Winston Churchill Avenue cuts directly across the runway of the Gibraltar airport

Winston Churchill Avenue is one of the busiest roads in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. The avenue cuts directly across the runway of Gibraltar Airport. If having to be cautious of other drivers wasn't enough, on Gibraltar's Winston Churchill Avenue, you have to watch out for planes too.

Winston Churchill Avenue

What’s Winston Churchill Avenue?

Located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Winston Churchill Avenue serves as a vital artery for traffic entering and leaving Gibraltar from Spain. It is one of the busiest roads in the territory, facilitating the movement of vehicles, including cars, buses, and trucks. The avenue is named after Sir Winston Churchill, the renowned British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II.

Why is Winston Churchill Avenue famous?

One notable landmark along Winston Churchill Avenue is Gibraltar International Airport. The road passes directly across the airport's runway, making it one of the few major roads in the world to intersect with an active airport runway. Traffic is regularly halted when aircraft take off or land, resulting in a unique traffic management system. This arterial road intersects the airport's runway at surface level. It’s one of the world's airport runways intersecting a road (there’s another in Tasmania). What probably makes it most unique is having the main road connecting Gibraltar to Spain, Winston Churchill Avenue, go right over the runways. The road cuts through the airport, used by passenger and military planes alike. It's the only road connecting Gibraltar to Spain and is by far Gibraltar's busiest road, so there's no escaping the drive among jumbo jets if you want to enter or exit the territory by road. Every time an aircraft lands, the road is closed for a few minutes and railroad-style crossing gates hold back the cars.

How dangerous is Winston Churchill Avenue for planes?

The airport was constructed during World War II. It’s considered to be in the top 5 for the most dangerous airports to land or take off from, because of its relatively short runway with the sea at each end. The runway crosses the main road into town, so when an aircraft needs to use it, the barriers come down to stop traffic and pedestrians - just like at a railway crossing!