Algeria has more than 90,000 kilometers of national roads, including 30,000 kilometers of primary routes, or routes nationales (RN), and 20,000 kilometers of secondary roads, or chemins de wilaya (CW). The rest of the road network consists of tertiary but generally accessible roads and tracks known as chemins communaux (CC), mainly serving rural areas in the north and in the Sahara region. The RN and CW system of major roads is managed by the Ministry of Public Works and its regional services, known as Directorates for Basic Infrastructures (Directions des Infrastructures de Base); the Ministry of Interior, Local Communities, and Tourism and local authorities are responsible for tertiary roads. The road network is unevenly distributed among the various regions, but it accurately reflects the topography and demographic pattern of the country. Thus, the network is much more developed in the northern coastal region where economic activities and population concentrations are heaviest. The south is served by a limited number of national roads linking the few densely populated areas.
Three major east-west highways run through Algeria and link Morocco with Tunisia, and three others run from north to south. The most extensive highway project, however, is a trans-Saharan road, known as the Road of African Unity. It runs from El Goléa south to Tamanrasset, all the way to the southern borders, branching before it reaches into Niger and Mali.
Figures on vehicle fleets on Algeria's roads are neither readily available nor very reliable, mainly because vehicle registration data are not adjusted for vehicle scrapping. Best estimates put the number of privately owned cars and trucks at well over 1 million in the early 1990s. This number is expected to increase as the government continues to ease restrictions on imports of cars by migrant workers returning to Algeria. Stateowned trucks constitute about 80 percent of the total vehicle fleet capacity.
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