Beltway


Beltway

A beltway, loop (American English), ring road or orbital motorway (British English) is a circumferential highway found around or within many cities.

"Beltway", "orbital motorway", "perimeter loop", "beltline", and similar terms refer to an expressway/motorway/freeway style standard road that often originally enclosed the built up area and was later encroached upon by developed areas.

"Ring road" may sometimes refer to a beltway-style road, but more commonly indicates a road or series of roads within a city or town that have been joined together by town planners to form an orbital distributor style road, but where the standard of road could be anything from an ordinary city street up to an expressway level. The principal difference is that a ring road is an orbital distributor road system designed from already existing roads, as opposed to a beltway which is designed from new as such a road system. A ring road designation also implies a more inner-city road designed to route traffic around a city centre, as opposed to routing traffic around a larger conurbation.

Some cities have proposed or built multiple concentric beltways and/or ring roads. London, for instance, has the London Inner Ring Road (which circles Central London) and the larger M25 orbital motorway (which circles Greater London). Madrid is often cited as a pathological case, since it is served by not two, but "three" beltways:
* M-30, which at a mean distance of Unit km|5.17|1 to the Puerta del Sol has been overtaken by the city in most of its Unit km|32.5|1 length.
* M-40, which borders Madrid at a mean distance of Unit km|10.07|1 with connections to the southern metropolitan towns and projects westwards to reach Pozuelo de Alarcón for a total length of Unit km|63.5|1.
* M-50, which was planned as a full ring but is not "closed" as of 2008, though projects by the Autonomous Community of Madrid to connect both ends through a tunnel are being aired. It is Unit km|85|1 long and services mainly the metropolitan area at a mean distance of Unit km|13.5|1.Furthermore, there is a half-loop, the M-45, which runs between the M-40 and the M-50 at the east, where the two beltways are more separated; and there are plans to build a fourth full loop, the M-60, which would be over Unit km|120|0 long and encompass the whole metropolitan area of Madrid. This proliferation of orbital motorways is partially due to the traditional high radiality of the Spanish highway network, which made most cross-country traffic go through Madrid.

Many beltway-style roads are part of a wider highway system, for example in the United States beltways are commonly a part of an interstate highway system. Inner/Outer labeling is a common way of uniformly signing the directions of travel on beltways in America.

In the United States, "beltway" also has a political connotation (e.g., politics inside the Beltway), derived metonymically from the Capital Beltway encircling Washington, D.C.

Geography can sometimes complicate the construction of a beltway. One example is Stockholm, where there is a semi-beltway (Essingeleden). To be completed, most of it will have to run in submarine tunnels.

ee also

*Downtown circulator
*Link road
*List of beltways


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • beltway — term in U.S. for a ring highway around an urban area, especially Interstate 495 around Washington, D.C., the Capital Beltway, completed 1964. Figurative for Washington, D.C., and its culture for better or worse, since c.1978 …   Etymology dictionary

  • beltway — ☆ beltway [belt′wā΄ ] n. an expressway passing around an urban area ☆ the Beltway Washington, D.C., esp. as regarded as the center of U.S. government and politics: so called from the expressway around the District of Columbia & nearby areas …   English World dictionary

  • Beltway — /ˈbɛltweɪ/ (say beltway) noun 1. the, the US political system. –phrase 2. in(side) the Beltway, Colloquial in the political arena. {with reference to Capitol Beltway, a ring road that encircles Washington, DC} …   Australian English dictionary

  • beltway — belt|way [ belt,weı ] noun count AMERICAN a road that goes around the edge of a city to keep traffic away from the center. British ring road: the Baltimore beltway inside/outside the Beltway AMERICAN MAINLY JOURNALISM used for talking about… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • beltway — UK [ˈbeltweɪ] / US [ˈbeltˌweɪ] noun [countable] Word forms beltway : singular beltway plural beltways American a ring road …   English dictionary

  • beltway — noun Usage: often attributive Date: circa 1952 1. a highway skirting an urban area 2. cap ; the political and social world of Washington, D.C., viewed especially as insular and exclusive < understanding better than …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • beltway — /belt way /, n. 1. Also called belt highway. a highway around the perimeter of an urban area. 2. the Beltway, the Washington, D.C., area within the highway that encircles it. [1950 55; BELT + WAY] * * * …   Universalium

  • Beltway — 1. noun A 64 mile Interstate freeway surrounding Washington, D.C.. 2. adjective Of or relating to the culture of Washington, D.C.; politicized. Your New Yorker article posed the question, Can the presidents education crusade survive Beltway… …   Wiktionary

  • beltway — [[t]be̱ltweɪ[/t]] beltways N COUNT A beltway is a road that goes around a city or town, to keep traffic away from the centre. [AM] (in BRIT, use ring road) …   English dictionary

  • beltway — belt•way [[t]ˈbɛltˌweɪ[/t]] n. 1) civ trs a highway around the perimeter of an urban area 2) geg the Beltway, the Washington, D.C., area • Etymology: 1950–55 …   From formal English to slang


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.