Wednesday, June 8, 2016

U.S. Roads Poorer than France's Roads, 1910

“How to Improve Roads” reprinted from the Progressive Farmer magazine in the Thursday, June 23, 1910, issue of the Watauga Democrat.
To show what we are paying for bad roads, to an extract from a recent report on the United States Senate committee on agriculture, which has been investigating this matter, may be given.
“Over the bad roads of the United States a team of in the worst hauling season is able to transport on average only about 800 or 900 pounds while in France every good draft horse is expected to be able to draw 3,306 pounds a distance of 18 ½ miles any day of the year.”
In spite of these facts the United States only spends about $90,000,000 a year from all sources on public road building. We spend more than that on our navy, more on our army and more for pensions for soldiers in these days of peace. We have reached the point for action, the time for mere talk has passed.
In this connection we wish to again state that the indifference of the south to the value of the split-log road drag is beyond understanding. It is no longer an experiment. It is cheap, and consequently practically our only available means of maintaining good roads, and yet we ignore it almost completely. We must for generations depend on dirt roads throughout the greater part of the south. Hard surface roads are better, but too expensive, in most sections, for many years to come. In the split log drag we have a simple means of maintaining our dirt roads in good condition at a trifling expense after they have been drained and shaped, and yet we refuse to avail ourselves of this proved method. Some have explained that the reason is that the drag is too simple. It is a fact that no one can appreciate its value who has not seen it properly used, but it does seem that we should learn more quickly. If the split-log drag were an experiment, there might be some reason in the failure of our road authorities to begin its use, but when any method has been proved the best known, by hears of extensive trial, the failure to adopt it, by those having the care of our roads, is simply inexcusable stupidity.
Send a postal for Farmers’ bulletin No. 321, “The Use of the Split-Log Drag on Earth Roads” and start agitating the matter among your neighbors.

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