A challenging one week read, The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways is a fascinating introduction to the history of our modern day interstate system. Swift goes into great details to tell the stories of the men behind revolutionary idea of a system of roads that would ultimately launch the popularity of the automobile, chain restaurants, hotels and other roadside attractions.
Swift takes little time in introducing the key players that over the course of 40 years researched and established the guidelines for today's interstates including the total mileage to be built, the paths which the roads would take, the design (grade, slant, degree of curves) of the roadways, the choice (and how that choice was made) of the typeface and color of directional signage. Detailing the logic behind the numbering system of US Highways and that of the US Interstate System while discussing the reasons behind the design of the Highway and Interstate symbols, The Big Roads is an in-depth study of the men that labored over and gave much of their life to a project that the were highly passionate about while receding into the fog of history while President's received credit.
Definitely worth the price of purchase, The Big Roads offers a wealth of information on the first read and I suspect will reveal new information upon the second read—the quantity and quality of Swift's study will open your eyes on the process and massive undertaking that was the US Interstate and Defense Highway system.
The Big Roads can be found on Amazon for $15.
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