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E-Road Network over 1990 borders

The international E-road network is a numbering system for roads in Europe developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The network is numbered from E 1 up and its roads cross national borders. It also reaches Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan, since they are members of the UNECE.

In most countries, roads carry the European route designation beside national road numbers. Other countries like Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have roads with exclusive European route signage (Examples: E18 and E6). British road signage legislation[1] does not make provision to signpost E-route numbers while Ireland has started to place E-route numbers on recent road schemes (2007).[citation needed]

Other continents have similar international road networks: e.g. the Pan-American Highway in the Americas, the Trans-African Highway Network, and the Asian Highway Network.

Contents

History

UNECE was formed in 1947, and their first major act to improve transportation was a joint UN declaration no. 1264, the Declaration on the Construction of Main International Traffic Arteries[2], signed in Geneva on September 16, 1950, which defined the first E-road network. This declaration was amended several times before November 15, 1975, when it was replaced by the European Agreement on Main International Traffic Arteries or "AGR"[3], which set up a route numbering system and improved standards for roads in the list. The AGR last went through a major change in 1992, but there were several minor revisions since, last in 2008 (as of 2009).

Numbering system

European Route Sign. This sign is used on the E 40.
Intersection of E 42 and E 451 from over Frankfurt International Airport

The route numbering system is currently as follows:[3]

  1. Reference roads and intermediate roads, called Class-A roads, have two-digit numbers. Branch, link and connecting roads, called Class-B roads, have three-digit numbers.
  2. In general:
    • North-south reference roads have two-digit numbers terminating in the figure 5 and increasing from west to east.
    • East-west reference roads have two-digit numbers terminating in the figure 0 and increasing from north to south.
    • Intermediate roads have two-digit odd (north-south) or two-digit even (west-east) numbers between the numbers of the reference roads between which they are located.
    • Class-B roads have three-digit numbers, the first digit being that of the nearest reference road to the north, the second digit being that of the nearest reference road to the west, and the third digit being a serial number.
  3. North-south Class-A roads located eastwards of road E 99 have three-digit odd numbers from 101 to 129. Other rules mentioned in paragraph 2 above apply to these roads.
  4. Class-B roads located eastwards of E 101 have 3-digit numbers beginning with 0, from 001 to 099.
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Exceptions

In the first established and approved version, the road numbers were well ordered. Since then a number of exceptions to this principle have been allowed.

Two Class-A roads, namely E 47 and E 55, have been allowed to retain their pre-1992 numbers, E 6 and E 4 respectively, within Sweden and Norway. These exceptions were granted because of the excessive expense connected with re-signing not only the long routes themselves, but also the associated road network in the area, since Sweden and Norway have integrated the E-roads into their national networks and they are signposted as any other national route. These roads maintain their new numbers from Denmark and southward, though, as are other European routes within Scandinavia.

Further exceptions are E 67, going from Estonia to Poland (wrong side of E 75 and E 77), assigned around year 2000, simply because it was best available number for this new route, most of E 63 in Finland (wrong side of E 75) E 8 in Finland (partly on the wrong side of E 12 after a lengthening around 2002) and E 82 (Spain and Portugal, wrong side of E 80). These irregularities exist just because it is hard to maintain good order when extending the network, and the UNECE does not want to change road numbers unnecessarily.

Because Albania refused to participate in international treaties such as the AGR for a long time (see History of Communist Albania), it was conspicuously excluded from the route scheme, with E65 and E90 making noticeable detours to go around it. In the 1990s Albania opened up to the rest of Europe, but only ratified the AGR in August 2006, so its integration into the E-road network remains weak.

Signage

E30

The European routes are signposted with the green number sign at right.

The E201 in Ireland.

There are different strategies for determining how frequently to signpost the roads.

  • Sweden, Norway and Denmark have integrated the E-road numbers into their networks, meaning that the roads usually have no other national number.
  • In Belgium, E-numbers are associated with motorways: for those, only the E-number is signposted, while for non-motorways only the national number (if any) is shown. Serbia has a similar principle.
  • In most of the countries the E-roads form a network on top of the national network. The green signs are frequent enough to show how to follow the roads, but do not usually show how to reach them.
  • In some countries, like Croatia, E-roads are well signposted, but they sometimes follow the old state routes instead of highways. State highways are signposted best.
  • In some countries, like Germany and Italy, E-roads are poorly signposted, making it difficult to follow them. Drivers have to use the national network.
  • In Ireland, they also are poorly signposted. In July 2007, the N11 bypass in Gorey, Republic of Ireland, opened with very small E 01 markers added to route confirmation signs, the first road with E-road markers in Ireland. Since then, new sections of the M8 motorway have opened with larger E 201 markers. A resigning of the M1 Motorway took place in July 2008 - here too, E 01 markers have been included. A new version of the Traffic Signs Manual 1996 may confirm this new policy but has yet to be published.
  • In a few countries, such as the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan, the E-roads are not signposted at all.

Road Design Standards

The following design standards should be applied to Euroroutes unless there are exceptional circumstances (such as mountain passes etc):[3]

  • Built-up areas shall be by-passed if they constitute a hindrance or a danger.
  • The roads should preferably be motorways or express roads (unless traffic density is low so that there is no congestion on an ordinary road).
  • They should be homogeneous and be designed for at least 80 km/h (very exceptionally 60 km/h). Motorways for at least 100 km/h.
  • Gradients should not exceed 8% on roads designed for 60 km/h, decreasing to 4% on roads designed for 120 km/h traffic.
  • The radius of curved sections of road should not exceed 120 m on roads designed for 60 km/h rising to 1000 m on roads designed for 140 km/h.
  • "Stopping distance visibility" should be at least 70 m on roads designed for 60 km/h, rising to 300 m on roads designed for 140 km/h.
  • Lane width should be at least 3.5 m on straight sections of road.
  • The shoulder is recommended to be at least 2.5 m on ordinary roads and 3.25 m on motorways.
  • Central reservations should be at least 3 m unless there is a barrier between the two carriageways.
  • Overhead clearance should be not less than 4.5 m.
  • Railway intersections should be at different levels.


These requirements are meant to be followed for road construction. When new E-roads have been added these requirements have not been followed stringently. For example the E 45 in Sweden, added in 2006, has long parts with 6 m (20 ft) width or the E 22 in eastern Europe forcing drivers to slow down to 30 km/h by taking the route through villages. The E 10 in Norway has parts with 5 m (16 ft) width and in Central Asia some gravel roads have even been included.

Notes to the listings

In the road listings [3] below, a hyphen ('–') indicates a land road connection between two towns/cities—the normal case—while an ellipsis (three dots, '…') denotes a stretch across water. There are not ferry connections at all these places. Usually the international ferry connections are operated by commercial companies without support or contracts with any government to operate them. This means existing lines can be cancelled.

A Class roads

The E-road network in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan
The E-road network in Belgium
The E-road network in Bulgaria
The E-road network in Finland
The E-road network in Germany
The E-road network in Georgia
The E-road network in the Netherlands
The E-road network in Poland
The E-road network in Romania
The E-road network in Turkey
The E-road network in the United Kingdom and Ireland
The E-road network in Belarus

North-South reference

West-East reference

North-South intermediate

West-East intermediate

B Class roads

Notable E-roads

References

See also

External links


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