Transportation revolution

The Cumberland Road

This was the road built by the federal government. It ran from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling, a town on the Ohio River in present-day West Virginia. Construction began in 1815. Workers had to cut a 66-foot-wide band, sometimes through forest, to make way for the road. They had to use shovels and pickaxes to dig a 12 to 18 inch roadbed, which they filled with crushed stone. All of this was done without the benefit of today's bulldozers and steamrollers.

Roads Now

Thomas Telford and John Loudon McAdam are credited with the first modern roads. Today in America, most of our roadways and streets are paved with asphalt concrete. Trucks travel on roads now a days better than they used to because the roads are more durable then before. Especially with highways because they can't be made out of wood or stone because they aren't strong enough to support the heavy cars. They need to be made out of concrete and steel to hold the heavy cars.

Roads Back Then

Roads back in the day could of been made of stone or wood. In the mid 1700s, John Metcalfe made roads in three layers: large stones, a mixture of road material, and a layer of gravel. The main roads of colonial towns were laid with cobblestones obtained from ship ballast. Gravel and blocks made of wood or granite were also used for some road paving in the nineteenth-century towns.

Corduroy Roads

Private companies in the United States built gravel and stone roads. To pay for these roads, the companies collected tolls from travelers. They called these toll roads turnpikes. The best road in the United States was the Lancaster Turnpike.
VDOT: Hampton Roads, Then and Now