Argentina Road Network

By | November 2, 2022

According to wholevehicles, Argentina has one of the most developed road networks in South America. The road network covers approximately 230,000 kilometers, of which approximately 72,000 kilometers are paved. The country also has more than 1,600 kilometers of double-lane roads, of which 1,161 kilometers of fully-fledged motorway. The motorways are mostly toll roads. Most highways run from the capital Buenos Aires to other cities in the region, but a nationwide network of highways does not exist. The major cities are connected via rutas nacionales, which are mostly single lane, although some have a 2×2 autovía with U-turnsand level intersections. The Argentine autovía has lower design requirements than the Spanish autovía.

The road network is most extensive in the eastern provinces, especially in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Córdoba and Santiago del Estero. These provinces have a productive agricultural sector with large cities, small regional towns and many villages, all connected by a fairly modern road network. Most of Argentina’s highways are also located in this area. The road network is less developed in the northern Gran Chaco and east of the Paraná.

The road network is much thinner south of the Mendoza – San Luis – Bahía Blanca line. This area consists largely of ranches and further south is uncultivated rangeland with few places. There is still a network of through roads up to the río Negro, but the network of secondary roads is less extensive. South of the río Negro there are only a limited number of through roads, with long distances through desolate desert and steppe. Also in the Andes there are only a limited number of roads, for example there are only a limited number of asphalt roads between Argentina and Chile.

Also striking is the small number of bridges over the río Paraná. Between Buenos Aires and Corrientes there are only 3 bridges and one tunnel over the river. Between Santa Fe and Corrientes is a 500 kilometer section between bridge connections. There is also only one connection over the Paraná between Argentina and Paraguay, the road over the Yacyretá Dam. There is also only one bridge over the Iguazú to Brazil, but the eastern border has several border crossings. There is not a single bridge across the río Paraguay on the border with Paraguay.

History

Argentina’s great prosperity at the beginning of the 20th century already resulted in large car ownership, which was greater than in many European countries. In 1929 there were already more than 400,000 motor vehicles on the road in Argentina, more than half of all vehicles in South America at the time. Argentina’s road network was mainly developed from the 1930s onwards, in 1932 the Dirección Nacional de Vialidad was founded and took on the task of developing the Argentine road network. In 1935 the road numbering of the rutas nacionales was introduced, with a partial renumbering in 1943. In 1945 the network of rutas nacionales covered more than 60,000 kilometers, of which only 10% was asphalted. In 1945 Argentina also switched from driving on the left to driving on the right. In the second half of the 1940s, the first autopistas opened in Argentina, the Autopista Teniente General Pablo Riccheriin Buenos Aires, in 1948, the country’s first motorway was built.

Road management was reformed in 1958, when already about 15,000 kilometers of road were handed over to the provinces. The main road network started to develop in particular from 1960, the share of paved roads of the rutas nacionales increased rapidly from that moment on. By 1980, more than three quarters of the rutas nacionales had been paved. The interurban autopistas were mainly constructed during the 1970s and 1980s. The most important corridor at that time was the connection from Buenos Aires to Rosario and on to Santa Fe.

Several autopistas were built from the 1990s. Between 1993 and 1999, the RN2 between Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata was widened to 2×2 lanes over a distance of approximately 350 kilometers, but largely as an autovía with limited grade separation. The 380 km long Autopista Rosario – Córdoba was opened between 1999 and 2010. This was Argentina’s largest road project in the 2000s.

In 2015, President Macri came to power, who wanted to modernize the road network through PPP concessions. In 2018, the first 6 major concessions worth 8 billion dollars were awarded. The PPP project covered 7,500 kilometers of road that needed to be modernised. However, on December 1, 2020, it was announced that the successive government has withdrawn five of the six PPP contracts because the consortia involved were unable to achieve financial close. It involved $5.4 billion in discontinued work.

Buenos Aires

9 de Julio Avenue in Buenos Aires.

The region around Buenos Aires has by far the densest road network in Argentina. Here lies an extensive network of motorways, both urban highways that are congested with extremely high traffic intensities and through routes to cities in the region. However, a good bypass of Buenos Aires is lacking. The Buenos Aires approach roads are also the main access point to the very large suburban area. The road network of both the urban core and the suburbs is largely built in a number of grids. Motorways in Buenos Aires often have frontage roads.

Outside the suburbs of Buenos Aires, however, the area quickly becomes sparsely populated, with large farms and ranches, but few larger towns on the periphery. Most motorways therefore do not extend beyond the urban area. Most highways in Buenos Aires terminate 50 to 70 kilometers outside the city center. The only long-distance highway is the autopista from Buenos Aires to Rosario, although there is also a dual carriageway with highway characteristics from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata.

The urban highways of Buenos Aires are formed by a city ring and the major approach roads that lead to it. Within the city ring, which has a diameter of approximately 10 kilometers, there are no real highways but a large number of boulevards, the most famous of which is the 20-lane Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest urban roads in the world.

