Asphalt and Politics: A History of the American Highway by Thomas L. Karnes

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By Thomas L. Karnes

From animal paths to superhighways, transportation has been the spine of yank growth and progress. This exam of the interstate road method within the usa, and the forces that formed it, comprises the creation of the car, the great Roads stream, and the Lincoln street organization. The booklet bargains an research of country and federal highway investment, glossy road-building thoughts, and the successes and screw ups of the present street process.

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Within a week one truck was sent home because of its inability to handle the water damage. One day in North Carolina, the drivers accomplished 98 miles, the longest achievement of the tour, but generally the drivers (apparently all of them civilians) concluded that the North Carolina roads were worse than those of Virginia. A “continuous stretch of deep mud and bad holes” meant an average of two miles per hour some days. Near Greensboro the mud was so deep the cars smashed their tail lamps. Much of the drivers’ time was spent waiting for parts to replace those damaged by the roads.

Today the main highway still passes from Salt Lake City through Wendover and on to Reno, while the Seiberling cut-off is a scarcely traveled back road. In highway matters, the federal government was finally becoming almost as powerful as the LHA. 40 Asphalt and Politics Major change was coming to the LHA in several ways. In 1920, with his bride of seven months, Henry Ostermann undertook his twenty-first crossing of the United States. On June 7, they were in Tama, Iowa; after dinner he left for business in Marshalltown, his wife staying behind.

The worst roads the army could find were in the upper south, in late winter. The itinerary meandered from Ft. Meyer to Ft. Benjamin Harrison. The trucks carried military supplies, including mule shoes and sand. After several equipment delays, the trucks left the District of Colum- 24 Asphalt and Politics bia on February 7 and encountered bad roads before reaching Alexandria, Virginia. Ice and mud forced the frequent use of block and tackle to pull the trucks out of ditches. Most streams and rivers had to be forded.

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