Azerbaijan Road Network

By | November 6, 2022

The main road network of Azerbaijan.

As of January 2022, Azerbaijan had a road network of 18,893 kilometers, of which 11,938 kilometers consisted of a modern asphalt pavement.

The road network of Azerbaijan consists of a number of main routes, mostly the roads from Baku to the national borders, supplemented by a network of regional roads. Almost all cities of Azerbaijan are located on one of the M roads. A network of R-roads complements this. Azerbaijan’s road network is relatively modern, major corridors have been fully or partially constructed as motorways, especially the Baku approach roads and a growing network of trunk roads in Nagorno-Karabakh. A number of roads have 2×2 lanes, but are not a full-fledged motorway due to sharp bends or level elements.

According to wholevehicles, the Azerbaijani road network has developed into the most modern in the Caucasus, especially since 2003 the road network has been upgraded at a rapid pace, both in Baku and the main routes, and since 2010 also increasingly secondary roads to smaller villages. Two major international transport routes pass through the country; from Georgia to Iran and from Russia to Iran. Azerbaijan also has the exclave of Nakhchivan, which can only be reached by land via Iran. Nakhchivan also has some roads with 2×2 lanes.

Road management

The national road authority is the State Agency of Azerbaijan Automobile Roads (Azərbaycan Avtomobil Yolları Dövlət Agentliyi, AAYDA). In addition, there is also a separate road authority for the exclave of Nakhchivan, the Naxçıvan Muxtar Respublikası Avtomobil Yolları Dövlət Agentliyi, also called Naxavtoyol. AAYDA managed 17,755 kilometers of road in 2022 and Naxavtoyol managed 1,138 kilometers of road.

After independence, Azəravtoyol was established to take over road management in Azerbaijan. In 2017, Azeravtoyol was disbanded and transformed into the Azərbaycan Avtomobil Yolları Dövlət Agentliyi (AAYDA).

Motorways & Road Classification

Motorways in Azerbaijan.

The M2 bypass of Gəncə (Ganja).

The road network of Azerbaijan is divided into five road classes. The 1st class roads are actually motorways (avtomagistral). In 2022, Azerbaijan had 935 kilometers of 1st class road. The highways mainly run from Baku to other parts of the country, but a number of these types of roads have been built in Nagorno-Karabakh since 2021.

Baku’s main highways are the M1 from Baku to the border with Russia at Samur, the M2 in the Baku region and the M3 from the Baku region to the border with Iran at Astara. In addition, a number of highways have been built in the Baku region. The M2 is the main inland road and is also equipped with 2×2 lanes for larger stretches, but this is not a true motorway in all areas.

Road construction in Nagorno-Karabakh

The Nagorno-Karabakh region has traditionally been contested between Armenia and Azerbaijan. During the Soviet Union, traffic between these areas was not a problem, although in 1988 a guerrilla war broke out, which after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992 culminated in a major conflict in which Armenia took control of a larger part of Nagorno-Karabakh in 1994.. Most villages outside the core area were then destroyed and uninhabitable. The Azerbaijani population fled. The Armenians founded the republic of Artsakh, which was not internationally recognized. According to international law, the area belonged to Azerbaijan.

In 2020, Azerbaijan launched a full-scale war to retake Nagorno-Karabakh. On November 10, 2020, a ceasefire was reached. At that point, Azerbaijan had recaptured much of the territory, except around the town of Stepanakert, which remained in Armenian hands but no longer bordered Armenia. A Russian force subsequently functioned as a peacekeeping force.

Azerbaijan started large-scale construction of new roads in 2021 to redevelop the area into a habitable region. Large-scale investments were chosen, with new expressways, motorways, the 11.6-kilometer-long Murovdağ Tunnel and a bypass called the Laçın corridor, connecting the Armenian area around Stepanakert with the rest of Armenia. This road passes through Azerbaijani territory but was de facto under Russian control when it was completed on August 11, 2022. On November 7, 2021, a new road (R31) opened to the strategically located Shusha. A 124 kilometer east-west highway has been constructed through the south of Nagorno-Karabakh. A 45 kilometer long motorway has also been constructed between Barda and Aghdam. On August 11, 2022, the Laçın Corridor was completed as a bypass for through traffic between Artsakh and Armenia.