The urban ring of Buenos Aires has mostly 2×4 lanes, with some routes with 3 or 5 lanes in each direction. The approach roads that end on the city ring have 3 to 6 lanes in each direction and often have frontage roads. The western approach roads are the widest, the Autopista Acceso Norte has a maximum of 9 lanes in one direction. The large autopistas de accesos also have branches, called a ramal.

autopistas

Argentina has a relatively large network of motorways, but mainly in the Pampas in the central part of eastern Argentina. The network of autopistas is often stated to be more than 1,600 kilometers long, but some of these are autovías that are not completely grade separated. The network of fully grade-separated autopistas covered 1,161 kilometers on July 1, 2018. The longest highway route runs from Buenos Aires via Rosaria to Córdoba. In addition, this highway has a long branch from Rosario to Santa Fe. The other highways are largely located in the urban area of ​​Buenos Aires. A shorter interurban route is located between Buenos Aires and La Plata. On some maps, the road from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata is also indicated as a highway.

There are short stretches of motorway around some other towns, such as the Córdoba ring road, the Mendoza arterial roads and the Salta bypass. Many other cities also have 2×2 lane bypasses, but these are usually semi-level grade and therefore not a real motorway.

Autopistas in Argentina
Buenos Aires:Autopista Acceso Norte • Autopista Acceso Oeste • Autopista Acceso Sureste • Autopista Buenos Aires – La Plata • Autopista Buenos Aires – Mar del Plata • Autopista Ezeiza-Cañuelas • Camino Parque del Buen Ayre • Autopista 25 de Mayo • Avenida Teniente General Luis J. Dellepiane • Avenida General Paz • Avenida Intendente Cantilo • Avenida Leopoldo Lugones • Autopista Perito Moreno • Autopista Teniente General Pablo Riccheri • Autopista Presidente Perón •Autopista Presidente Arturo Frondizi • Autopista Presidente Cámpora • Paseo del Bajo

National:

Autopista Rosario – Córdoba • Autopista Rosario – Santa Fe • Autovía Santa Fe – Paraná • AP-01 • Ruta Nacional A003 • Ruta Nacional A008 • Ruta Nacional A014 • Ruta Nacional A019 • Autopista Luján – Bragado

List of autopistas in Argentina

The Autopista Acceso Norte in Buenos Aires.

Autopistas Urbanas de Buenos Aires

Name Procedure Length
Autopista Acceso Norte Buenos Aires – Campana 64 km + 25 km + 8 km
Autopista Acceso Oeste Buenos Aires – Lujan 60 km
Autopista Acceso Sureste Buenos Aires – Wilde 3 km
Autopista Buenos Aires – La Plata (RN1) Buenos Aires – La Plata 50 km
Autopista Buenos Aires – Mar del Plata (RN2) Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires 8 km
Autopista Ezeiza – Cañuelas Ezeiza – Cañuelas 42 km
Camino Parque del Buen Ayre Boulogne – Merlo 23 km
Autopista 25 de Mayo (AU1) Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires 10 km
Avenida Teniente General Luis J. Dellepiane (AU1) Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires 4 km
Avenida General Pazo Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires 24 km
Avenida Leopoldo Lugones Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires 6 km
Autopista Perito Moreno (AU6) Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires 6 km
Autopista Teniente General Pablo Riccheri (A002) Buenos Aires – Ezeiza 16 km
Autopista Presidente Peron Merlo – La Plata 94 km
Autopista Presidente Arturo Frondizi (AV1) Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires 4 km
Autopista Presidente Campora (AU7) Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires 4 km

Rural autopistas

The Autopista Rosario – Cordoba.

Name Procedure Length
Autopista Rosario – Cordoba (RN9) Rosario – Cordoba 380 km
Autopista Justiniano Posse (RN20) Cordoba – Villa Carlos Pazo 25 km
Circunvalación de Cordoba (A019) Cordoba – Cordoba 46 km
Autopista Rosario – Santa Fe (AP01) Rosario – Santa Fe 157 km
Circunvalacion de Santa Fe (A007) Santa Fe – Recreo 20 km
Circunvalacion de Rosario (A008) Rosario – Rosario 30 km
Circunvalacion de Salta Salta – Salta 23 km
Circunvalacion de San Juan (A014) San Juan – San Juan 16 km
RN7 Lujan – Carmen de Areco 66 km
RN7 Chacabuco – Junin 58 km
RN7 San Martin – Mendoza 44 km
RN8 Pavon – Pergamino 172 km
RN40 Mendoza – Ugarteche 36 km
RN66 Ciudad Perico – Jujuy 27 km

autovias

In Argentina, especially in the more densely populated regions, there are also roads with 2×2 lanes and only grade separated connections at busy intersections. These are called an autovía. An Argentine autovía does not have the same design requirements as the Spanish autovías, in connection with the presence of level intersections, in larger cities often as a roundabout or roundabout and in the countryside in the form of irregular intersections or (yard) accesses.

