direction of traffic existed in Michigan at one time, of which U.S. Highway 16 was restricted to eastbound traffic when bypassing Farmington, Michigan. This rare instance permitted passing traffic without the liability of a head-on collision, though this changed when it was upgraded to a four-lane divided freeway which became I-96, and later M-102, then M-5.



  • U.S. Route 54 bypasses Mexico, Missouri, on a two-lane expressway around the city. The two-lane expressway both begins and ends at the original route through Mexico, now signed as Business Loop 54. The divided highway begins just east of the West Mexico Interchange, while the east end is only a set of ramps to eventually be connected to the planned expressway.

New Hampshire[edit]

New Jersey[edit]

  • The Freehold Bypass of Route 33 is a two-lane freeway between Halls Mill Road (County Route 55) and Brickyard Road. There is a full cloverleaf at Halls Mill, a westbound entrance at Howell Road, and full access from Fairfield Road.

New York[edit]

  • An example of a two-lane parkway is Bethpage State Parkway on Long Island. This was constructed by Robert Moses as a two-lane freeway in part due to aesthetics. Like most parkways (especially those created by Moses), the road was originally meant to deliver a pleasurable motoring experience, and as such incorporates natural scenery, as well as pedestrian and bicycle trails for those who choose not to drive.
  • New York State Route 104 has two-lane freeway sections between Rochester and Oswego. It was originally intended to become a freeway, but only one set of lanes were built.
  • New York State Route 85 near Albany contains a section of approximately two miles (3.2 km) of two-lane expressway extending from the Albany city line to the roundabout at Blessing Road. This section, colloquially known as the Slingerlands Bypass, was originally constructed as two lanes of a four-lane expressway when it was designed in the 1940s and 1950s. However, the remaining two lanes were never completed. In the future, the unused portions of adjacent land could easily be used to construct the two lanes originally planned, with minimal effort, if necessary. This is due to the fact that most of the grading and drainage is already present from the original construction work.
  • New York State Route 5S has a two-lane freeway section between Ilion and its junction with New York State Route 28. The highway is a divided four-lane freeway west of this, extending to Utica.

North Carolina[edit]


US 33 in southeast Ohio




  • U.S. Route 220, south of the Bedford Fairgrounds interchange to the intersection with Business Route 220.

Rhode Island[edit]






West Virginia[edit]

  • The West Virginia Turnpike was a two-lane freeway from its opening in 1954 until it was expanded to four lanes in 1986.



The section from Yen Bai City to Lao Cai City of the Hanoi-Lao Cai Expressway is two-laned.

Two-lane expressway in Vietnam: Hanoi-Lao Cai Expressway (from Yen Bai City to Lao Cai City)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Kingston Bypass". Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources. 2011. Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Channel Highway, Kingston Bypass" (PDF). Government of Tasmania. 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  3. ^ "NEXCO-Central Business Outline" (PDF). Retrieved 13 April 2008.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Lebuh raya dua lorong Cahaya Baru-Penawar ikut piawai LLM" (in Malay). Berita Harian. 27 June 2011.
  5. ^ "Reviu eksklusif Lebuhraya Senai-Desaru E22" (in Malay). Blog Jalan Raya Malaysia. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  6. ^ Google. "Southern terminus of SR 407" (Map). Google Maps. Google.
  7. ^ Google. "At-grade intersection with SR 407" (Map). Google Maps. Google.
  8. ^ Hesterberg, Tanner (16 January 2014). "Gov. Beshear releases plan for extending, four-laning Mountain Parkway". Hazard, KY: WYMT-TV. Archived from the original on 6 January 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  9. ^ Louisiana Hometown (12 December 2011). "LA 1 Expressway Ribbon-Cutting" (Video). Louisiana Hometown. Retrieved 17 December 2015 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ kwlsu225 (29 April 2012). "Hwy1 South.wmv" (Video). kwlsu225. Retrieved 17 December 2015 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ Harlow, Tim (3 June 2016). "Hwy. 12 in Western Hennepin County—the 'Corridor of Death'—to Get Center Divider: MnDOT Will Build the Concrete Median on a Deadly Stretch of Hwy. 12". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Regular City Council Meeting - Jan 9th, 2018". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  13. ^ "CIRC Alternatives Task Force". Chittenden County RPC. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  14. ^ Bessert, Christopher J. "Highways 20–29". Wisconsin Highways. Retrieved 10 October 2010.[self-published source]
  15. ^ "Segment 4, Fort Atkinson bypass". WIS 26 corridor: Expansion project. Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  16. ^ Bessert, Christopher J. "Highways 40–49". Wisconsin Highways.[self-published source]