History

History

The area that is now Azerbaijan has been at the crossroads of trade routes between Europe, Asia and the Middle East since ancient times. The Silk Road also partly passed through Azerbaijan. In the Middle Ages there were already improved roads for east-west and north-south traffic, such as from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea and from Astrakhan to Baku and Iran. The development of today’s road network started in the middle of the 19th century and focused on roads in and around Baku. The first roads were built from 1850, in 1860 the Yevlakh-Shusha-Nakhchivan-Iravan road through the mountains of the South Caucasus was completed. The first roads were gravel roads. By 1900, Azerbaijan had 209 kilometers of paved road. Before 1920 there were only a few hundred passenger cars in Azerbaijan.

Road construction was first organized in a government agency in 1918. At that time 15 trucks and 12 graders had been purchased for road construction. In 1918 the Ministry of Roads, Posts and Telegraphs was established (Yollar, Poçt və Teleqraf Nazirliyi). At that time, the independent Azerbaijani Democratic Republic existed for a short time. At that time, the network of roads consisted of 460 kilometers of improved road, 250 kilometers of gravel road and 310 kilometers of paved and semi-paved roads.

Soviet period

The numbered road network (M and A roads) at the time of the Soviet Union.

When Azerbaijan was under the rule of the Soviet Unionfell, Azqlavdortrans (Азглавдортранс) was founded in 1928 to carry out road construction in the Azerbaijani SSR. Azqlavdortrans, however, was dissolved again in 1937. The first asphalt plant was built in Sabunçu. In 1940, Azerbaijan had 11,024 kilometers of road, 49 kilometers of which were concrete and 3000 kilometers paved. In the period from 1941 to 1950, 919 kilometers of road were paved. Due to the strategic importance of Azerbaijan’s oil fields during World War II, the Azerbaijani SSR received a lot of finance from the central government in Moscow. One of the major projects was the 461-kilometer road from Baku to Agstafa near the border with Georgia, which was completed in 1945. A modern road from Baku to the border with Iran at Astara was also built during that period.

In the 1950s the network of paved roads was expanded, the construction of paved roads became the standard at that time. They were busy paving gravel roads with an asphalt layer, which grew from 1,107 kilometers in 1950 to 2,847 kilometers in 1960. Most of the larger towns in Azerbaijan, as well as connections to Iran and the other SSRs of the Soviet Union, were completely paved during this period.. The construction of paved roads accelerated during the 1960s, in 1970 the Azerbaijani SSR had 13,400 kilometers of paved road.

In 1974, the General Road Administration was established, called Gushosdor (Гушосдор) in Russian. During this period, a larger scale industrialization of Azerbaijan took place, both in agriculture and oil. The improved gravel roads with a layer of asphalt soon broke down and were often replaced in the 1970s by a more modern asphalt road. By 1980, all state roads were paved.

Independent Azerbaijan

In 1991 Azerbaijan became an independent country. It was immediately isolated, it lost the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenia, the main market Russia became more difficult to reach because of the war in Chechnya and its own province of Nakhchivan was only accessible by air or via Iran. The war over Nagorno-Karabakh plunged Azerbaijan into deep trouble, losing 20 percent of its territory and having to relocate 1 million refugees. The Azerbaijani places in Nagorno-Karabakh were almost all completely destroyed and uninhabitable.

After independence, Azəravtoyol was established to take over road management in Azerbaijan. The road network fell into disrepair due to a shortage of money and maintenance. To improve the situation, the road fund (dövlət yol fondu) was established in 1994. However, the financial situation of Azerbaijan was problematic in the 1990s and almost no road projects or road maintenance could be carried out.

At the end of the 1990s, a new road numbering system was introduced for M and R roads. The prefix ‘M’ stands for magistral avtomobil yolları and its roads that connect Baku with other countries. The R roads are regional roads and form the second layer of main roads.

Due to the increasing income from oil, Azerbaijan was able to refurbish, modernize and expand its road network after 2005. In 2017, Azeravtoyol was disbanded and transformed into the Azərbaycan Avtomobil Yolları Dövlət Agentliyi (AAYDA). By 2020, Azerbaijan had the most modern road network in the Caucasus. In the period 2003-2021, 83 grade separated intersections were constructed in Baku, 2,010 kilometers of road were modernized or reconstructed. Between 2003 and 2021, 5,100 kilometers of roads were also built to open up the countryside. In the same period, 19,200 kilometers of road were maintained. The number of kilometers of the first category (motorways) grew from 115 kilometers in 2003 to 935 kilometers in 2021.

