This paper presents a technique for detection of roads in a spaceborne SAR image using a genetic algorithm. Roads in a spaceborne SAR image can be modelled as curvilinear structures with some thickness. Curve segments, which represent candidate positions of roads, are extracted from the image using a curvilinear structure detector, and roads are detected accurately by grouping those curve segments. For this purpose, we designed a grouping method based on a genetic algorithm (GA), which is one of the global optimization methods, combined perceptual grouping factors with it, and tried to reduce its overall computational cost by introducing an operation of thresholding and a concept of region growing. To detect roads more accurately, postprocessing, including noisy curve segment removal, is performed after grouping. We applied our method to ERS-1 SAR images that have a resolution of about 30 meters, and the experimental results show that our method can detect roads accurately, and is much faster than a globally applied GA approach.