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Neglected Roads

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In an addressdelivfered before the stato board of agriculture at its recent annAal meeting In Etarrisburg, says The Philadelphia Record, Henry W. Eratz, of Sehwenkaville, made a powerful argu: upon tho advantages whlch both i.iwn mil country derive from good suburban roada: "The rise in values of land in those portions of Montgomery and Delaware counties lying near to tho city of Philadelphia," said ho, "is to a largo extent doe to the eonstruotion of good ru.uK whicli huvegreatüy enlarged the territory suitable for suburban residences. Millions of dollars have thus been addcd to the Wealth of those counties. In otlier iartfe of this state thcro are farms f re mi eight fco ten miles from any town or railroad, whosc value is at a minimum, not because of any lack of fertility, good building or any othei thing which makes a farm inherently valuablo, bntsixaply becanse of the inaccessibility through the pooi' roads. If located near a good road those farms would at once become more valúatele. One might as well live on an island :is on a farm that is practically cut off from town, railroad and postoffice by bad roads during at least four nionths i?i the year. ■■It is sometimes argued that the enorjnous expansión of our railway systeni lias led to a corresponding neglectof our ordinary roads; tlvit we are no langer dependen) on wagons and horses i'or the transportation of freight and passengers trom city to city. This assertion furnishes no good reason i'or negloct of roads, for it is an indisputable fact that 99 per cent. of the freight that is transported by rail or water has to be hauled over a road or street to the railroad station, and the sanie is true of the freight af ter i t reaohes its destination. '■All ourtrade organizations in natural producto must fiiid their way over a highway bef ore thèycan reach market and obtain their value; and thorefore good roads at all seaaons of the year are a necessity for the greater prosperity of town and country. And I can seo no reason .why the common road system shoull not in some degree at least receive the same kind of attention and concern which the development and improvement of thé raihvay and stvamship gystems have received. The saving and cost of transportation wliich a good road makes over a poot one is mach greater than most people suppose, and the oost often determines the questton of profil or loss. "In the census of 1880 an attempt was made to get a fair estímate of the average cost of hauling grain from the farm to the railroad station. The estímales returned varied greatly, from 30 cents to $'i for hauling 100 bushels one mile. But it appeared that the average cost of hauling 100 bushels one mile was 60 cents at least. In most of the western wheat regiona it wa.s stated thatif wheat has to be hauled more than righteen or twenty miles to reach a railroad or water this land carriage, in ordinary years, eats up the profits of culture. According to the estimates received, it costs the ordinary farmer more to carry each bushcl of wheat a mile than it does tho ordinary railroad to carry a ton. "This matter of hauling at a heavy expense has incited a geat deal of attention in the western Btates, and some interesting estimates have been made by experts in Illinois, a state whoso topography is generally level, and would, therefore, seem to be favorable to good roads. These experts calculated that for two-thirds of the year not more than one-half can be hanled of what in the best season is considered a good load. This mea:is that a horse whose earnings would be $150 a year on good roads can earn only $100 on pxr roads. Professor Ely has estimated that poor roads cost the farmer on an average at least $1" per horse a year. "In 'Gilmore's Practical Treatise on Roads, Streets and Improvements' the following table, resulting from trials made with a dynamometer attached to a wagon moving at a slow pace apon a level, is given to show the force of traction in poonda apon several different kinds of road surfaco in fair condition, the weight of wagon and load being ono ton of 2,240 pounda: Pounda On b'Iford road -10 On road cuverud with six inches of brokta stoues laiJ on :oncroUi foundations 5."Ou road made with thiok ouatiug of gravel luid on earth, from 140 to 147 On common earth road 2U0 "This shows that it requires three times as mach force to pull a load overa common country road as one macadamizad, and more than four times as much power as on a telford or one of brokèn stone on a concrete foundation. "When it is remeinbered that through tho greater part of the year the country roads are in poor condition, some idea inay be gained of tho immense loss in horse power which they cause to the farmer. It is plain, therefore, that when the roads are so improved that a farmer can get over tifteen miles of good road with no more trouble and expenditure of horse power than is required over ten miles of bad road, live miles have been added to the territory tribiitary to tho city's market, and that the advantage is, therefore, mutual between town and country. But in the face of these facts, it seenis that the solution of this question must in a great measure be solved by long and constant agitation and labored effort to show by mathematical demonstration that good roads are advantageous and economical. "This method of molding and educating public opinión to such nceded reform seems inconsistent and reprehensible. But as long as people are so willing to endure the great inconvenience and loss which they sustain from the mud road the prospect for road reform is not bright, and educating the people upon this subject must continue. This inexcusable and pernicious method of road making and repairing from year to year without a partido of improvement, is beyond one's compreïiension or reconciliation, and can only be explained, if explained at all, upon tho erroneous principie of cheapness."


Old News
Ann Arbor Courier