- The first meter of highway in Moldova, Romania

The one meter highway

12w ago


Romania - the home of the Dacia Sandero. It has beautiful traditions, landscapes and “the best driving road” according to a 2009 Jeremy Clarkson. However, when it comes to other roads, it's a very weird… thing. Horse carts are still a thing on public roads and at night cars are landing on houses at 200km/h; 600 kilometers takes at least 8 hours to traverse and you're driving pretty much all the way centimeters apart from oncoming traffic while avoiding potholes. If you live around Bucharest or in some regions of Transylvania, this is not as big of a problem, but here in the Moldova region, it is. Until March 15th, 2019, there was not a single meter of highway in this region of the country. Now we have 1 meter. Yes, one meter. That's it. Just one.

It was inaugurated during a 15 minute protest whose objective was to bring the entire country to a halt. Traffic stopped everywhere, and many companies stopped their activity as well. It united people across the country to say “Enough!”, and the government responded accusing the protesters of making a circus, and even fined the guy who made the mini-highway. Same goes for the oncology hospital built from people's donations.

Romania is a country in which the population builds and the government taxes. It is a country in which transportation is dangerous because the vehicles are rusted and held together with cheap duct tape, because 30 people sit in a 15-seater bus. It is a country in which people drink and drive or text and drive like it's a totally normal thing to do, and crying on camera after they killed a person on a crosswalk going double the speed limit downtown. A lot of cars are rusty 20-year-old diesels polluting like crazy and driven by utter idiots. The driving examiner has to be bribed otherwise he'll fail you for no reason, and driving school only teaches you to pass that exam.

Recently I drove somewhere on an "European road" at night on heavy rain, and couldn't see anything, not even the road, especially when there was oncoming traffic. In parts of the road where there were markings, this wasn't such a big problem, but everywhere else it was pitch black. I had to drive using the GPS map, kind of like that scene in Bird Box where they drive using the parking sensors.

As much as I love driving, I'm terrified when I'm going somewhere: people driving in the middle of the road, cutting the corners into oncoming traffic like it's a racetrack, potholes everywhere, no road markings, no signs, with no room to avoid a person overtaking dangerously. I eagerly waited for my driving license to arrive only to be disappointed by the number of idiots and the quality of the roads.

Speed cameras won't solve a thing. Yes it will slow people down but they will get back up to speed once they get past.

That small portion of highway is a symbol of what happens in a corrupt country, of what people have to do in order to make themselves heard, only to be ignored.

If anyone wants to visit it is a few kilometers south of Suceava, Romania, it's on Google Maps.

Drive safe!