What Is a Limited Access Road?

June 15, 2023

Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent

A limited access road (also known as a freeway or expressway) is a highway for high-speed traffic that doesn't have intersections. Instead, drivers use ramps to enter and exit the highway. Limited access highways are found around the country, connecting major towns and cities. They also connect to other types of roads for local traffic. These highways are often safer than other types of roads because there's no need to wait for traffic signals or stop signs.

The authority responsible for the construction of a limited access highway has the power to eliminate all intersections at grade with other highways by the construction of grade separation structures, by closing such intersecting highways at the right of way lines of the limited access highway, or by relocating such intersecting highways as in their judgment will best serve the public interest. Such authority includes the power to authorize the construction of local service highways parallel to limited access highways, in order to provide for access at designated points to abutting property, and to require the establishment by owners of such highways of communication facilities, vending machines, and parking spaces for the convenience of users of the highways.

In some countries, limited access highways are called motorways or rapid roads. The term "freeway" is sometimes used to refer to such highways in the United States, but this can be misleading because the term is usually used to describe Interstate Highways. In Australia, dual carriageways that connect capital cities and regional centres are almost always limited access highways, although the terms 'expressway' and 'freeway' may be used interchangeably on signage.


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