Two-lane expressway

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The Plimoth Patuxet 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 freeway". This is much rarer; a current example is U.S. Route 101 in California through Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

In Europe, the concept of express road encompasses roads which are classified between a motorway and an ordinary road. This concept is recognized both by European Union law and under the 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. Some European union regulation considers the high-quality roads to be 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.

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





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.
  • In Romania the total width of an expressway is 21.5 m, while the width of a highway is 26 m. As a result, each lane of an expressway are 0.25 meters narrower and there are no emergency lanes. The maximum speed is 10 km/h lower than that of a highway, 120 km/h instead of 130 km/h.


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

  • 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

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

United Kingdom

  • 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.
  • Part of the A601(M) in Lancashire was a two-lane motorway between its junction with the M6 and terminus at the B6254. This section was downgraded to a B road in 2020.[6]
  • The Runcorn Spur Road in Runcorn is a two-lane expressway with grade separations and at-grade intersections (partially motorway-like).

United States


A portion of State Route 80 in the vicinity of Bisbee is a two-lane expressway with an interchange at West Boulevard and Tombstone Canyon Road (Historic US 80).[7]



  • 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 freeway. It was originally planned to be a four-lane freeway across northern Connecticut.
  • Route 2A from the eastbound on-ramp from Mohegan Boulevard to Route 12 (0.8 miles or 1.3 kilometers).




  • 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.[12]



  • 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.
  • M-231 is a two-lane freeway built as a “U.S. 31 emergency Route” between Interstate 96 and M-104 to M-45 with one at grade intersection at Lincoln St near Robinson. Future plans call for southward extensions and widening of M-231



  • U.S. Route 54 bypasses Mexico, 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. Another two-lane freeway section is a north bypass of Bowling Green with a grade separated crossing at Business US Route 61 and a diamond interchange at U.S. Route 61 (intersections are on 54) that has grading for a full cloverleaf interchange.
  • U.S. Route 65 in Warsaw, is a two-lane expressway from Route MM to just north of Main Street. The portion from north of Main Street to North Dam Access Road become a four-lane expressway in 2012.


New Hampshire

New Jersey

  • 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

  • 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 85 near Albany contains a section of approximately two miles (3.2 km) of two-lane freeway 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 freeway 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


US 33 in southeast Ohio



  • U.S. Route 97 is a 2 and 3 lane undivided freeway bypass of Wasco. Also parts of the Klamath Falls bypass are 2 lane undivided freeway.
  • U.S. Route 101, from the southern edge of Cannon Beach north to the interchange with U.S. Route 26 south of Seaside.
  • Oregon Route 22 is a four-lane divided freeway from Salem east to just north of Aumsville. It becomes a true freeway for about five miles (8.0 km) through Stayton/Sublimity, then is a two-lane freeway for about another mile east. (The freeway section between Aumsville and Stayton used to be a two-lane freeway.)


Rhode Island






  • U.S. Route 2 between Bickford Road and 92nd St S.E. around Snohomish.
  • U.S. Route 101 from the interchange with State Route 3 to the northern city limits of Shelton (half-freeway with two-way traffic on northbound side and no plans for the southbound half being constructed) and a section between Sequim and Port Angeles (half-freeway with two-way traffic on the eastbound side, with some intersection segments upgraded to full freeway and plans for further improvements).
  • U.S. Route 195 has two lane expressway segments between Spangle and Plaza, and on the Thornton bypass. The Plaza bypass is a two lane freeway.
  • Washington State Route 9 has a two lane expressway from Marsh Road in Snohomish to Arlington with the exception of a 2 mile 4 lane divided section through Lake Stevens with plans for more 4 laning between Snohomish and Lake Stevens.
  • State Route 522 after the at-grade intersection with State Route 524 to the Snohomish River near Monroe.

West Virginia


  • US 14, south of the interchange with County Trunk Highway MM at Oregon, to Wisconsin Highway 138 (WIS 138). This section was expanded to four lanes during the middle of 2009.
  • A segment of WSI 26 bypassing Fort Atkinson was built as a two-lane limited access freeway. This section was expanded to four lanes during the middle of 2011.[18][19]
  • US 45, from its split from US 41 (now I-41) north of Milwaukee to a point just north of West Bend, Wisconsin, was built as a two-lane freeway, then expanded to four lanes in 1990.[20]
  • The US 151 bypasses of Beaver Dam and Waupun were originally built as Super 2s during the 1970s to accommodate future expansion; these have since been upgraded as part of the highway's ongoing conversion to a four-lane facility through the entire state.
  • Portions of I-39/US 51, first near Westfield and later near Tomahawk, were built as a two-lane freeways; these were expanded in the late 1980s and 1990s respectively. While I-39 ends in Wausau, a portion of US 51 north of Tomahawk remains a Super 2, with a stub allowing for future expansion to four lanes north of the US 8 interchange.[21]
  • WIS 35/WIS 65 on the River Falls Bypass from WIS 29 to when the four-lane starts.


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

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

The section between Cam Lo and Hoa Lien of the North-South expressway is two-laned.

See also


  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. ^ "The Lancashire County Council (A601(M) Partial Revocation) Scheme 2019 Confirmation Instrument 2020". Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  7. ^ Google (August 2022). "Eastbound Arizona SR 80 approaching West Boulevard". Google Street View. Google. Retrieved February 22, 2023. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  8. ^ "California @ AARoads - California 255". Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  9. ^ Challenger Tom (July 5, 2020). "California State Route 255 and the Super-Two Freeway on the Samoa Bridge". Gribblenation. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  10. ^ Google. "Southern terminus of SR 407" (Map). Google Maps. Google.
  11. ^ Google. "At-grade intersection with SR 407" (Map). Google Maps. Google.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Louisiana Hometown (12 December 2011). "LA 1 Expressway Ribbon-Cutting" (Video). Louisiana Hometown. Retrieved 17 December 2015 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ kwlsu225 (29 April 2012). "Hwy1 South.wmv" (Video). kwlsu225. Retrieved 17 December 2015 – via YouTube.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ Harlow, Tim (June 3, 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 September 11, 2016.
  16. ^ "Regular City Council Meeting - Jan 9th, 2018". Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  17. ^ "CIRC Alternatives Task Force". Chittenden County RPC. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  18. ^ Bessert, Christopher J. "Highways 20–29". Wisconsin Highways. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ Bessert, Christopher J. "Highways 40–49". Wisconsin Highways.
  21. ^ Google (August 2018). "Korean War Veterans Mem Hwy, Tomahawk, Wisconsin". Google Street View. Retrieved 2022-06-24. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)