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#1
Old 10-27-2012, 02:01 PM
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What's the longest continuously straight road in the US? The world?

Looking at a variety of maps, it seems that even in the flat states like North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, etc. even the straightest of roads has a bit of a jog in it after 30 or 40 miles, going off the straight and narrow a bit to avoid a gully, knob, wash, or uncommonly large anthill.

Can anyone point me to the longest continuously straight road in the US? How about the world? I suspect Australia ought to be good for some unveering distances.
#2
Old 10-27-2012, 02:08 PM
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LMGTFY
North Dakota Highway 46, is supposedly the straightest of them all -- plumb line straight -- the longest straight road in America. It stretches across 123 miles of north Dakota prairie from Hwy 30 in the west to a nameless county blacktop just past I-29 in the east, a steady 20 miles south of I-94.


someone else can do the world
#3
Old 10-27-2012, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanzy View Post
LMGTFY
North Dakota Highway 46, is supposedly the straightest of them all -- plumb line straight -- the longest straight road in America. It stretches across 123 miles of north Dakota prairie from Hwy 30 in the west to a nameless county blacktop just past I-29 in the east, a steady 20 miles south of I-94.


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What about the curve by Little Yellowstone Park?
#4
Old 10-27-2012, 02:16 PM
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Yeah, but if you read more closely about that road, you get this: "its longest straight-as-an-arrow, lock your steering wheel and take a nap stretch -- extends nearly 31 miles, from Gackle to Beaver Creek."

So I don't buy it as the record at 123 miles.

You didn't think it'd be that easy, did you?
#5
Old 10-27-2012, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Lanzy View Post
LMGTFY
....
#6
Old 10-27-2012, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
That's snark. "Let me Google that for you".

Googling led me to incomplete, if not wrong answers. So I asked here.
#7
Old 10-27-2012, 03:04 PM
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The longest straight stretch of road in Australia is claimed to be on the Eyre Highway across the Nullarbor Plain, at 91 miles/147 km. I've taken a bus across it, and it's pretty dam straight.

The Nullarbor has the longest straight stretch of railroad in the world, 297 miles/478 km.
#8
Old 10-27-2012, 03:06 PM
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I assume Lombard Street is out of the running.
#9
Old 10-27-2012, 03:13 PM
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OK, the results so far:

World record 91 miles, Eyre highway, Australia

US record 35 miles, US-80 in Utah, Bonneville Salt flats.
#10
Old 10-27-2012, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Yeah, but if you read more closely about that road, you get this: "its longest straight-as-an-arrow, lock your steering wheel and take a nap stretch -- extends nearly 31 miles, from Gackle to Beaver Creek."

So I don't buy it as the record at 123 miles.

You didn't think it'd be that easy, did you?
Googlemaps confirms this.
#11
Old 10-27-2012, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
Googlemaps confirms this.
Confirms which? The 31 miles or the 123 mile claim?
#12
Old 10-27-2012, 03:30 PM
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Lotsa wobbles on hiway 46 in ND, one at Gackle, one at county road 63, one at Little Yellowstone park.

Still, I get a stretch that's pretty straight from just south of Kindred to Little Yellowstone park that is about 43 miles.
#13
Old 10-27-2012, 03:35 PM
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US 136 across central Illinois?
#14
Old 10-27-2012, 03:38 PM
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Due to the curvature of the Earth, would a tunnel like the Chunnel be a better pick?
#15
Old 10-27-2012, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mdcastleman View Post
US 136 across central Illinois?
Hm, 86 miles straight from west of Rantoul to just a few miles east of Havana!!

We have a new contender for longest US straight road, it seems.

Thanks!

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 10-27-2012 at 03:43 PM.
#16
Old 10-27-2012, 04:14 PM
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Highway 85 across norther Saudi Arabia gets my vote... looks like well over 100 miles totally straight.
#17
Old 10-27-2012, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Can anyone point me to the longest continuously straight road in the US? How about the world? I suspect Australia ought to be good for some unveering distances.
Just a thought but how are you defining straight? At what point does the curvature of the Earth become relevant? Consider a road 1 km from the South Pole that heads due East...
#18
Old 10-27-2012, 04:28 PM
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Due to the curvature of the Earth, would a tunnel like the Chunnel be a better pick?
Or better yet, the path Eńrendil sailed.
#19
Old 10-27-2012, 04:33 PM
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It sure isn't anywhere near San Francisco.

I'm sorry. I couldn't resist a twofer.
#20
Old 10-27-2012, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Hm, 86 miles straight from west of Rantoul to just a few miles east of Havana!!

We have a new contender for longest US straight road, it seems.

Thanks!
Not really. Look where it encounters Interstates 74, 55 and 155: in each one of those, 136 splits out a suicide or left turn lane, causing the primary lane to deviate from plumb. Looks like those segments are too short together to merit any kind of record.

