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Modern Road Management.'

22nd October 1908
Page 5
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Page 5, 22nd October 1908 — Modern Road Management.'
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The author has been asked, as surveyor to a central county, to write an article upon this, one of the most urgent, and at this time one of the most serious, public questions of the day, and, in complying, does so with a certain amount of confidence, for he feels that at the present time the county of Notts is suffering to an almost greater extent than any other county in England, in consequence of the altered requirements of the main roads through the advent of selfpropelled traffic. Notts is undoubtedly a centrat county, and it is of interest to point out to those who are in touch with such figures that there are at the present time registered within a radius of 5o miles of Nottingham nearly 400 motor lorries, practically 8,000 pleasure cars, and over 9,000 motorcycles. Then, again, there are no less than 13 heavy traction engines licensed to be used on the highways in this county alone, and 223 heavy traction engines registered which are used for agricultural purposes only. But, added to these, last year Notts was inflicted with the visits of 535 outside licensed traction engines, that have visited the county with daily permits.

It is difficult to the uninitiated to appreciate what this altered traffic really means, and to endeavour, before a body of road experts—men fully alive to the altered condition— to explain the past history of road maintenance, and the necessity of alterations in those systems seems somewhat labouring the question when all must agree that alterations are necessary. For many years past the tendency has been, at any rate until the county councils came into existence, too often to allow the main roads of England to deteriorate, and even where this deterioration has not taken place, the past history and surface construction of the roads themselves now show the construction is not suitable to bear the present type of traffic.

We are still told of the magnificent roads our forefathers constructed, but where they are few can now imagine. No reliable history proves that those.roads were even in anything like as good a condition as those of the present day now so loudly condemned, but if those roads of, say, 3o years ago had then been called upon to bear the present-day traffic, it is morally certain there would have been a still louder outcry F.xcernts from paper presented before the Congres.s by E. Purnell Hooky. M.Inst.C.C., President of the Incorporated Association of Municipal and minty Engineers.

than at present, if not actual acts of violence being perpetrated in consequence of the interference with the public rights, and the annoyance caused through the action of our present road destroyers.

The weather and traffic deal with the face of the roads, and it is the duty of road authorities to make not only the face but the whole road of such a construction as can be said economically and efficiently to withstand all that the roads are called upon to bear, be it weather or traffic. The public and general idea is that dust is formed entirely by the wear of the surface of the road, and the whole civilised world has been, ever since the advent of self-propelled traffic, crying out for something to abolish the dust nuisance. If dust were caused by the surface contact of traffic and weather alone, it 'night not be so difficult or expensive to deal with; but, if a worn-out or wearing-out road is carefully examined, it will be found that an enormous amount of the dust is formed of the disintegrated internal road formation. None of the stone remains in its original cubical condition, for nearly every particle of stone that remains is round and resembles a pebble on the seashore. This is caused by the water-bound road losing its hold on each particle in dry or freezing weather, and that which was once solid and rigid becomes practically throughout a moving mass, which, with heavy traffic, becomes a hopeless and expensive, and if not an impassable, a bad road. The worn fragments cannot sink through the foundation, but must come to the surface to pass off in dust or to be removed, if the road is under efficient management, in mud, which if left creates a great nuisance and source of wasteful extravagance.

It has been truly said that weather is the best road maker, and it might be added road destroyer. If the season is a severe one, with roads constructed of the ordinary macadam, the first self-propelled vehicle that passes over the road surface helps to disintegrate it, and thus makes an opening that to often allows the road to become saturated through to its foundation, or want of foundation. This is the preliminary step for destruction, and if the self-propelled vehicles happen to be a succession of motorcars, followed by the massive traction engine, the fate of the road is assured from the moment the heavy vehicle has passed over its surface. The first type of traffic slightly opens the face of the road, and the second cuts it right through, with the result that

the road becomes absolutely useless for ordinary traffic, or else most expensive to maintain.

The space of a paper such as this is too small to enter into all of the points of detail, but every practice] road engineer is convinced that traffic such as now uses the main roads can only be dealt with by a far different system of road management to that which has hitherto been meted out. The author has tried every ordinary system of road making that it is possible to try on country roads, and has arrived at the conclusion that the only possible means of making a reliable road, suitable for all classes of traffic at all times, is that which has been carried out by the County Council of Notts in several parts of the county. This type of road means instead of allowing the road to wear itself out by attrition, weather, or traffic, and encourage the maximum of dust, entirely to alter the method of surface construction, and if the general public would consider the eost of roads in the only real and satisfactory manner--i.e., at per yard super. instead of at per mile—it would be found even this altered construction in its initial outlay would bear ,00d comparison with the present dust-producingexpensive methods. The road is known as a tarmac road, and costs practically 2S, ud, per yard super. to form on top of an old road ; it has been proved to last nine years, with practically no cost in material for repairs. Roads that previously have been repaired each year with granite which at its initial outlay meant is. 6d. per yard super. have been reconstructed with tarmac zit a cost of 2S. 6d., and have stood at the present time six winters, with practically no repair. Other engineers can perhaps speak and write on the requirements of town roads far better than the author, but all will agree in the contention that ordinary macadam roads are out of the question to stand the present-day traffic, that even granite setts will not long stand traction engines constructed as they are at present, and until something better is discovered no road is so economical and satisfactory as the road composed of properly-tarred material applied in an efficient and sensible manner.

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