Shortest Road

The world’s shortest road is Ebenezer Place, Wick in Caithness, Scotland. It is 6 ft 9 inches (2.06 meters) long. It was built in 1883. The second shortest is Elgin Street at Bacup, Lancashire in the United Kingdom. It is 17 ft long.

Definition and Overview

Basically, a road is a way between two locations. It is distinguished from rough terrain because it has been modified. The improvement makes it easier for people, animals, carts and motorized vehicles to cross it. Modern streets are paved or cemented. In ancient times, these routes were not always cemented.

These are usually comprised of one or more roadways. It will have at least one lane and increasingly, sidewalks. Tree lawns may also be included. In the UK, roadways are known as carriageways. Sidewalks are called pavements tree lawns, verge.

Historical Background

The world’s shortest road is old, but by no means the oldest. The oldest known rough pathways date from 10,000 BC. However, some researchers argue that the earliest paths were made by animals.

Whatever the case may be, it is clear that by 4000 BC, there were stone paved streets in the Middle East. Remains of these have been found in Ur. There are also log or corduroy roads in Glastonbury, England. These also date from 4000 BC.

The Oldest Road?

Some researchers believe the timber trackway, Sweet Track causeway in England is the most ancient engineered road in the world. Using tree-ring dating techniques, it has been shown that the road dates from spring 3806 BC or winter 3807 BC.

The oldest known brick roads date from 3000 BC. It is known that by 500 BC, Darius I the Great ordered the building of an elaborate road system for the Persian kingdom.

Safety Issues

Through the years, road design has been focused on improving the safety features. This is necessary to prevent injuries, accidents and damage to property. Many features have been added to make roads safer. These include pedestrian crossings and safety barriers. There are also cycle lanes designed for protecting cyclists and pedestrians.

Risks for major roads are usually limited by imposing restrictions on access from properties. Barrels, wide grassy areas and guardrails are also installed to keep roads safe.

The world’s shortest road and others like it need to be maintained. Unless this is done, the structure will deteriorate. The main causes of deterioration are extensive vehicle use and the environment. Oxidation, thermal cracking and frost heaves can cause damage.

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