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Road Improvements

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Editor Argus : - In a conversation with John J. Robison, Esq., of this city, about the improvement of our roads, he informed me that our present governor, before his nomination, mentioned to Mr. Robison, who stated, that the people of Michigan were using Mr. Winans' name in connection with the gubernatorial office; that, if elected, he (Mr. Winans), would like to leave as the monument of his record, improved roads. ín his willingness and good purpose to give the state a better and uniform system of road making, all good citizens, no matter what political color, should hold up the hands of the governor. Our Washtenaw Pomological Society discussed the road question during last year. The professors of civil engineering of the State University and Junius E. Beal took a prominent part in this discussion. Allow me to give a few gleanings from their discourses. Mr. Beal: The state should build some roads between the large cities by general taxation on corporations, city people and farmers alike. A state commissioner of roads and bridges should be appointed, who should be an engineer. He should visit the counties and supervise improvements, through county road commissioners who should be appointed by the supervisors. The county officer should not be elected for he should be an engineer, (who could be the county surveyor also). Naturally we could not get good roads everywhere at once, but we may do as Canada has done, that is build a part at a time. She has been at it for thirty years and now has far better roads than are dreamed of on this side. As an educator, a stone crusher should be purchased by the city or several townships and a few roads built in a proper manner which would show our people what a grand thing a good road is. To an enquirer, whether ourgranite boulders could be broken up, Prof. Charles E. Greene answered in the affirmative. They are used in other places and make the best roads, surpassing lime stone or any other material. Prof. J. B. Davis:- It is of little consequence, (at first), what a road is made of if it is kept dry. The railroads understand this. Watch them. As traffic becomes heavier or speedier, use gravel, then broken stone, then asphalt. But never forget to keep the road-bed dry. To do that you need an engineer or some such person. We have in this county and many others in the state heaps of small boulders, regular eyesores on the highways, in fence corners or in fields, which broken up would make the best macadam. For the first time in my life I witnessed lately in Pennsylvania a portable stone breaker in operation with a threshing machine engine as motor. It was 7x18, operating in jaws, requires five horsepower and worked up 65 tons of lime stone in ten hours. It did not shatter the stone but broke it up like the hand hammer. It broke granite boulders as well. It was stated by the overseer that this crusher could easily be changed from a coarse to a fine and from a fine crusher to a pulverizer in a few minutes, so that it could be used in preparing fertilizers. Would like to see a mulch of pulverized lime stone among our peach trees and graperies. Such an educator here and there on our highway would do wonders. It would even pay some large farmers to own such a machine ointly for the improvement of roads on or near their own farms. The overseer stated that this crusher cost a trifle over $400 at the factory at Pittsburgh. From what I have read of our governor I have the impression that he is a man of a few weighty words, which have a meaning. In order to support him in his praiseworthy attempt to give the state good roads, petitions from all parts of the state should besiege the present legislature. Our own society passed a resolution that "we rrill earnestly ask the legislature to make such aws as will bring about a reform in the improvement of our highways." I am aware that increasing the taxes of the farmers, who have a heavy burden to bear anyway, is to be considered. But if the taxes would be shared by corporations and city people the burden would be more tolerable, especially if we consider that all would be equally benefitted by an easier and speedier transportation. The statement of Mr. Beal that "land values could be increased at least ten dollars per acre :or farms connected with town by roads which would carry full loads the year round, while conservative estimates show that each farmer would save fifteen dollars' worth of time, wear and tear of wagons, harness and horseflesh annually," must mpress itself on every candid mind. The very horses and beasts that have :o travel our roads would praise us, if we support the governor of our state in this good cause. Ann Arbor, Feb. 2, 1891.