An upgraded highway system is especially important in the mountains
and deserts of the republic, where only camels provide an alternate
means of transport. In 1926, the republic had 5,716 kilometers
of roads, 3,310 kilometers of which were "camel paths" and the
rest "somewhat passable" for wheeled transport. By 1975, 9,000
kilometers of roads existed, 6,000 kilometers of which were paved.
By 1990 this number had increased dramatically to 23,000 kilometers,
of which 15,300 were paved; concomitant increases in freight and
passenger traffic strain the system, however.
Eastern Turkmenistan is connected with western Turkmenistan
by the Turkmenbashy-Ashgabat-Chärjew highway. Other important
highways are the Chärjew-Dashhowuz (520 kilometers), the Chärjew-Kerki
(225 kilometers), and the Mary-Gushgy. Stable motor vehicle routes
to Iran have been established, and border-crossing procedures
have been simplified and regularized.
Data as of March 1996