Original Name: Ledo Road
Location: India to Burma to China
Built in: 1942-44
Stillwell Road is a 430 km long road, built in 1944 AD, by the British General Vinegar Joe Stillwell. At that time, it was considered to be the costliest road in the world. The prime aim of constructing this road was to maintain the supply line to China, from Ledo Railhead in Assam, during the World War II. During the early part of 1942, the country of Burma was occupied by the Japanese troops and they cut off all forms of road communication to China. The British troops, on the other hand, retreated to Assam.
In order to recover Burma and continue the supply line to China, a joint command called the South East Asiatic Command with British, America and China was formed in Assam. General Joseph W. Stilwell was the Deputy Supreme Commander of the project. The General was the special representative of the American President Roosevelt and was entrusted with the additional responsibilities of providing supplies to the Chinese forces of General Issimo Shiang Kaishek. This prompted the General to lay out the plan for the construction of the Stillwell road.
The planning of the Stillwell road started in the February 1942 and it was initially named the Ledo Road. The total length of the road was around 1079 miles and it connected many important places between Ledo in Assam and Kunming in China. The construction was finally completed by October 1944, within a record time of two and a half years. Out of the total length, around 60 km falls in India, 1000 km in Myanmar and more than 600 km in China. However, parts of the road have disappeared, mainly because of a lack of maintenance.
Even after the end of the World War II, Stillwell road was kept open for civilians and tourists with a Central Excise and Land Customs Post. However, due to the adverse environmental conditions like heavy landslides, the road became inaccessible for tourists and travelers and was handed over first to the Assam Government and later to the NEC. Although the road was originally coined as the Ledo road, it was later dedicated to the memory of General Stilwell, for the services that he rendered during its construction. Due to its unique history, people all around the world come to visit the road and get a feel of the colonial era.