Roads and Bridges

Timmins, Geoff (2022) Roads and Bridges. In: The Oxford Handbook of Industrial Archaeology. Oxford University Press (OUP), pp. 357-372. ISBN 9780199693962

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Discussion of road improvements in Britain during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has been concerned with methods of improving road surfaces and realigning road routes. As this chapter demonstrates, both were matters that provoked considerable disagreement amongst contemporaries as they strove to find ways of accommodating ever-growing volumes of horse-drawn passenger and goods vehicles. Regarding road surfaces, Thedebate debate took place on whether broken stone was preferable to various types of block paving made either from stone or wood and, during the Victorian era, whether asphalt provided a better option. As to realignment, which involved easing gradients, a matter in which bridge building played an important role, along with road widening and straightening, were key matters that engaged attention. Examples from various parts of the England are used to show the types of improvements made and the varying impact they had, recognizing both the topographical and financial constraints that applied.

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