Transport in Yemen - Roads

Roads

Considering Yemen's size, its road transportation system is extremely limited. Yemen has 71,300 kilometers of roads, only 6,200 kilometers of which are paved. In the north, roads connecting Sanaa, Taizz, and Al Hudaydah are in good condition, as is the intercity bus system. In the south, on the other hand, roads are in need of repair, except for the Aden–Taizz road.

In November 2005, the World Bank approved a US$40 million project to upgrade 200 kilometers of intermediate rural roads and 75 kilometers of village-access roads as part of a larger effort to strengthen Yemen’s rural-road planning and engineering capabilities. Plans are underway to build an estimated US$1.6 billion highway linking Aden (in the south) and Amran (in the north). The road will include more than 10 tunnels and halve the travel time between the southern coast and the northern border with Saudi Arabia.

Travel by road in Yemen is often unsafe. Within cities, minivans and small buses ply somewhat regular routes, picking up and dropping off passengers with little regard for other vehicles. Taxis and public transportation are available but often lack safety precautions. Despite the presence of traffic lights and traffic policemen, the U.S. Embassy advises drivers to exercise extreme caution, especially at intersections.

While traffic laws do exist, they are not always enforced. Drivers sometimes drive on the left side of the road, although right-hand driving is specified by Yemeni law. No laws mandate the use of seat belts or car seats for children. The maximum speed for private cars is 100 kilometers per hour (62.5 miles per hour), but speed limits are rarely enforced. Furthermore, there are many underage drivers in Yemen. A large number of underage drivers are on the roads. Many vehicles are in poor repair and lack basic parts such as functional turn signals, headlights, and taillights. Pedestrians, especially children, and animals are a hazard in both rural and urban areas. Beyond main intercity roads, which are usually paved, the rural roads generally necessitate four-wheel-drive vehicles or vehicles with high clearance.

The British government has a clear warning for their military and civilian employees, or British tourists, about using the roads in Yemen: “In the event of a breakdown of law and order access routes in and out of major cities may be blocked. If you wish to drive outside Sana’a you will need prior permission from the Yemen Tourist Police. Travel permits may take at least 24 hours to be issued and are easiest to obtain through a travel agent. Travel without such permission is likely to result in detention and possible deportation. You should be aware that the consular assistance we can offer outside Sana’a is limited due to restrictions on travel. There have been disturbances in Aden, Lahij and al-Dhali’, which have resulted in closures of the Aden-Sana’a road. These have been short-lived but if you intend to travel by road you should check that the road is open before starting your journey. You can drive in Yemen on an International Driving Permit. Driving standards are poor and mountain roads hazardous. You should avoid all road travel outside the main cities at night. Care should also be taken to avoid minefields left over from Yemen’s civil wars. Travelling off well-used tracks without an experienced guide could be extremely hazardous, particularly in parts of the south and the central highlands.”

Read more about this topic:  Transport In Yemen

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