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A Thesis Prepared for the 

Raymond D. Blake 3 lee 

January 1929. 

^he advancement in the art of road building h( 

"been a measure of the development of the aryland. 

The progress of Maryland road a is divided into tvo 

Ln divisions, the Turnpike Era, and the era following the es- 

^hment of the Jommission in 1908. The devel- 

ent of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad brought about the 

end of the "Mrnpike Br . rat 1R50, "From this time to the es- 

ent of the State Roads Commission but little work was 

the highways in Maryland* 

The history of the growth and decline of the Turnpike 

73ra has been fully developed in a previous thesis entitled, 

^he "'istory of ^urnpike Roads in Maryland -— 

by H. . Sashell. 

so I will not dwell on this subject. 

In 1 - passed by the General Assembly of 

■yland, which authorized a Commission to see that a pro; 
invesl ion waa made of the conditions of the roads in the 
State, and of the best means of improving, constructing, pi 
Lntaining the same. 

It was not until th ' ission waa es- 

tablished in 190ft, that the State began to build and maintain 
modern hi ys. The history of the State loads Coi 

has been fully covered i thesis entitled, 

Development of t] 'ommission of Bferyland 

by J.H.Bittner. 

In 1910 the Assembly placed in the hands of the 

Commission the control of all state road building. The Commis- 
sion held public hearings in order to aeertain which roads 
the people desired to have improved as the beginning of fhe 
program, "he result, was that 1200 miles extending the length 
and breadth of the state were finally selected to be the nuc- 
leus of the State Highway System. 

At this point an efficient engineering force became 
an absolute necessity if the Commission was to carry out the 
new and enlarged plan of road construction and maintanence, 
and with chi ic thoroughness they made their plans 
to develope the necessary skill, 

' 3LAX ■ iOBLEM 

The Act of 1908 by the Assembly authorized a boi 
issue of $5,000, 000, known as the State F ^und.and the Act 
of 1910 made an additionFl 1 an of 31,000,000. '7ith this fin- 
ancial backing the Commission was ready to put the new plan 
into operation. It v:pb decided to look into the condition of 
the turnpikes in order to determine their value in case of 
possible ^ition as rt of the St^te road system. It 
was, however, then and later determined that the C -ion was 
not to proceed indiscriminately with the purchase of 'npikes, 
but only to squire ! here they were needed a? a part of 
State main artery system, ^he Commission recognized the des- 
irability of abolishing the toll roads, but realized that if 
system of modern roads was to be built, that its 

11 or even *t of the exist- 

ing turnpik 

The ] the obile ~ i ^n 1910 pre 

for a fund Lly for tl intanence of 

an oads. "he portion applicable to the -s 

ble to the ' Bion, while th« rtion 

: .cable to the State Aid ble on the certif- 

ication of the to the counties on s "or expen- 

ditures which h' I n actually made in repairs on State Aid 


methods and types of construction were of 
•iety and generally of e,inc] Ing, 

Lng,sand-c1 it ion, shell 3 
vel 1 1, brick, stone" block, sheet asphalt pavements, and 
some large concrete bridges. 

'ern and higher types of surf' ' were requir 
by ens traffic conditions, including the % in the 
use of notor opts and trucks on the roads. m hese conditi 
re met by usin her s1 9 . c one true t ion, such 

use of pitch in or on the surfacing, the 
installation of pan \ ers to prev- 

of stone in the place of shells, ^he roads were built by con- 

lly 14-feet to 16-feet wide, 
Tn addition to the forer the s of o >ne 
bridges " Lmilar structures existing or former es 

' . Many of these were impor' luable both phy- 

sically and hist Lly, b 1 llowed to become 

srously ov * 3 : r. 