I was going to lobby for some 40-odd miles of Hwy 17 north of Alamosa Colorado just past the road to Sand Dunes NP, but it looks like the road has a very subtle wander to it.

Last edited by eschereal; 10-27-2012 at 05:02 PM.
#21
Old 10-27-2012, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
Just a thought but how are you defining straight? At what point does the curvature of the Earth become relevant? Consider a road 1 km from the South Pole that heads due East...
Hmmm.... I suppose realistically, keeping on the surface of Earth, a due-North/South road could be made the most undisputably "straight" over long distances, as I believe longitude lines are both constant-bearing and also Great Circles. I imagine many "straight" roads in the middle latitudes try to approximate a constant-bearing line. But that's just off the top of my head.
#22
Old 10-27-2012, 09:20 PM
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The Mitchell Highway between Bourke and Nyngan in New South Wales, Australia, looks pretty straight for all of its 200 km (120 miles). (But I haven't driven on it to check.)
#23
Old 10-27-2012, 09:23 PM
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What's the longest straight section of the Ross Ice Shelf Road? (Is there still a Ross Ice Shelf Road?(Is there still a Ross Ice Shelf?))

Last edited by Muffin; 10-27-2012 at 09:27 PM.
#24
Old 10-27-2012, 10:09 PM
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I know of two town roads within 10 miles that are "snap a chalkline" straight for over 30 miles through NE Wisconsin. I'd venture a guess Ill or Ind has several east-west townline roads that can beat that. I'd offer up Hwy 57 north of Milwaukee for about 40 miles true north to Plymouth. I'm not aware of any compass corrections from when I last traveled it.

Correction: I forgot about the new round-a-bout on one of the town roads.
#25
Old 10-28-2012, 12:07 AM
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Unless you're employing a ridiculously literal standard of "straight", US Rt. 50 should be a contender. Ocean City, MD to West Sacramento, CA.
#26
Old 10-28-2012, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Krokodil View Post
Unless you're employing a ridiculously literal standard of "straight", US Rt. 50 should be a contender. Ocean City, MD to West Sacramento, CA.
Not remotely straight in the sense the OP is using it.
#27
Old 10-28-2012, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Krokodil View Post
Unless you're employing a ridiculously literal standard of "straight", US Rt. 50 should be a contender. Ocean City, MD to West Sacramento, CA.
Yes, a ridiculously literal standard for straight is being employed. The premise is that if your wheels are properly aligned, you could drive the stretch of road without moving the steering wheel at all.
#28
Old 10-28-2012, 04:30 AM
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Originally Posted by For You View Post
Yes, a ridiculously literal standard for straight is being employed. The premise is that if your wheels are properly aligned, you could drive the stretch of road without moving the steering wheel at all.
Umm.. no. You'd quickly go off the road due to the camber. I think Qadgop originally wanted laser-pointer straight, though I'd suggest great-circle straight.
#29
Old 10-28-2012, 06:31 AM
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Thanks to section 15 subsection 1 and section 28 of Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, public roads in Canada do not have to be straight.
#30
Old 10-28-2012, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
Umm.. no. You'd quickly go off the road due to the camber. I think Qadgop originally wanted laser-pointer straight, though I'd suggest great-circle straight.
I've driven the stretch of I-80 out to Windover, and the road is worn by trucks. If you are driving a car, it's actually harder than driving curves.

One of my friends drove his Mustang and got up fast enough that he claims it went airborn after hitting a bump. I don't know about that, but it's a good place to test the speed of your car.

Except when the unmarked trooper car is coming the other way, but that's another story.
#31
Old 10-28-2012, 11:03 AM
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I'm not demanding 'laser pointer straight', nor am I seeking the ability to leave one's hands off the (well-aligned) wheels the whole time. The occasional minimal variation inherent in some intersections ought to be overlooked, I think. As should the curvature of the earth.

So Highway 136 at interstate 55, 74, and 155 qualifies as straight to me.

I guess I'm looking for variations from true caused by 'natural obstacles', if that helps define it better.

And Poppa San, it was the straightness of Highway 57 that led me to ask the question. It's pretty damn straight fro 31 miles from north of Saukville to just before Manitowoc county. I drive on bits of it constantly. It's got a very small, gentle, looooong wobble around Waldo of perhaps a degree or two, but I'd still call it straight.
#32
Old 10-28-2012, 11:25 AM
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Here is Australia's 90 mile straight road filmed.
#33
Old 10-28-2012, 11:32 AM
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"O" Street in Lincoln NE runs from the Missouri river out to Seward, that's almost 50 miles, dead straight.
#34
Old 10-28-2012, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoBayer View Post
I've driven the stretch of I-80 out to Windover, and the road is worn by trucks. If you are driving a car, it's actually harder than driving curves.

One of my friends drove his Mustang and got up fast enough that he claims it went airborn after hitting a bump. I don't know about that, but it's a good place to test the speed of your car.

