American Road Building - Fifty Years of Progress

by Herbert W. Busching, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. and Head; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Clemson Univ., Clemson, S.C.,
Randolph Russell, Asst. to Exec. Vice Pres.; American Road Builders' Association, Washington, D. C.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1975, Vol. 101, Issue 3, Pg. 565-581

Document Type: Journal Paper


Large portions of the nation's highway mileage have been constructed or surfaced during the past 50 yr. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of l9l6, subsequent legislation, user taxes, and materials and equipment development have facilitated these improvements. A decade-by-decade account of principal road building activities notes rapid expansion in the l920's. The l930's were characterized by reduced activity, as early attempts to combat the economic depression and high unemployment by reducing highway spending were later complemented by public works programs involving road building. The Second World War reduced highway and bridge construction appropriations; however, the completion and use of a portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was significant and was imitated and improved by many states in the l950's. The establishment of the Highway Trust Fund in the late l950's was followed by rapid development and growth of the interstate highway system.

Subject Headings: Infrastructure construction | Highways and roads | Highway bridges | Federal government | Legislation | Taxation | Economic factors | Employment | Pennsylvania | United States

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