...and Spaghetti Junctions

In 2 parts. Make sure to check out Part 2!

Modern drivers are understandably confounded and rightfully annoyed, when faced with such traffic-routing masterpieces as these: (see the whole list of them in Wikipedia here).

Tom Moreland Interchange, intersection of Interstate 85 and Interstate 285, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The Central Motorway Junction - New Zealand State Highways 1 and 16, Auckland, New Zealand.

(image credit: Yann Arthus-Bertrand)

They are called the "Malfunction Junctions", or "Spaghetti Intersections", and they are located almost in every major city in the West. You can find the streets that end nowhere, streets that strangely allow traffic in both direction (without providing proper lanes), streets that change names more often than a communist Cold War spies.

Wonders of image manipulation:

but this junction in Moscow wins the "Arrrrgh!" contest:
To make a left turn from Rosanov Street to the adjacent Khoroshev Street, you will have to embark on quite a journey:
follow the arrows on the picture

According to the Russian auto forums, this is not a unique occasion. Perhaps one day they will discover a junction so confusing and bizarre that it will curl upon itself in the fourth dimension and come out say... in Israel.

However in Israel some intersections are just as interesting... For example, here is how you make a turn at Nesharim to Highway 6:

Going West:

Going East:

These directions are helpfully provided on the official Highway 6 web page. But if you are an "experienced driver" and never ask for directions, you may be out of luck :)

Click here to see some ideas the traffic planning people could implement in the future :)

(Part 2 includes the worst traffic jams ever!)


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Anonymous chewy said...

Doesn't look "that" bad. Any highway looks complicated from above.

Anonymous haraya said...

They look pretty from above :)

Anonymous ApexAlex said...

most are NOT that bad, and actually work if the signage is right.

that moscow situation tho, is REALLY screwed up. i bet a lot of drivers take the "short cut." no doubt, it is an illegal left turn.

Anonymous MDalle said...

Hmm... That seems a little complicated, they should do it the same way as in India:


Anonymous Eric B. said...

I don't know about you, but that's just about the scariest, most disturbing thing I've ever seen...

I will never ever again complain about botched roundabouts.....

Blogger Adam said...

Aside from the difficulties these pose the driver, compare the amount of land used for these intersections compared to the land that is developed with buildings or left green. Infrastructure for private vehicles takes up a massive amount of space.

Blogger DutchChopper said...

I knew about this one but forgot the name. It's in England:


I've never done it myself but it's almost worth a trip !

Blogger Rob said...

FYI dutchdropper

I have to frequent Swindon on a regular basis and one of my offices is on the other side of the magic roundabout. At first I was daunted about the task of tackling such a monstrosity, but I quickly realised it really works as it has a series of contraflow movements that keep the traffic moving and always give you an opportunity to circumnavigate around it. You can also go loads of different routes through it which boggles the mind sometimes.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad it"s a fake! The last image, the one with "imagebank" in the bottom-right corner, is so obvious for a number or reasons - floating roads with no supports, inconsistent shadown, and for god"s sake, cut-and-rotate 35 degrees-and-paste! The world IS a fkd place, but geez, don"t believe everything you see.

Blogger Chris said...

Another view of the supposedly fake interchange.

I found the original photo on imagebanksearch, and this alternate photo on fotosearch. Each photo was taken by a different photographer/group.

Blogger Olga said...

Nice view. Looks very tangled and complicated from above.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That one is fake...the interchange has been cut out and pasted over itself at a different angle. Note the lack of shadows and roads going over buildings (which is real in some parts but not in that photo).

Anonymous Darin said...

I interested with the last picture, the cartoon,
and I want to say if all of these idiot would just take the bus, so there will no confusing intersections..

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hence the reason why I avoid larger cities. I'm perfectly fine in my small town ;)

Anonymous kurzyk said...

I've found the russian intersection in Google Maps - it is not so compact, but still the image looks convincing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't look "that" bad. Any highway looks complicated from above
Road traffic accidents interesting video articles

Anonymous strechyman said...

