Chad Road Network

By | November 18, 2022

Asphalted roads in Chad (as of 2017).

Statistics

According to wholevehicles, Chad has a very underdeveloped road network. There is no officially established classification of the national road network. An inventory was made in 1999 for the national road strategy for the period 2000-2009, which included a network of 2,575 kilometers of permanent national roads and 4,770 kilometers of seasonal roads. A regional network of 17,655 kilometers of road was also established. Much of these roads were little more than little improved tracks in the sand. Some were somewhat maintained dirt roads, and a very small part were asphalt roads.

From 2000 to 2017, the priority road network was expanded by 35% from 4,764 kilometers to 7,345 kilometers. The network of asphalted roads amounted to 350 kilometers in 2000, 1,500 kilometers in 2010 and 2,300 kilometers in 2016. In 2015, there was talk of a planned network of 3,692 kilometers of paved roads in 2020, it is unclear whether this has been achieved.

Paved roads

The road network is extremely limited and apart from a small number of main roads, most roads are impassable during and after rain showers. There are only a small number of paved roads in Chad, the N’Djamena to Abeche road for almost 900 km, the N’Djamena to Moundou road for 400 km and a 600 km east-west route in southern Chad, from the border with Cameroon via Moundou and Sarh to Singako. There are plans to paved the road from Kelo to Leré on the border with Cameroon. A paved road has also been built around the north side of Lake Chad to the border with Niger.

Unpaved roads

Transport in Chad often means long distances on unpaved roads. These range from slightly improved dirt roads to pistes in the sand. The dirt roads often become impassable in the rainy season, when the economy almost comes to a standstill, especially in the middle, east and south of the country. The most important places are now with an all-weather roadconnected. In northern and central Chad, roads crossing wadis are often impassable for 1-3 months after the rainy season. At the beginning of the dry season, unpaved roads are flattened. During and after precipitation, roads are closed to protect them from damage from vehicles driving on weakened roads. This depends on the duration of precipitation and the type of road. There are high fines for ignoring these barriers.

There is a more important dirt road N’Djamena to Sarh in the south. The easternmost part of the road from N’Djamena to the border with Sudan is still unpaved. In the north there are no roads at all, only slopes through the desert.

Safety

Driving on the roads in Chad is sometimes unsafe. In 2020, the UNOCHA determined that an escort is required for travel in eastern and northern Chad. Traveling north of Lake Chad required government approval due to military operations against Boko Haram.

N’Djamena

In the capital N’Djamena most roads are unpaved, only a few main roads have asphalt pavement. There is one border crossing with Cameroon at N’Djamena, to the Cameroonian N1 at Kousseri. Road markings, road signs and signage are virtually non-existent. Fuel was historically very hard to come by in Chad, even in N’Djamena. In 2011, an oil refinery built by the China National Petroleum Corporation was completed, 30 kilometers north of N’Djamena, improving the availability of fuels. Periodically, poor fuel availability still occurs.

The first asphalt roads in N’Djamena were built in 1972, these were three roads with a combined length of 20 kilometers. The situation has improved somewhat after 2010, with several main roads being paved and viaducts with 2×2 lanes built at 5 intersections in the city in 2013-2014. In 2017, N’Djamena had 244 kilometers of paved roads.

N’Djamena has two eastern bypasses. The first was probably built in the 1980s and connects to the bridge over the Chari, which was opened in 1959. About 2.5 kilometers east of it, a second ring road has been constructed, in different periods. The southern part was probably constructed simultaneously with the bridge from 2002, immediately with 2×2 lanes. Around 2009 the bypass was extended 2 kilometers northwards. The rest won’t be under construction until 2020, an 8-kilometer 2×2 lane road through the city’s northeastern suburbs.

In N’Djamena there are a number of bridges over the river Chari, a large, wide river. In 1959 the Pont de Chagoua over the river opened to traffic, this was the first bridge over the Chari in N’Djamena and made the city more accessible from the south, including the primary export route to Cameroon. A second bridge, the Pont de Taiwan, opened in 2002, a 2,600-meter-long bridge funded by the government of Taiwan. In 2020, large-scale work started to build a new bridge next to the Pont de Chagoua.