"he use of bituminoi to bind together mac- 

Is tones, sand and shells ; "?ely t Ln the con- 


Ctoss - Sec//o/y$ of 7yp/ca/ /?o&<fs 

Cress ~5ecf/o/? of Sancf- C/ajr ffoad 

Cross -Sect/or? of Gravei /?oad 

*7*mcA Method* 

\ Sr«rm/, 

Cress -Sme&pff of Grave/ ffoocf 

ruction of roads. The we of concrete as ? base for t: 

in conte ed by engineers, e the use of con- 

crete for surfacing itself hrd not been satisfactory, owing to 

its tendency to craclc t and the Ity in remedy! e de- 
fects. T3 rk of the ' n in its us ' ' ous 

s in both construction and ittracted uch 

attention fro er states, rnd even fror d. 

ce and ecoi: 
'ficient nenoe cannot be over es J road ad- 

I m, and Ls is especially true in the case id- 
em T" 

The system c nence put into o y the 

■sion in 1911 was the patrol system. This 
stretch of road to each patrolman, and he is responsible for 
the ti.pkeep of his section, 1+ " lu1 to n?ke minor repairs 
such as filling ruts, holes, ; the gutters. I 
cle^r, the bru cut, and report" 11 large repairs 

is system gives Commission f f n ideal agency thro hfch 
to accumulate data of the c ster necessary for road desj 
on a thorough engineerin Is. 

In 1912 the e ' te departments o^ construction and 
maintrnence were consolidated into one, and the State was di- 
vided into eight geo^rr-pnical sections, e ' ;nt 

3 cost of maintaining macadam, gravel, s 

tion 0' r r.ore substan- 
1 type of construction, namely, concrete. Hie first concrete 
roads -were construe . time of 

concrete Town until today it is the 'ely uned n 

In concrete construction the roarl-bet- be •■ iar- 
ed carefully, and the su le should he scurately 
nicely, because concrete is nolithic substance, which, when 
set, ci J changed except by removing, toi id uneven 
subgrad are found to be costly to the co. 'tors. Co- 
const in is the best type of road, because j 
life - nence. By long life "rom 1 

years. 'Vh'en it reaches the point where it no Ion be ec- 
onc .be resurfaced with some fo 

uminous pavement to 
life, thereby conserve ire initial i nent. 

As the cosl •. freight 

since 1908, t] Lssion soughl to 
off sot this V ion in selecting ty 

• short enin 1 tion, e'. t- 

id hy saving on the design. 
by the ea Lshmeni ,in 191 , 

1 surveys, pirns, estj , test borings, 
he te a o P ro . 

. for all - , and 

s e . 

• ' I ' ? i ng 1 9 12 
• ' 314 , in tion ( 

voluneof cr , the number P residencies 


Cross - SecS/o/fj of 7/^/ca/ ffattt/s 

cor/?, S^mmMur _ , , ^ 

0ms~5ccdk*t of PVa/er-lovsic/ /^faca^sb/rf 

Cross- 5ec-//&f? of SAee-r 1 /fs/>/fo/-/~ 


fhrft S£ **tJ U kt ~ 

Cross " See /r d f? of Ccacrerte- 


o eleven. lividii 
int Her units, e- Engineer \ to handle 

to "better advants ;er anount of work in "ivision. 

ry increase in traffic of all Icinds, 
greater proportion of concrete and inous ro. 
iis ye- n in my year pr vious. C s included for the 
tine, the ■ ' the , 'hereby increasini ir 
cost "by been previ 

. nee. 

The first ] ' ;e rebuilt by the n - i s 

old timber b:- nover Street in Baltimore, which 
1 been in use since I in 1914 

steel an forced - '"eet Ion 

a of 45 -feet, and -foot ros . It h c-nti lever 
spans with a Rail-type, " I over the channel. 

bri as not only an engineer!". sterpiece, bui 
•chitectually perfect . 

' under wi i ne 
bridges were built durin ime servi 

establis] ly on several heavily trevele 

:en in ces, bu^ 

it the period of its 

of 6 or 7 -men i, to ] " ca- 

tion to the other was so t the repairs ulating 

hich ' 
re occur' 


In ■ o" "b- I 

ed to introduce the combined nd patrol systems, ^his 

time. of perfect maintanenoe is th 

construction and maintanenoe LI be under the same direc 
e difference bet" lyland in 

':ence is continuous and precise. 
One of the difficulties experience^ 1 in the use 
broken stone roads, Lc crushed the stone, 

thereby weakening the surface. In 1915 the Co ion resorted 
to they cp.7 * 

entirely origin 1. The practice of u~ -inch chips 
ed f and 1-inch chi] *e used. uantity of 
a usee' increased this year, 

re rolled in for the first time. Oi] then 
l/2-gallon to the square yard, roll' id the 
oil to the acted dust settler. It \ 

fount" this not only settled the n- 

1 thic o the surface of the road. "' I expense 
of 1 " ' oilir o be justified b 

superior wearing bu Lned, and by 

a could be used to c?re of heavier ! 

