Premeditated road construction can be dated all the way back to 4,000 BC, during one of the earliest Mesopotamian eras. If you think that’s an interesting fact, continue reading to learn even more road construction history, and how it has evolved into today’s road systems.
Road construction in 4,000 BC was quite different in all aspects of modern road construction. Ancient road systems were primitive, and primarily constructed of sticks, stones, and whatever other resources they have available at the time of the season. Regardless of structure, the original intention for building road systems has remained fundamentally the same throughout time. Even the earliest civilizations knew they needed a smoother system to increase the speed of traveling, as well as, trading and transporting food, goods, water, and livestock. Today, we have made thousands of innovative improvements to our road systems, but continue to work toward the same goal of building reliable systems for transportation, just like the early civilizations did so many years ago.
✤ 19th Century
Ancient road construction was an improvement to society because it allowed communities to grow and thrive, leading to the first permanent villages and settlements in the ancient world. As time went on, road construction eventually evolved into something close to what we are familiar with today. During the 19th Century, villages and towns became large cities and hubs for trade and commerce. Traffic patterns became a science, and techniques and materials were enhanced and upgraded to accommodate the fast-changing world. During the 19th century road construction movement, new equipment began to emerge, similar to what we see today on paving construction sites. Common 19th century paving equipment included motor graders and plows, as well as, steam-powered tools like shovels and excavators. Thanks to two innovative Scottish engineers, Thomas Telford and John Loudon McAdam, the first road tar was introduced to the paving industry, as well as, the technique to raise road foundations for proper drainage, thus changing the methods and materials used universally for road construction.
In today’s world, the advancements made to the asphalt and concrete paving industry have completely changed how we construct our road systems. There are so many modern advancements in the construction equipment, tools, training, materials, methods, and much more. These advancements have delivered many advantages for society in terms of safety, reliability, efficiency, longevity, and expediency. Asphalt is the most common paving material used in the United States today. It is highly versatile, low maintenance, long-lasting, and malleable, making it a top choice for all kinds of pavements. Driveways, parking lots, roads, interstates, highways, and more are common surfaces paved with asphalt.