Morocco Road Network

By | October 31, 2022

According to wholevehicles, Morocco’s road network is relatively developed, especially between the major cities in the north and along the west coast. Morocco has a fairly large network of motorways, with a length of 1,767 kilometers in 2021. Motorways run between most major cities in the north, but the country does not yet have cross-border highways because the border with Algeria is closed. The underlying road network is modest and mainly consists of a number of important main roads. There are only 3 roads in the south of Morocco to Western Sahara. There are virtually no roads in that area, only a main road along the west coast to the border with Mauritania. There are regular ferry services between Algeciras and Tangier and from various Spanish coastal towns to the exclaves of Ceuta andMelilla. Traffic from Algeria to Morocco must use ferry services via Spain (mainly Alicante).

Motorways

Driving Routes in Morocco
A1 • A2 • A3 • A4 • A5 • A7 • A101 • A102 • A103 • A201 • A301 • A501

Morocco’s highway network.

Morocco’s motorway network is relatively young, but corresponds to the construction of motorways in neighboring Algeria, mainly from the mid-1980s. In 1978, Morocco’s first motorway, the A1 opened through Casablanca over 33 kilometers. This was extended northwards to Rabat in 1987. From the mid-1990s, Morocco’s second highway, the A5, which was built northwards along the coast from Rabat, was built mainly between 1995 and 1999, with the last stretch to Tangier opening in 2005. At the end of the 1990s, the A2 from Rabat to Fès was opened. In 2011, this was extended to Oujda.

In 2001, Morocco’s fourth motorway was opened, the first section of the A3 from Casablanca to Agadir. In 2003 and 2004 the A1 opened as a bypass from Casablanca, which was extended westwards to El Jadida in 2006. Between 2005 and 2010, construction was carried out on the A3 from Casablanca to Marrakech.

Between 2011 and 2016, the motorway network has been significantly expanded. This concerns, for example, the extension of the A1 along the west coast to Safi. In 2012, the first 2×3 highway was opened, the widened A1 between Casablanca and Rabat. In 2014, the first section of the A4 opened to Beni Mellal in the Atlas Mountains. In 2016, the most recent stretch of motorway in Morocco, the A5 around Rabat, opened.

Toll

Almost all motorways are toll roads, managed by the Autoroutes du Maroc (ADM). Since 2014, the toll can also be paid electronically, a system called “Jawaz”.

Route nationals

Route Nationales in Morocco

History

In the 19th century, most of the Moroccan population was nomadic. At that time there were many dirt roads instead of roads, which were easily passable in the flat areas. In the mountains the paths were moderate to bad. Land transport was quite important until the introduction of the steamboat, but then declined in importance, because most of Morocco’s major cities are located on the coast.

At the beginning of the 20th century a start was made with the construction of a road network, between 1912 and 1917 1,400 kilometers of road were built, which grew to 2,700 kilometers in the early 1920s. The first main road ran from Casablanca to Rabat, from where a road continued to Fes and Oujda. A coastal road was also built to Agadir in the south. Roads ran from the various coastal towns to the city of Marrakech. By 1930, roads were also being worked on inland, such as a road from Fes to Marrakech. Roads in the Atlas Mountains were not built before World War II.

In 1954 Morocco had 11,500 kilometers of asphalted road. When Morocco became independent in 1956, road construction in the north of the country received more attention. In 1957 a road was built through the heart of the Rif Mountains. Between 1957 and 1962, 900 kilometers of road were built in southern Morocco, south of the Atlas Mountains.

In 1973, the Direction des Routes et de la Circulation Routière (DRCR) was created. The current road numbering was established in 1990. The paved road network increased from 21,400 kilometers in 1960 to 57,300 kilometers in 2001. Between 1995 and 2003, 9,000 kilometers of road were built in rural Morocco. Since 2005, more rural roads have been built to give the rural population access to the road network.

In 1975, the construction of Morocco’s first autoroute, between Casablanca and Rabat, began. It was opened in 1978, but no new highways were built in the 1980s. In 1989, the road authority Autoroutes du Maroc (ADM) was established to carry out the construction of toll roads. In 1992, the first toll was levied on Moroccan highways. Particularly after 2000, a large number of highways were built. Major milestones included the completion of the Rabat to Tangier highway in 2005, the Casablanca to Marrakech highway in 2007, the Marrakesh to Agadir highway in 2010, and the Fes to Oujda highway in 2011. In 2016, the Rabat bypass and the El highway opened. Jadida to Safi.

Road numbering

The road network is divided into four road classes: A-roads (motorway), N-roads (Routes nationales), R-roads (Regional roads) and P-roads (local roads). The highway network is numbered somewhat radially from Rabat and Casablanca. The numbering of the roads was not in ascending order, for example, the first highway was the A3 and not the A1. The A-roads would have been renumbered in 2016, but A-numbers are not always signposted. The N-road network is numbered in a grid, with even numbers between 2 and 16 running east-west and rising south. For example, the N2 is the main road from Tangier to Oujda, and the N6 is the road from Rabat to Oujda. The odd numbers between 1 and 17 run north-south and ascend towards the east. For example, the N1 is the long coastal road from Tangier to the border with Mauritania. The N17 is the road from Oujda to Figuig. In 2018, the network of routes nationales was renumbered. The A numbering has been changed several times, but is not signposted.

The R roads are zoned numbered, with the numbers starting with a 1 in the southwest, to the 6 around the Algerian border. Even numbers run north-south and odd numbers run east-west, but the system has many exceptions.

Signage

The signage in Morocco is identical to that in France, with the exception that Arabic is also used on the signs and road numbers are not always indicated on the signposts, but on the kilometer markers. The road layout is very French. Apart from the different language on the signage, the signage could also be in France. Motorways have blue signs with white letters, other roads have white signs with black letters.

Exit numbering

Morocco uses an unusual exit numbering system, in which the road number is incorporated into the exit numbering. For example, if an exit of the A1 is at kilometer 150, it will be given the exit number 1150. As far as we know, Malaysia is the only other country with such exit numbers.

Morocco Road Network