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The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate And Defense Highways

1270 words - 5 pages

Highway Revolt
In the past seventy years the United States has evolved to become a nation of intricate roads and major superhighways. With 6,586,610 km of public roads the United States holds the leading position for the largest road network in the world. Creating such a monstrous change in a nation over a short period of time generated some disagreements between locals and politicians. In addition to disagreements, the undertaking of building an enormous network of highways held a vast number of unintended consequences. This essay demonstrates the effects and unintended consequences on locals when the government creates interstates, highways and other public roads in an area. In order to understand the background of locals revolts on various highways it is necessary to delve into the history of the highways and public road works of the United States. Additionally, it is necessary to investigate the manner in which these freeways were built, in doing so it will be more clear what caused various unintended consequences.
With production of cars increasing substantially in the early 20th century the idea of well maintained roads, or paved roads, began circulating. In 1895 there were 300 cars in the United States, and by 1905 there were 78,000, by 1914 there were 1.7 million automobiles. Although the number of vehicles in America was increasing dramatically, the number of paved roads stayed relatively low. The lack of roads led to Good Roads movements which sought to create reliable macadam paved roads throughout the United States. The first movement started in 1880 and lasted to 1921, originally for bicyclists, it had two separate parts; the first, from 1880 to 1900 and the second from 1900 to 1920. The former focused on building better roads to transport goods from farm to market while the latter focused on the comfort of driving the newly created automobile. By the teens of the 20th century the water-bound macadam roads were being destroyed by excessive use and an increase in power and weight of trucks. New roads would be made of concrete and bituminous macadam which lasted longer, but was significantly more expensive. The invention of a stronger pavement opened up new opportunities to the country and allowed for the continued advancement of the creation of roads. The second Good Roads movement started in 1921 and continued throughout the mid 1900’s until 1956. This movement was different in that it was vastly funded by the government. In 1918 President of the North Carolina Good Roads Association, W. A. McGirt, wrote the governor of North Carolina requesting a means to raise money to provide for the building of state roads. In his resolution to the issue he writes of “...the vital need for some system of taxation by which the building of a State System of roads in this State will be assured...” McGirth also recognized that “...Congress will undoubtedly make large Federal appropriations very soon for the building of National highways. [And...

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