- Grande Raccordo Anulare
The GRA or Grande Raccordo Anulare (literally, "Greater Ring Junction") is a toll-free, ring-shaped
orbital motorway, 68,2 km (42,6 mi) in circumference that encircles Rome. Its acronym was given after one of its main designers and supporters, Eugenio Gra, chairman of ANAS, the Italian roads Authority, at the time of construction.
The official number among the Italian motorways is A90, although barely known and not found anywhere on road signs. It's widely known by Romans as "Il Raccordo" ("The Junction").
Plans for an orbital road around Rome were proposed by the end of the
World War II. One of the designers' main purposes was to build the road as most equally distant as possible from the geographic centre of town, the Campidoglio, 11,4 km (7 mi) away from the motorway.
Construction works started in 1948. The first section, Flaminia to Tiburtina (north-to-east section) opened in 1952, later extended in stages. The last section to be opened was the west-to-north section (Aurelia to Flaminia), in 1970.
Although the GRA was initially planned and built as a
single-carriagewayroad, it was soon clear that traffic was rapidly growing well beyond the expectations. Upgrade works to motorway standards started in late 1950s with first dual-carriageway, four-lane section (Salaria to Tuscolana) opened 1962.
Upgrade works to 6-lane started in 1983 and were completed in stages throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. As of April 2008 97% of the GRA is 6-lane with final sections (new tunnel under
Via Cassia) expected to open by 2009.
A New GRA
It has been suggested that a second ring might be constructed in the futureFact|date=May 2008, firstly as an attempt to alleviate congestion on the old one and secondly to offer access to a number of new industrial, commercial and residential zones built around it.Such a project would imply a new external ring-shaped orbital motorway of about km to mi|120, which would cost over €5 billion.
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