ount of work done dur ' le 
previous year, the number of res?' es in 'e re- 

►n to ei . he en " 
leted appro 3ly 1 -stem, 

- - 


:ie period from 1916 to 191? •" ievelc 
^.ent in the 1 of construction, and of ence 

is, nice all o + her problems of mi intanence 
id construction had been bro traffic, especii 11 

• traffic, dur' he years 1917 to 1919. Several of the 
in highways suffered most, due to J ' ] unt 

of to 'fie. ""he ro -ire too lj d too 

•row, being only 14 -.feet wide, and the traffic too great in 
the number of vehicles, and heavy tonnage, "his ,t< th 
the fret that frost had entered the subgrade for several fe - , 
cause" i lures . toe repair work was so lar 

of the maintanence costs went ^or these repairs, "bis, 
a measure, gives an idea of the ' 'ectly due to inr - 

fie during the Tar period. This ea >erience brought a- 
bout the fact that the roads must be widened and reinforced, 
due to the demands of the traffic. " T i J view, 

the r ' ere widened from a st ' 14-feet 1 cto 

-feet, and increased in thickness fror 1 7 and '-inches 
to "-inches respect ivly. Concrete shoulders v;ere built 
along old " feet to the 

of the red, and placed elevatioi bo re r1 ' 
excessive crown, and ] he addition n ext,-- 
he edge o^ the concrete. This latter tr 
beei d with ver; jessful results. It is furttoer ve 

ctical, ver ' ery economical t the 

co" r is :ly built unde - fie, 

• the ion of furttoe 

old road, oint where the lrtter 

. It reduces exc isive crown 1 consi 

- j y " 

to "better distribul ". and j >f tra- 

vel. The Ls convenient in th io to 

use the ro^ ' ; le under construction, with n 

- ' . T "' " '^her r ■ 1 

self costs litMe less than one -half the n+ neces to 
cor ' i a ne 

ndable bi :> it takes ■ Iv e of c : n al- 
exi sting, c ore h^s been large expen 

It, 1-inch of binde- 
l-l/2-incheB of 1 laced on ol 

Some of the." re local ' " ind lection tl 

traffic, and whi] , 

to keep in re>"ir. The she It 

there ■ snt on this or over three years. 

in, concrete ro ds whicl have been si 

the sr-xne tj e " Ldej Ltion 
of cobble shoulders in a no story ?>nd economical 

All Lethod t reviewed are rather ingenious, because 
they rre bo"h sal story and economical ways of * ■ re 
of ever incre! and 'oblems by util- 

izing existing construction. 

The malntanence throughout th cj rried on 

by th r : foI .erever the 

of such extent as to require the r. -tions vary 

in lengh 

helpera . "Tie size of 

lied "by he e auni o P -ork I 

Ldenin * curve n 

and the removal Xvert walls on x he inside of curves pre 
necessary improvements v?hich were begun in 1919. 

During this period it was found nee - to revise 
the a rd plans for culverts ts, to take care of 

the increased tonnage • they were forced to crrry. With 
th: Lea and the fr ?notor liner;. was foui 

it of i of these trucks when loadedj 
he loads fo ■ Ly bridges were ned. 

r all culverts and hor. culverts, having an opening of 
3-feet or less, the clear width between the he' In- 

5 to 28-feet, which on nil box, slab, ;irder brid 
fro i"eet s;: - "<-ns, the - lis or 

fepets ■ J4-feet. lard "box culvert? 3 5x5-fe 
slab bridges with clear spans of 6 to 16-feet; 
br " - 5] 1 "ns of IP to 33-f eet were re^esi 

jected, ■ 
3 get ost ecor 1 pro] ' ns of con- 
crete J eel possible. 

bridge of over 32-foot span was required, 
the "ds provided ^or double or le spans, with the 
necessary piers, an'' pro- 