In the early 2010s, there were plans to build a kind of ring road around Baku, including a long bridge span across Baku Bay. The cost of this 11.5 kilometer long bridge was estimated at $1.8 billion in 2011. However, the project was not continued afterwards.

Main roads

Motorways and Main Roads in Azerbaijan
M1 • M2 • M3 • M4 • M5 • M6 • M7 • M8R1 • R2 • R3 • R4 • R5 • R6 • R7 • R8 • R9 • R10 • R11 • R12 • R13 • R14 • R15 • R16 • R17 • R18 • R19 • R20 • R21 • R22 • R23 • R24 • R25 • R26 • R27 •R28 • R29 • R30 • R31 • R32 • R33 • R34 • R35 • R36 • R37 • R38 • R39 • R40 • R41 • R42 • R43 • R44 • R45 • R46 • R47 • R48 • R49 • R50 • R51 • R52 • R53 • R54• R55 • R56 • R57 • R58 • R59 • R60 • R61 • R62 • R63 • R64 • R65 • R66

European roads

European roads in Azerbaijan
E60 • E99 • E119 • E002

Asian Highways

Asian Highways in Azerbaijan
AH5 • AH8 • AH81 • AH83

Toll roads

There were originally no toll roads in Azerbaijan. The M3 from Alat to Astara will be Azerbaijan’s first toll road. Later the new M1 between Sumgayit and the border with Russia followed. Toll rates were set for the first time in 2018. More toll roads were considered in 2020.

Road numbering

The road network of Azerbaijan is divided into M and R roads. The M-roads connect Baku to neighboring countries and are numbered from M-1 to M-8. The R-roads form the other main road network within the republic and are numbered from R-1 to R-66. There is also an administrative numbering of local roads.

Originally, Azerbaijan still had the Soviet Union numbering system, with M and A numbers. For example, the A324 was the main road from Baku to the border triangle with Armenia and Iran to the southwest. The A317 was the main thoroughfare from Nagorno-Karabakh. The A315 was the northern route to Georgia. This was discontinued in 2005 and replaced by the system of M and R numbers.

The M roads form a radial system from Baku, the R roads are zoned ascending, the lower numbers start in the north, go up through the center to the west, then ascend through the center to the south. There are few R-roads around Baku. The numbers higher than 50 are often short connecting roads.

There are also Asian Highways and a number of E numbers, such as the E002, E117 and E119.

M-roads

# No. Route Length
M1 Baku – Sumqayit – Quba – Samur – gr. Russia 205 km
M2 Baku – Ələt – Yevlax – Gəncə – Qazax – gr. Georgia 507 km
M3 Lət – Lankaran – Astara – gr. Iran 205 km
M4 Baku – Yevlax 280 km
M5 Yevlax – Şəki – Balakən – gr. Georgia 184 km
M6 Qazıməmmə – Shirvan – Zəngilan – gr. Armenia 286 km
M7 Naxçıvan – Sadarak – gr. Turkey 81 km
M8 gr. Armenia – Ordubad – Julfa – Naxçıvan 87 km

