Trans-Taiga, The road to the end of the world (with Map & Photos)

The Trans-Taiga Road is a road that starts from nowhere and ends in the middle of nowhere. It is 666 kilometers long and the only way to get out of it once you have entered it is to retrace your own tracks. If you dare to go through it, it is very likely that you will not meet anyone along the way. In fact, if you happen to run into someone, it is very likely that you wish you hadn't. And if you run into trouble while you're running it, your chances of survival are, I'm sorry to say, slimmer than you'd like to hear. It is possibly the loneliest and most isolated road on planet Earth. The Trans-Taiga Highway.

Trans-Taiga Road
Trans-Taiga Road

In the beginning it was Hydro Quebec. Canada is the country with the largest freshwater reserve in the world, or the second if we count as such the kilometers of ice that cover Greenland. In Quebec alone, the area occupied by lakes and rivers exceeds 150,000 square kilometers; If we count all of Canada, the figure is close to 900,000 km2, an area that alone would put the country on the list of the 30 largest on the planet. With such figures on the table, it is not surprising that Canada is a power in hydroelectric generation. In the 1960s, various expeditions commissioned by electricity companies toured the Labrador Peninsula to explore the feasibility of hydroelectric generation in the area. After the nationalization of the sector, in the early 1970s, the state-owned Hydro Quebec decided to build the largest hydroelectric complex in the world at the time: The James Bay Project.

Trans-Taiga Road
Trans-Taiga Road

Building eight hydroelectric stations in northern Quebec is not easy. In fact, building literally anything in the area in the 1970s was a logistical challenge. In the 1970s, the Nord-du-Quebec region had around 30,000 inhabitants spread over almost 900,000 square kilometres, a population density 30 times lower than that of Mongolia at the same time. The road infrastructure ended a few kilometers above the 49th parallel, the southern limit of the territory. And the La Grande River, on which the hydroelectric plants were to be built, is several hundred kilometers further north. So there was no way to transport the huge amount of material needed for the project, except, of course, to build roads. And that was what they did.

Trans-Taiga Road
Trans-Taiga Road

Before even reaching the place where the Trans-Taiga Road begins, you have to get between your chest and back 544 kilometers of asphalt; almost the entire length of the James Bay Highway or James Bay Road. At its southern end is Matagami (population 1,500) and in the north Radisson (population 500, almost all of them Hydro Quebec workers and their families). In between, 620 kilometers of nothing at all, with a single service station, yes, open 24 hours. Was cBuilt between 1971 and 1974 through an almost completely uninhabited area and the connections with it, generally through gravel roads of tens of kilometers, were the first land link for many Cree and Inuit communities, the two native groups that make up the virtually the entire population of Nord-du-Quebec. The road has little traffic; the entire area it runs through is populated by less than twenty thousand people. When leaving Matagami there is a traveler's register in case one disappears, so that it is known when he was last seen. 

Trans-Taiga Road Map