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Width

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WIDTH. Under this head will be considered primarily the width of the right of way, the width of the wheelway, or improved portion, being considered later, in the chapter relating to the par ticular road surface.

The legal width of right of way varies greatly in different states. In an early day, before any attempt was made to improve the wheel way, the legal width was often 100 feet, and sometimes 10 rods (162i feet). In some of the states where land is cheap, the former width still prevails to some extent. In most of the states of the Mississippi Valley, particularly those in which the land was divided according to the system of U. S. public land surveys, the legal width of right of way is usually 66 feet. A few of these states classify the roads, making the less frequented ones narrower; for example, in Texas the widths of first, second, and third class roads are 60, 30, and 20 feet respectively. In the earlier settled states along the Atlantic coast, 3 rods (494- feet) is a common width, although some of the less frequented roads are only 2 rods (33 feet) wide.

If the surface is loam or clay, a considerable width of traveled way is required that the traffic may not cut the surface up so badly when it is soft. This is probably the explanation of the 60 or 66 feet so common in the Mississippi Valley. In some of the states, for example, Illinois, the law specifies that, "if possible," a strip equal in width to one tenth of the right of way shall be reserved for pedestrians on each side between the property line and the ditch.

This leaves 53 feet for the wheelway and ditches, which is probably none too much for a loam or clay road. If the ditches are deep and consequently wide, the sidewalk is usually curtailed rather than the wheelway.

In Massachusetts the roads improved by state aid usually have a width of right of way of 50 feet, and in localities where there was a possibility of space being required by an electric road they are 60 feet, the latter being considered sufficient to accommodate a double track electric road, wagon ways, and sidewalks.

In England the principal roads, especially those near popu lous cities, are laid out 66 feet wide, 20 or 22 feet being covered with broken stone. Telford's celebrated Holyhead road, a model road for a hilly country, has a width of 32 feet in flat country and 22 feet along steep ground and precipices.

In Holland the usual width is 38 feet,of which 14 feet is improved. In France the standard widths are as follows, to the nearest foot: Cross Section. The cross section of a road depends upon the material of the road surface, and hence will be considered in the respective chapters following.