Road Classification

Argentina’s roads have been divided into three networks since 1958;

  • Red vial troncal: the rutas nacionales
  • Red vial secundaria: the rutas provinciales
  • Red vial terciaria: the municipal roads

Rutas Nacionales

The unpaved RN40 near Salta.

Argentina’s main road network is formed by a network of rutas nacionales, abbreviated “RN”. In 2006, there were 118 different rutas nacionales, a network spanning 38,312 kilometers. Of this, 33,235 kilometers were paved, 3,577 kilometers gravel and 1,500 kilometers sandy. The most important rutas nacionales are numbered in the series 1 to 40. The numbers 1 to 14 form important connections, the numbers 15 to 40 are numbered in a grid, with the numbers 16 to 26 east-west and 33 to 40 north-south. The numbers in the series 51 to 300 are numbered per region, increasing from north to south.

The main routes run north-south, not surprising given the shape of the country. The main north-south route is Ruta Nacional 3, from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia along the coast. Near what they say is the southernmost city in the world, the route comes to a dead end against the Beagle Channel. RN3 runs south of the city of Rio Gallegos through Chile to arrive at Tierra del Fuego.

A more infamous north-south route is RN40 – La cuaranta. This route also runs from north to south, but not along the coast, but inland, parallel to the Andes. It starts at the Bolivian border and runs south to Rio Turbio. Only then does the route move towards the coast, to Cabo Virgines near Rio Gallegos. RN40 is still largely unpaved, especially in Patagonia, and cannot be accessed without 4WD. That makes the route a goal in itself for road adventurers, partly due to the permanent view of the Andes and the many national parks along the route. Other tourists are waiting more for paved roads, with the result that RN40 is increasingly asphalted. Particularly in the province of Santa Cruz, more and more RipioReplaced by asphalt.

Rutas nacionales in Argentina
RN1 • RN2 • RN3 • RN5 • RN7 • RN8 • RN9 • RN11 • RN12 • RN14 • RN16 • RN18 • RN19 • RN20 • RN22 • RN23 • RN25 • RN26 • RN33 • RN34 • RN35 • RN36 • RN38 • RN40

Rutas provinciales

Each province also has a network of provincial roads, called a ruta provincial, with the prefix “RP”. The rutas provinciales are numbered per province. Most of these roads are simple secondary roads, but around some towns they are also double-lane with 2×2 lanes or as autovía.

Toll roads

In the 1980s, Argentina faced a major economic crisis, after years of budget deficits, protectionism and high inflation. In 1989, the Argentine government decided to grant 10,000 kilometers of road in concession to pay for its maintenance and expansion. This concerned both autopistas and regular rutas nacionales and some rutas provinciales. The concessions were awarded in lots, the so-called Corredores viales. In 2018, the tender was launched to bring another 7,500 kilometers of road under concession.

Road management

National road management falls under the Ministerio de Transporte, which is carried out by the Dirección Nacional de Vialidad. The DNV was founded on October 5, 1932 by means of the Ley Nacional Nº 11,658.

More generally, the more important routes through Argentina are controlled by the central government, called Rutas nacionales. In addition, there are Rutas provinciales. These are not only of less importance, but often also of lower quality than the national routes. Only the province of Santa Cruz has so many resources because of its oil reserves that it can develop its provincial roads as well as the federal government does.

Signage

Signage on the Autopista Buenos Aires – Mar del Plata.

The signage in Argentina is largely carried out according to the American standard. All forms of directional signage are carried out in white letters on otherwise green signs. Service areas and other services are indicated on blue signs with white letters. For warnings, yellow diamond-shaped signs with black text or a black image are used. For other road signs, Argentina largely follows the Vienna Convention, to which it is also a party.

Road numbers are usually well signposted. National roads are referred to by means of a pentagon with the point down containing the number of the road (but no prefix). Provincial roads are signposted by means of a standing rectangle, containing the number. Also here the prefix RP does not appear. On the island of Vuurland (Province of Tierra del Fuego) the numbers of provincial roads are not on the signs. Around the city of Buenos Aires, European -style road signs are used on motorways, with the prefix A or AU (for autopista) and the number of this local route on them.

Exit numbering is common on the highways near Buenos Aires. Numbers are based on the nearest kilometer marker.

Maximum speed

Road type Vmax
Calles (bibeko)
avenidas (bibeko)
zona rural (bubeko)
autovia
autopista

The speed limit in Argentina is laid down in Article 51 of the Ley de Transito.

Within built-up areas 40 km/h may be driven on residential streets and 60 km/h on main roads. Outside built-up areas, a general speed limit of 110 km/h applies. On double-lane roads, also called an autovía or semiautopista, the speed limit is 120 km/h. 130 km/h can be driven on a fully-fledged autopista. Lower limits may apply locally.

Outside built-up areas, trucks are allowed 80 km/h on all types of roads and buses are allowed 90 km/h. In mountainous areas 80 or 60 km/h often applies, in mountain tunnels often 40 km/h.

Argentina Road Network