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some places to the height of six, seven, and eight feet; these prevent the water from falling into the side drains, and also throw a considerable shade upon the road, and are great and unpardonable nuisances. The materials, instead of being cleaned of the mud and soil with which they are mixed in their native state, are laid promiscuously on the road: this in the first place creates an unnecessary expense of carriage of soil to the road, and afterwards nearly as much in removing it, besides inconvenience and obstruction to travelling.”
The committee of 1819 attributing, by their report, the imperfect state of the roads to the negligent and culpable conduct of the trustees who had the management of them, roused the attention of the public to the subject, and thus led to the introduction of an improved system of management. But although a considerable change for the better has taken place since 1819, many of the defects described by Mr. Telford still remain ; and all that has been done towards removing them falls far short of what ought to to have been done to put the turnpike roads into complete order.
In improving old roads, nearly the same objects should be attended to as are to be secured in making new ones ; such, for instance, as the
direction, the longitudinal inclinations, the breadth, form, and hardness of the surface, the drainage, and the fencing.
For the purpose of ascertaining in what respect an old road is complete or defective in these points, the following queries have been prepared. The answers that can be given to them will at once show what is the state of a road.
1st. Is the direction of the road in the shortest line that can be found without having to pass over steep hills or other obstacles ?
2d. What are the rates of inclination on the hills ? Is there no more ascent in the road than is necessary for reaching the heights of the country which must be crossed ?
3d. What is the breadth of the road? Is it every where the same? Is it defined by side channels, having along them curb stones or borders of grass sods ?
4th. Are the channels on each side of the road on the same level ? Is the convexity of the surface uniformly the same in every part along the whole length of the road ?
5th. Is there a footpath ? What is the height of it above the side of the road ? What is its breadth? Of what materials is it composed ?
6th. Is there any waste land between the road
and the fences of the road? In what state is it ?
7th. Is the surface of the road higher than that of the adjacent fields ?
Sth. Of what materials does the crust of the road consist ? What is the depth of them in the centre of the road, and at a distance of five feet on each side of the centre?
9th. Are there sufficient drains for carrying off all rain and other water ?
10th. Are the fences low? Are they raised on ground of the same level on both sides of the road? Are they of the same height on both sides, and parallel to each other?
The answers which can be given to these queries will show what the defects are of any road to which they are applied, and what is requisite to be done to improve it.
With respect to the turnpike roads as they now are, it will be found upon an inspection of them, that in regard to their direction, they are universally defective. Scarcely any road between two places is in the best line with respect to distance and hills. The reason of this is, that the present lines of roads are the same, except those of roads made of late years, as they were, when first established by the aboriginal inhabitants of the country, as footways
Let a map be made of the road from London to Edinburgh, to Carlisle, to Liverpool, or to any distant town, and this fact will be fully sustained.
The first step which should be taken towards the improvement of the principal roads of the kingdom, is the making of surveys of the mail coach roads : this work should be done by government. The engineers employed should also be required to make plans and estimates for the improvements which may appear to be necessary; and the trustees of every principal road should be furnished with copies of the surveys, and of the plan and estimates for improvements relating to the road under their care.
The number of single mail coach miles daily travelled in Great Britain, including pair horse coaches, is 15,604. The expense attending the surveying of them should not exceed 31. a mile ; so that the whole expense to be incurred on this important preliminary step, for the improvement of these roads, would not be of a large amount.*
Whenever the improvement to be made on an old road does not require the present line to be departed from, the road should first be put into a proper form, according to the rules already laid down, in respect to the breadth and con
This subject will be again referred to, in Chapter xii. on Road Legislation.
vexity of a road. A sufficiently strong crust of road materials should then be laid on; a regular footpath should be made; all the old high and crooked fences should be removed, and low ones substituted in their place, parallel to each other, at a proper distance from the road; and particular care should be taken to provide a sufficient number of drains.
Where the old road is below the level of the adjoining fields, it should be raised by embanking, so as to be, at least, two feet above them.
If it is not considered advisable to remove the old fences, and if the space between them is wider than is necessary for the roadway and footpath, the surplus portion, or waste, should be put into order; for no road can have a finished
appearance unless the whole space between the fences is arranged so as to have a regular and uniform shape. This operation will also assist very
much in contributing to the dryness and preservation of the road. On this point Mr. Telford makes the following observations in his Third Annual Report on the Holyhead Road :
“ I cannot too often repeat, that a surveyor should not feel satisfied that he has done his duty until the whole breadth of ground belonging to a road between the fences is put into perfect order, as this shows skill, attention, and