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roads, surface, improvement and construction

ORDINARY country roads may be as earth roads, gravel roads, and broken-stone roads. The larger number of common roads throughout this coun try belong of necessity to the first class. In a few of the more enterprising communities the more important roads are constructed of gravel or broken stone.

The percentage of roads of the better class is, how ever, very small, and although there has recently been a distinct improvement in this particular, the inability of rural communities to at once raise the funds neces sary for the general construction of first-class new roads will cause their increase to be very gradual.

Improvement in country roads may be of several kinds: (I) Changes in location, by which better alignment or better gradients may be obtained, or .by which the natural conditions of surface or drainage may be im proved. This has been discussed in Chapter III.

(2) Reconstruction of the road-bed, as in regrading steep slopes to give lighter gradients, or in raising the road-bed across low and wet places to provide for drainage.

(3) The construction of artificial drainage where a road is built over ground which is likely to become soft in wet weather, or where water may reach the road-bed from underground sources. This has been discussed in Chapter II.

(4) Improvement of the surface, which may consist in re-forming the surface of natural earth, or in the construction of an artificial surface or pavement, the latter of which will be discussed in separate chapters.

The more important lines of travel leading out from the towns will gradually be improved by the con struction of broken-stone or other permanent roads, but this constitutes but a small percentage of the total mileage, and the problem in common-road improve ment is for the most part that of making the most of the roads that exist, rather than reconstructing them with new material. The materials and funds imme diately available must be used to secure as much im provement as possible.

Earth roads, under the most favorable conditions, do not usually attain a high degree of efficiency, and are not economical under any considerable traffic. They are, however, capable of much improvement and need, not become, as they frequently do, practically useless during a large portion of the year. This im provement must be gradual and come about through the adoption of more rational methods of maintenance, rather than through immediate reconstruction of the road surfaces.