Roads-Transportation Revolution

Vanessa Shildt and Elise Schultz

Before improvement

Many roads were narrow trails that barley had enough room for a single wagon to ride on. Often the roads or trails had tree stumps that would take out an axle from under a wagon if the driver was not careful. Not only that, but the trails would also plunge through muddy swamps.


Slowly over time people began to improve the roads. They started to make the roads out of gravel and stone. To pay for these roads, tolls were collected from the travelers. Over time these toll roads became known as turnpikes.


In muddy and or swampy areas the roads were made of logs. These roads were known as Corduroy roads because the lines of logs looked like corduroy cloth. Corduroy roads were made of logs so that the wagons would not sink, but they made for a bumpy and noisy ride.

National Road

1806 was the first time that Congress approved funds for the national road-building project. Work on this road began in 1811 but was not finished until 1818 due to the War of 1812. The road stretched from Cumberland, Maryland to Wheeling and eventually extended to Illinois.
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Roads Today

Today roads contain many of the same qualities that they had in the 1800s. For example, today we still have turnpikes. They still collect tolls as you pass through. However, roads in the 1800s were made of gravel and stone, whereas today they are mostly constructed of asphalt and cement.