Just outside N’Djamena on the border with Cameroon is the Pont de N’Gueli over the Logone River. For a long time this was the only way to reach Chad by land via paved roads. This was a makeshift bridge from the colonial period that was too narrow for two vehicles. In 2011, a more modern bridge was built next to it.

History

French colonial rule started from 1900, although it took until 1920 before France had the entire area under control. From that year on it was under civil administration. During the French colonial period, agriculture was mainly developed in the south, but the development of the colony lagged far behind that of other French colonies. Not a single paved road was built under French colonial rule. The country gained autonomy in 1958 and became formally independent in 1960, with 0 kilometers of paved road at that time. The only significant traffic asset built by France was the Pont de Chagoua over the Chari River in N’Djamena, which opened in 1959.

In December 1958, the Ministry of Public Works was established. In 1972 the first roads were asphalted, these were the roads N’Djamena – Massaguet (80 km) and N’Djamena – N’Guelengdeng (150 km). This work was carried out by the French company Colas. The development of the road network came to a standstill because of the Chadian civil war, N’Djamena was destroyed in 1979 and almost the entire population fled to Cameroon. In 1980 the city was occupied by the Libyan army. From 1981-1982 the situation normalized somewhat, but it was not until 1984 that normal life was resumed. In 1986 a road building program was launched under which 2,500 kilometers of road had to be improved. From 1988, most of the money was spent on resurfacing the existing paved roads from N’Djamena to Massaguet and N’

In 1988, a program was established to improve 1,800 kilometers of road, of which 256 kilometers were paved in the period 1988-1993. An additional 3,556 kilometers of road were improved in the period 1994-1998, but these remained largely unpaved roads. In 2000, a road fund (Fonds d’Entretien Routier, FER) was established. This also introduced the possibility of levying tolls. N’Djamena was seen as an important hub in the Trans-African Highway network, with three routes converging in the city, the Trans-Africa Highway 3 (Tripoli – Windhoek), the Trans-Africa Highway 5 (Dakar – N’Djamena) and the Trans-Africa Highway 6 (N’Djamena – Djibouti).

After the start of oil extraction in 2003, Chadian government revenues started to increase, creating the opportunity to develop the road network somewhat. In the period 2006-2010 in particular, relatively many roads were asphalted, in the peak year 2010, 400 kilometers of new asphalt road were constructed. In 2010, the Agence d’Entretien Routier (AGER) was created to build paved roads. In 2011, a 72-kilometer section of Trans-Africa Highway 3 was asphalted between Massaguet and Massakory.

In the south of Chad, an east-west route of approximately 600 kilometers has been constructed from the border with Cameroon via Moundou, Koumra, Sarh, Kyabé to Singako. The westernmost part of 120 kilometers from the Cameroon border to Moundou was completed in June 2007. In 2009, the 190-kilometre stretch from Moundou to Koumra was completed, to Sarh in 2013, the section between Sarh and Kyabé around 2015, including a new bridge over the Chari, and the 72-kilometre The long section from Kyabé to Singako will be asphalted around 2020.

Later, a second east-west route in southwestern Chad was asphalted, first from 2021 between Kelo and Pala and in the period 2021-2023 also the 109 kilometer long part from Pala to the border with Cameroon at Lere. The passage through Pala has been widened to 2×2 lanes.

As part of the Trans-Sahara Highway (Trans-Africa Highway 2) that runs from Algiers to Lagos, but has a feeder route that runs east-west through southern Niger, a plan has also been made for a paved road that runs around the north side of Lake Chad (Lake Chad) runs to the border with Niger. This would be the first road connection between the two countries. The construction of this paved road started in 2014. In 2020, the asphalt road was still under construction from RigRig to the border with Niger. This route is also an alternative to the Trans-Africa Highway 5 which leads from Dakar to N’Djamena via Nigeria and Cameroon. With this connection, traffic from Niamey to N’Djamena would have to travel through two countries less.

Toll roads

Toll roads have been in place in Chad since 2005. In 2017 there were 19 toll stations. The policy is to realize a toll gate every 70-100 kilometers on asphalted roads.

Road numbering

There is no road numbering in Chad. It is one of the few French ex-colonies without road numbering.

Signage

Nothing is known about any signage in Chad. New roads are built according to French standards in terms of marking and road layout.

Chad Road Network