One of the things Portugal has been known for since its accession to the EEC (now EU) is a proliferation of the number of constructed highways/freeways, with the progress in fast travel and road safety being sometimes shadowed by allegations of corruption in the construction process and the inclusion of tolls in previously toll-free roads.
[A] autoestrada is the name we give to these highways; in traffic signs, they’re recognizable by the blue background of the signs and the letter A followed by the road number. Autoestradas are also special due to the higher speeds one can travel there: a minimum of 50 kph (something unique to highways) and a maximum of 120 kph (the highest possible legal speed, which you’ll see infringed more often than not) for cars and motorcycles (trucks and buses operate at slightly lower speeds).
Portugal is also world-renowned for its Via Verde (lit. “Green Way”) system, which allows users to buy a small electronic device that’s attached to the windscreen and registers the value of a toll automatically in specific toll lanes, therefore allowing drivers to pass tolling areas without stopping, being billed the value of their toll at a different date (or using our also highly advanced electronic banking system, Multibanco, a word I’ll take a look at sometime in the future).
You can find out more about the Portuguese road system by reading this interesting article.
Related words/Useful sentences:
- [a] portagem: toll (the tax) / toll station (single booth used to pay tolls)
- [as] portagens: toll station area (row of toll booths, and the area they’re in)
- [a] velocidade: speed
- [a] estação de serviço: rest area
- [o] troco: change [money given back when a customer hand over more than the exact value of the service]
- [os] trocos: loose change [loose coins/bills a person has on them]
- ter dinheiro trocado: to have enough money to pay the exact value of the bill/tax/fine without the need for paying more (therefore not creating the need for the service giver to hand out troco in return)
- trocar dinheiro: to exchange money in the same amount to create loose change (for example, to exchange a 20 € bill for four 5 € bills or two 10 € bills)
- A A1 [autoestrada n.º 1] liga Lisboa ao Porto. A1 [highway 1] connects Lisbon and Oporto.
- [Vocês] Querem parar na próxima estação de serviço antes de continuarmos a viagem? Would you like to stop at the next rest area before we continue our trip?
- Tens dinheiro trocado para a pagar a portagem? Do you have enough change to pay the toll tax?