These are the pyramids of our civilization. Those borne in the decades ahead will have something relatively permanent to remember their Fore Fathers and Moms. Perhaps they will understand how hard it is to let go of a steering wheel. A century from today, agriculture may be one of the few reasons people have to go outside.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who didn't beleive the Moscow one:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And because I post like an idiot:





Blogger RichGK said...

Image number 6 is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravelly_Hill_Interchange

Well done those engineers!

Many a time I have intended to go south on the M6 only to find myself entering Birmingham instead.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its too bad that most of those images were just Mix-masters, or at least that is the name I learned for them, basically a system of exits and on-ramps for a road with a lot of traffic flow. I've seen ones about those size in Texas, quite impressive in person, but perfectly comprehensible as long ,as apexalex said, the signs are posted correctly.

Not to say that there aren't some insane intersections that are actual intersections as I think of them (where roads converge around a stop light. There is one that i loath trying to navigate. Its a five point intersection that cuts across a major highway that leads to a residential area on one side, and an even more confusing system of entrances and exits to a shopping center, which is also focused around its own stop light, on the other. There are absolutely no directional signs, lines, or lights and about six ways you could end up going against the flow of traffic, and about three points that you might very well get into an accident. You just have a pick a direction, and pray.

Anonymous Pex said...

easy, this is hard http://hacjenda24.com.pl/?p=93

Anonymous doswheeler said...

I get the sudden urge for a cup of good coffee.

Anonymous AffiliatePayload said...

Great post. I wonder, did these people actually get confused while building roads like this? Great pics and a post well done. Which reminds me, I like most of the pics I see here. Nice work!!

Anonymous VaccuumCleaners said...

Oh my word, I didn't know if I should roll on the floor laughing or shake my head in disgust. Those are definitely engineering MARVELS but they're so confusing and ridiculously useless. Who the heck came up with that? There must have been far simpler ways of doing it – or, at least, rather put a turn off somewhere else. I can't believe those roads even stay solid in the air like that – it looks like they'll fall at any moment!

Anonymous WeightLoss said...

I would take these "Spaghetti Highways of the West" over the confusing 1 way streets and insane drivers that Boston offers any day

Blogger Vladimir V. said...

I live within 10 minutes walk from this crossing in Moscow.

In fact, this red line is a result of some routing software developed when the construction of a major Moscow road, the Third Circle, was over.

Though rhere is no left turn indeed, one can drive straight (well, slightly to the left) to the 1st Khoroshevsky Lane, turn back (allowed across almost all the lane) and make a right turn to this very Khoroshevskoye Shosse/Highway at green light.

Anonymous Jeff said...

They don't look as scary as traffic circles.

Blogger r e y t i a said...

the junction in moscow.. you could just have turn left, but you have to go round and round and round like that.. i'm so amazed haha.

i hate intersections, though. once you take the wrong way it'd take like hours to go back to the way you should've taken.

Blogger Sentientv2 said...

The common name for the one in Atlanta is Spaghetti Junction

Anonymous Eli said...

As I was reading, I was waiting for Highway 6 to appear. You didn't let me down. :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a doctor did a better job on a triple bypass than these road engineers. Perhaps they were on something whilst drawing up the plans.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All those places will became a paradise after you visit India and try to drive with people, pigs, monkeys, cows crossing the roads...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one in New Zealand has been photoshopped to include about 3 or 4 overpasses... it's not bad at all in real life and shouldn't be in this collection.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't look "that" bad. Any highway looks complicated from above. They look pretty from above :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The imagebank one actually did announce itself as "The joys of image manipulation"; however if the NZ one has been altered that is inexcusable, as it purports to be a real image.

I'm glad I don't live in Moscow.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Rich GK - Gravelly hill is the seventh image, not the sixth. It's also a familiar haunt of mine, I can't say I've always got it right.

Anonymous Good Reading said...

Ingenuity or craziness? It's up to us to choose which is it...

Anonymous steve said...

It's roads like those that just totally put me off driving! Other drivers are bad enough without monstrous inersections like these!


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