Except when the unmarked trooper car is coming the other way, but that's another story.
Hwy 50 through Nevada has some long stretches suitable for testing your car. Make sure that your tires are rated for high speed. The road is empty, straight, smooth and visible in in long stretches out in the desert.
#35
Old 10-28-2012, 11:35 AM
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I'd bet I-5, through the Central Valley of California is longer than that 31 mile stretch. I've driven that road many times and I seem to remember one very slight turn about 100 miles into it. Just a guess on my part.

Last edited by Morgenstern; 10-28-2012 at 11:35 AM.
#36
Old 10-28-2012, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Morgenstern View Post
I'd bet I-5, through the Central Valley of California is longer than that 31 mile stretch. I've driven that road many times and I seem to remember one very slight turn about 100 miles into it. Just a guess on my part.
I think that I-5 might be deceiving you. I've driven the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys both and there are kinks peppered at ten and fifteen mile separations all along both routes. They aren't much of a variation and can be easily forgotten but they are there nevertheless.
#37
Old 10-28-2012, 12:03 PM
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I think some sort of honourable mention needs to go to the Gunbarrel Highway. Whilst by no means a single straight piece of road, it extends for 1,400 km - 870 miles, and is largely constructed of sections of dead straight road wherever possible, with many sections being lengths of perfectly straight road of five, ten, twenty, fifty or more miles, with a single kink connecting them.
#38
Old 10-28-2012, 12:15 PM
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Western Avenue in Los Angeles goes for about 20 miles according to Google and is as straight as a string.
Probably not a record, but it is inside the city limits of a very large city, so that makes it unusual to say the least.
#39
Old 10-28-2012, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Western Avenue in Los Angeles goes for about 20 miles according to Google and is as straight as a string.
Probably not a record, but it is inside the city limits of a very large city, so that makes it unusual to say the least.
If I'm looking at the right thing (your link doesn't work correctly), there's a bit of a bend at I-10. Chicago's Western Avenue goes 23.5 miles from one end of the city to the other, and is pretty much dead-straight, too, with a bend near I-55 where the Avenue and Boulevard cross over.
#40
Old 10-28-2012, 01:24 PM
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There's a stretch through Wasilla, AK that's only a mile or so. It just seems like forever.
#41
Old 10-28-2012, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
If I'm looking at the right thing (your link doesn't work correctly), there's a bit of a bend at I-10. Chicago's Western Avenue goes 23.5 miles from one end of the city to the other, and is pretty much dead-straight, too, with a bend near I-55 where the Avenue and Boulevard cross over.
I've driven that chunk of Western and I don't recall any bends near I10. When I get home I will look again.
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#42
Old 10-28-2012, 02:11 PM
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If you visit Griffith Observatory one of the most fascinating views from there is Western Ave, straight as an arrow, disappearing into infinity (or what the locals call Whittier.) Andromeda's not too bad either....
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#43
Old 10-28-2012, 02:17 PM
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Baseline Road in Phoenix goes east through Tempe, Mesa and Apache Junction- over 40 miles in a straight line.
#44
Old 10-28-2012, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Elmer J. Fudd View Post
If you visit Griffith Observatory one of the most fascinating views from there is Western Ave, straight as an arrow, disappearing into infinity (or what the locals call Whittier.) Andromeda's not too bad either....
Actually, I think it's Imperial Hwy, not Western, that I'm thinking about.
#45
Old 10-28-2012, 02:55 PM
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Actually, I think it's Imperial Hwy, not Western, that I'm thinking about.
You can't fool me you were just thinking about that big nasty red head at your side.
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#46
Old 10-28-2012, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
I assume Lombard Street is out of the running.
Lombard street is actually straight. They just put planters to force drivers to slow down and go in a S curve.

Vermont street is the actual winner but the neighborhood there has a very strong lobby, they dont want tourists driving down their street.
#47
Old 10-28-2012, 04:31 PM
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Isn't this a deliberate feature of highway design? A distraction every once in a while, to keep drivers from zoning out completely?
#48
Old 10-28-2012, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Lombard street is actually straight. They just put planters to force drivers to slow down and go in a S curve.

Vermont street is the actual winner but the neighborhood there has a very strong lobby, they dont want tourists driving down their street.
But what they do have is the annual BYOBW race that combines the best of Grand Prix open wheel racing with the worst of NASCAR crashes. Put competing in this on your bucket list.
#49
Old 10-28-2012, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RaftPeople View Post
Due to the curvature of the Earth, would a tunnel like the Chunnel be a better pick?
I know this wasn't a serious suggestion, but the Channel Tunnel is a rail tunnel, not a road tunnel. (But you can take your car on the train.)
#50
Old 10-28-2012, 07:49 PM
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Lombard Street IS very straight, for about 17/18ths of it's length.

By "some accounts," US-93 is VERY straight, for 360 miles. But cars on that road seem to experience some spontaneous alignment problems.
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