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English And American Roads

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Experimenta on the amount of tractive f orce required to move a load show that it will take elght horses to draw a truck aml load weighing 9,000 pounds on firm soil covered with gravel four to six inches deep. On earth embankment in good condition the work can be done by a forcé cqualing two and one-half horses. On broken stono road in good condition tlie same load can be hauled by a forcé of one and one-quarter horses, and on the sanie road in bad condition, with ruts four to four and one-half inches deep aml thick mud, five horses will bo reqiiired. But on a good, dry pavement one good horse can move the same load all day. On tho subject of good and bad roads the following from the pen of tho late Dr. J. G. Holland draws a comparison unfavorable to the existing road eystem in America: 'The point which I wish to impresa upon my American reader is simply this: that the English horse, employed in the streets of a city or on the roads of the country, does twice as much work as the American horse similarly employed in America. This is the patent, undeniable fact. No man can fail to seo it who has hts oves about him. How does he do it? Why does he do it? These are most important questions to an American. Is the English horse better than the American borse? Not at all. Is he overworked? I have seon no cvidence that he is. I have seen but one lame horso in London. The simple explanation is that the Englishman has invested in perfect and permanent roads what the American expends in perishable horses that require to bo fed. "We are using today in the littletown of Springfield just twice as many horses as would be necessary to do its business if the roads all over the town were as good as Main street is from Ferry to Central. We are supporting hundreds of horses to drag loads through holes that ought to be iilled, over sand that should be bardened, through mud that ought not to be permitted to exist. We have the misery of bad roads and are acl-ually or practically called upon to pay a premium for them. It would be strauly cheaper to have good roacls tlian poor ones. It is so liere. A road well built is easily kept in repair. A ínile of good macadamized road is more easüy supportcd than a poor horse." The expense of building good roacls is an important item, and the macadam is too expensive for country byways and i'M'l. and. in fact, is only feasiblë whcre travel is extensivo. mxhk. feet wide and 9 inches thick in the center requires 5,500 tons of broken stono to the ruiie. The cost of stono varies from 70 cents to $3 a ton, and this would bring the cost of surface material up to $3,850 to 11,000 a mile. A macadam road has recently been made near Philadelphia at an average of about $3,000 a milo for six miles, but there was a good foundation to work on. At Bridgeport, Conn., forty miles of good macadam, 18 to 20 feet wide, including grading, cost a trifle under 3,000 a mile. The committee on improvement of higlnvays, Rliode Island división of the League of American Wheelmen, reoently received two important letters upon the subject of good and bad roads which are of general interest. Ex-Governor llenry Iloward, of lïhodo Island, says: "I am very glad to learn that thero is soiue prospect of legislation in regard to our faulty highway systeui. When I returned from my first and prolonged viait to Europo I could scarcely believe. that I had all my life been. familiar with such roads as met my eye on my return. In no part of my tra vela had I seen roads bo poor as is the rule in our country towns; and I had been in some out of the way places, too. We are more "wasteful in this respect than in all other things put togethcr. Comparing the rural sections of Europe with thoso of our country, there. is no doubt, I think, but that a horse there performs doublé the duty he does hero, and thereforo is worth twice as much. It would bo the kighest economy to put all our roads in a permanently good condition. When it is once done the annual expense is as nothing to the money which is expended now without any beneficial results. There ia no class to which highways are bo advantageous as to farmers. If they could be induced to gi ve the subject sufficient consideration tlioy would soon put a stop to this egregious folly of 'working out the tas.'" Tho president of the Ehode Island Domestic Iudustry society writes: "As to the matter of highway proveniente, I tliink it is of the greatest injportanoe to the prosperity of our agricultura! communitiea that some chango sliould be mude in their care. "At present in some parts of our Btate there is a gradual shrinkago in the value of our farming property, owing, in my opinión, to the want of better highway communication. "In my own town, Scituate, we have about seventy-two miles of highway, dividcd into about sixty road districts, and in somo of these districts, I fear, the road taxes have been expended on the 'working out or standing out plan.' Last spring, at our annual town meeting, it was decided to make a cliange by appointing road conmissioners, the numLer not to exceed three. This chango takes effect this coming spring, and I hope that suitable road machinery may be supplied theni, so that our road taxe-s may bê used to better advantage. As to the present condition of the roads in our state there can be but one opinión - they need to be improved; as to how it should bo done I havo no plans. It might bo well for the lt'gislature to appoint a committee to tako the matter into consideration and reconimend some law that should be applicable throughout tlio btaie." Millions of dollars throughout the nortli and west have boen tied up thia fall and winter because of the mud bloekade, on the roads, This ought to set every one to thinking how it could be avoided, No ouo is responsible for the bad roads, but it is onfy a question of time when farmers, merchante and drivers will wake up to having their roads built as the bridges are, on a cash basis by a contractor under bonda, -


Old News
Ann Arbor Courier