, In • not practical to c< 

struct a brj the etrei or 



L-on in the c ir pirn 

for modern . ;e 

of or vehicle 3 enforc It, 

■■te recently had to ore thai 
the reconstruction and ' ir? of 

, which p.t thj 3 1700 mile 

total mil by ex - ln°ded 

been in Lee 7 to 10 ye- ■••■■, 
polj c 
ly saf ' tal inver- s ""he 

gfeoss , 

lowed elsewher< . 
trol ere 1 y to sto ska 

overloaded, were s< t. 
tread runnj heel over i s loot] 

•te on whi 3Sion of 1 track is 

Lite paper; of width is J he maxj 

allowable for solid tires. Since the - 

11, Chair 1 Chief Engineer o^ i 1 

■port r - ere has not b in- 
gle ro . 

le in ] 

ence the int e • 

ly the 

-1: - 
the i, bui proved it. in • 

ryl- sion leport 
19 Q to 1923 " 

Fot only will the widenin ie the 

ence, but wil] actually save many liv hilars 

go in wrecJ 'iles. 
e necessity for widening exin is, the 

3ion feel LI ite to, rather reflection upon, 
the system under which id 'a r lave be^n built. 
building the roads wide enough to care for the traffic expect- 
1 o come in the imme future, instead of traffic expect- 
ed to oo Lthin, say, 15 or 20 years, the interest on 
ditures is saved and the roads can be wider." 
becomes necessary; et no greater exjiense j^er mile 
than to have c lally cor bed to the greater , and 
the interest on the additional capital c is save- . 

Ml 7. TS 

"Tie service roads are rendering to the 

people o bo those who u?e the roads, if much 

greater t ever anticipated, so 
ence not. tl few years ago have been 

the proper I efficient use of . The rei oval of 

sno" ' is certainly a service absolutely need- 

ed today, but undre- ' years ago. The proper 
of the 1 ya for direction tanoes is obviously es- 
sential to the use of the hi "s, but certainly even five 
years ago this could not have been considered Function 

nence, J. ' curves, b- 

the su- Lndical the positic 

-1' ™ 

ke on curves and ;'t the top . e- 

shing of telephone poles obstructior .-el 

re a "■ he th:' 'he users of the ro 


the policy t ' ' * on 
to the ordinary nrintrnence, special i ould be given 

'ed to tie road a 

scidents to . e scheme int- 
ite stripe, tde, d he center line of 

ro? " I! vere curves, ond top of hills, 

roved to be effective, as the traffic is thi ned 
its ripht-of- 1 within it ■ ccidi re 


tvii service to the publj 
n looke L into t] matter of - ;h- 

3. And j 21 the Commission entered into a contrs ad 
complete^ 1 the erection o 
the entire State m, 

'"her^ alized a pressing m 

o the ~t ion and ' ns, 

so the Commission erected fl- La 11 

p points, "hese are maintained out expense to the 

n by the advertising i-ried or. 
'"hese proved e etory and this practice wag con- 

nued. ""he I )0-foot safe - ' to in des- 

igns 11 verticle c . stmictioi the v ch 
. telephone pole-, culverts, roc 7 - re 

increi "xeir visibj 

im 3 nt of safety, 

"'he first instance of expensive const •■; to abol- 
ish dangerous f r of 
•a Curve on the Washington-] ^ulev^rd, b.y the 

sost of $ 17,00C. ,no 
expense is spared to elirain . 1_ ie elenen* of danger froin the 

"hen safe i nd bes 1 « t i f u 1 . 
During this period one large brj en. 

"Tie Severn River Bridge constructed of reinforce^ concrete 
on a timber pile foundation. ■ nf or cedent ruet- 

ural nenhers to eliminate the use of falne- 

. he length is lP50-feet, 24 spans of each, 
!Ule span of 75-feet v r ith a 15-foot rise -foot 

T » S 

It is easily seen that Haryland, since the " " ; 
ment of the ion in 1908, h* 

strides in the construction maintanence of a modern high- 
em. The Commission ' made the roads modern, ecorr- 
'e, until nov she has a most modern and efficient 
rivalled, but not excelled, by that of any 
■ te of the T'nion, 


Reports of the State Roads Commission of Maryland (1908-1923) 
Engineering News-Record - Vol. II - 1922 

Vol. I - 1921 

Vol. 1 - 1920 

Vol. II - 1920