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BR230, the report from ""

Rodovia Transamazônica (BR-230)

The Rodovia Transamazônica (officially called BR-230) is a paved and unpaved road in Brazil, running from the city of Joao Pessoa (in the Brazilian coast) to the village of Lábrea, in the depths of the huge state of Amazonas, over four thousand kilometers of asphalt, mud and jungle.

Designed in the seventies as a fully paved road, the huge construction costs and the remoteness of their path led to abandon the original idea and build the BR-230 (its official name) as a dirt road in almost all its extension. Construction of the highway was very challenging because of the remoteness of the site. Workers building the road were frequently isolated and without communication. Access to the construction sites was mostly accomplished by small airplanes using temporary airstrips and boats. Today construction vehicles can be seen traversing the road east and west bringing dirt and gravel to prepare for paving operations. Subsequently much of it has been paved, and there are stretches of hundreds of miles in the process of conversion on-road. Some of the states that runs (Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins) are among the least densely populated in Brazil, so strips of road are hundreds of miles with little villages and infrastructure, just jungle.The highway was intended to integrate some regions of Brazil with the rest of the country, and with Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. It was originally planned to be a fully paved highway 5200 kilometers long. However, these plans were modified following its inauguration.

The final part of the track (almost 1.000 kilometers) remains completely unpaved, making it difficult or even impossible for the flow in the rainy season (October to March) and the road makes a circuit of resistance bumpy , pits and holes capable of dismantling any vehicle dampers. The road will be completed with a final leg up to nearly a thousand kilometers to the town of Benjamin Constant, on the border with Peru. The unpaved sections of the road can be impassable when wet. The road was inaugurated on September 27, 1972 and it’s the third longest highway in Brazil. Portions of the road, which runs through the Brazilian states of Paraíba, Ceará, Piaui, Maranhão, Tocantins, Pará and Amazonas, may be temporarily closed due to road work or inclement weather. Heavy or prolonged rain can cause local flash floods that cover the road with water or wash out culverts or bridges.

Pic from Kieran Taylor, Unsplash

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