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Benefits Derived from Good Roads

condition, rural, business, social and ment

BENEFITS DERIVED FROM GOOD ROADS.

The condition of the public highways is a matter of the most vital interest to any rural community. Upon it depends largely the social life and enjoyment of the people living in the country as well as the ability to market the products of the farm to the best advantage.

In nearly all parts of the country the roads are fairly good during a portion of the year; but there is also usually a period when they are very bad, in very many localities becoming practically impassable. The improvement of the road surfaces and the use of systematic maintenance would make the roads better at all times, making it possible to haul larger loads over them and rendering them more pleasant to travel; but the most important object of road improvement is to eliminate the period when roads are not in condition to use and make it possible to drive upon them and haul loads over them at all times.

The benefits of good roads may be classified as social, educational, and financial. They promote social inter course among the residents of a country district by making travel easy and pleasant. Where the roads become impassable during a portion of the year, the residents are practically isolated at the period of greatest leisure and lose that intercourse with their neighbors which is a most important means of enjoy ment and development. Attendance at church and public meetings is facilitated by good roads. There are many localities where the condition of the roads practically closes the churches during a considerable portion of each year, and in some instances they have been so deserted on this account as to be abandoned. The rural mail delivery also depends for its efficiency upon the good condition of the roads.

The consolidation of rural schools and establish ment of rural high schools, made possible by good roads, is an important advance in educational methods, and places rural communities more nearly on an equality with the cities in educational advantages offered to children.

Roads which can be traveled all the year admit of marketing the products of the farm at any. time which may be most advantageous, enabling the farmer to take advantage of favorable market conditions and prices, or to transport his products at a convenient season, when he can do the work without interference with other duties of men and teams.

The condition of the highways has also considerable effect upon the business of the towns into which they may lead; where they are uniformly good throughout the year mercantile business will be better distributed between different seasons, and a larger volume of business will be transacted. The same effect is pro duced upon railway transportation. Congestion in rail way business and scarcity of cars is frequently the result of the hurried marketing of crops to take advan tage of a good condition of the wagon roads, and a much better distribution of business might be obtained through an improved condition of the highways. The area tributary to a town or a railway may also frequently be considerably extended by road improve ment.

The greatest benefits derived from good roads are in the increased comfort, convenience, and pleasure of the people living near them, and in the social and edu cational advantages which they make possible and which add greatly to the attractiveness and happiness of rural life.