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If you want to plan a trip to Romania, DO NOT use Google Maps :)

Romania is the EU country with the lowest motorways density on sq. km. This situation dates back from the communist time, when the infrastructure wasn’t a priority for the regime. The communists built only a motorway between Bucharest and Pitesti, the city where the legendary car Dacia was built.

After the fall of the communism the succesive governments weren’t intersted to build more motorways, although it was quite obvious that Romania needs to improve its infrastructure in order to attain sustainable economic growth. The current president, Basescu, minister of transportation during the ’90s, even stated in public that “Romania doesn’t need motorways”. Romania being a country with a surface of 237.000 sq. km.!

However, during the 2000′s, when it was clear that Romania will enter in EU, the governments were forced by international partners to allocate some money towards motorways development.

But the local tradition in Romania is to say “yes, yes” and do nothing. In 10 years, although the plans, as approved and discussed with international partners in the last 10 years, stated that Romania will have in 2011 7-800 km of motorways, the authorities managed to build only 150 km on a motorway between Bucharest and Constanta and 52 km around Cluj, in Transilvania.

However, Google’s engineers seems to take as granted Romania’s government promises and posted on Google maps the motorways’ infrastructure as planned :) (maybe in USA governmental plans are respected…) So, if one wants to use Google maps in order to plan a trip in Romania, will find that:

  • Between Bucharest and Constanta (225 km) it’s a single, continuos motorway. That’s wrong. The real motorway end’s up after 150 km.
  • Between Bucharest and Ploiesti (50 km) it’s a motorway. Wrong. There is no such motorway between those cities yet. Some people say that it will be ready in 2012, but who knows? So, this map is wrong.
  • One of the most expected motorway is “Transilvania”, that will link the eastern border of Hungary with the centre of Romania. This motorway should have some 350 km. If one looks on Google Maps, the map shows as already built 159 km. That’s wrong :) In truth there are only 52 km available. This map is simply wrong.

So, instead of using Google Maps, one should turn over the other solutions, such as Bing Maps or Yahoo! Maps. I have test some routes and they look correct.

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