R-roads

# No. Route Length
R1 Gəndov – Xaçmaz – Yalama – gr. Russia 88 km
R2 Giləzi – Xızı 31 km
R3 Quba – Qusari 12 km
R4 Quba – Xacmaz 22 km
R5 Qusar – Xudat 29 km
R6 Sumqayit – Sahil (Baku Bypass) 40 km
R7 Sumqayıt – Hacı Zeynalabdin 18 km
R8 Muğanlı – İsmayıllı 40 km
R9 Qaraməryəm – Şəki 152 km
R10 Qaraməryəm – Mususlü 22 km
R11 Ağsu – İmişli – Bəhramtəpə 113 km
R12 Goyçay – Bərgüşad 18 km
R13 Goycay – Ucar 20 km
R14 Ağdas – Ləki 10 km
R15 Ağdas – Zarağan 45 km
R16 Qurağan – Zaqatala 43 km
R17 Xaldan – Mingəcevir 14 km
R18 Mingəçevir – Hacıbədəlli – Bəhramtəpə 166 km
R19 Gəncə – Qamışlı – Laçın 200 km
R20 Gəncə – Daşkəsən 38 km
R21 Gəncə – Samux 8 km
R22 Mkir – Gədəbəy 45 km
R23 Qazax – Uzuntala – gr. Armenia 14 km
R24 Ağstafa – Sadıqlı – gr. Georgia 54 km
R25 Goran – Naftalan 18 km
R26 Goranboy – Tərtər 35 km
R27 Tərtər – Hindarx 41 km
R28 Yevlax – Ağdam – Stepanakert – Laçın 151 km
R29 Bərdə – Tǝrtǝr – Kəlbəcər – İstisu 160 km
R30 Xankəndi – Xocavənd 42 km
R31 Şuşa – Fuzuli 53 km
R32 Ucar – Ağcabədi 76 km
R33 Adam – Hindarx – Ağcabədi 48 km
R34 Ağdam – Ağdərə 26 km
R35 Ağdam – Fuzuli – Horadiz 90 km
R36 Laçın – Həkəri 83 km
R37 Laçın – Zabux – gr. Armenia 23 km
R38 Qubadlı – Xanlıq 16 km
R39 Həkəri – Zəngilan 23 km
R40 Fuzuli – Cəbrayıl – Mahmudlu 46 km
R41 İkinci Aşıqlı – Daşburun 32 km
R42 Bəhramtəpə – Biləsuvar 62 km
R43 Bilisuvar – gr. Iran 19 km
R44 Hacıqabul – irvan 11 km
R45 irvan – Salyan 43 km
R46 Salyan – Neftcala 40 km
R47 Masallı – Yardımlı 53 km
R48 Lənkəran – Lerik 55 km
R49 Naxçıvan – Şahbuz – Biçənək – gr. Armenia 65 km
R50 Gəncə – M2 11 km
R51 M2 – Gəncə 8 km
R52 M2 – Kurikcay station 5 km
R53 M2 – Alabaşli station 8 km
R54 M2 – lət station 5 km
R55 M3 – Masalli station 5 km
R56 Çayqaraqoyunlu – Kərimli 31 km
R57 M5 – Şəki 12 km
R58 M5 – Zaqatala station 9 km
R59 Balakən – Balakən station 2 km
R60 M6 – İmişli 7 km
R61 M6 – Zəngilan 11 km
R62 M7 – Şərur 4 km
R63 M7 – Sədərək – gr. Armenia 8 km
R64 M8 – Babək 3 km
R65 M8 – Culfa – gr. Iran 2 km
R66 M8 – Ordubad Station 5 km

Signage

Signage on the R31.

A distance sign on the R31.

Azerbaijan uses the old Soviet signage which is very simplistic in nature. Both green and blue signs are used, although there doesn’t seem to be a system for this. The signage is in Azerbaijani, a Turkish language. Azerbaijani in Azerbaijan is in the Latin script, with a number of different letters, most notably the Ə, Ç, Ğ, and Ş. Older signs are often in the Cyrillic customary at the time.

Traffic signaling has recently been implemented on some roads around Baku, these electronic signs can show a speed and a green arrow or red cross when the lane is closed. In addition, there are electronic signs that provide information about, for example, the road surface temperature.

Road signs

Since 2002, Azerbaijan has been a member of the Vienna Convention. The country applies the road signs that are common in Europe.

Markers

Yellow side markers are widely used, but the lane markings are white. In urban areas and some older roads, the marking has completely worn away. Sometimes traffic on multi-lane roads in one direction is also separated by a solid marking.

Road safety

In 2019, there were 821 road deaths in Azerbaijan. The number of road deaths was around 1,300 in the early 1990s, then decreased to 600 in the late 1990s, before growing strongly again to nearly 1,200 per year in the early 1990s. After that, the number of road deaths decreased again.

Maximum speed

The speed limit is set in Article 50 of the Road Traffic Act (Yol hərəkəti haqqında).

The maximum speed is 60 km/h in built-up areas, 90 km/h outside built-up areas and 110 km/h on motorways. The maximum limit for trucks is 90 km/h on motorways and 70 km/h on other roads.

Azerbaijan Road Network