NO ONE THINKS MUCH about America’s roads and highways being assets — unless someone is driving down a particularly bumpy or pothole-filled road and wondering: “Why doesn’t the (name your government body) fix this thing?” A road generally is viewed more as being something of value when it’s new or freshly resurfaced and motoring is smooth and easy.
Really, though, our road system as a whole really is an asset —valued at more than $2.4 trillion, according to the Asphalt Pavement Alliance and its AsphaltFacts.com website. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, with a calculation for 2016, puts that figure even higher — at more than $3.4 trillion! Here at Tucker Paving, we’re pleased and proud that we’ve had the opportunity since November 2004 (when the company was started) to contribute to that grand amount — take your pick — either through construction of new roads or maintaining and improving existing ones.
What else can we share about America’s roads? Below are just few of the road facts (with source links) we find interesting. Maybe you’ll find them interesting, too.
- In 1870, a Belgian chemist named Edmund J. DeSmedt laid the first true asphalt pavement in the United States. It was a sand mix poured in front of City Hall in Newark, N.J. DeSmedt went on to pave the famous Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Link
- In 1909, the first mile of concrete highway in the world was built between Six and Seven Mile roads by Wayne County, Mich. Wayne County is the home to the city of Detroit. Link
- There are more than 4.12 million miles worth of public roads in the United States. Link
- Of the more than 2.27 million miles of paved roads in the United States, 94 percent of the total is surfaced with asphalt, including 65 percent of U.S. interstate highway system. Link
- Florida has 122,736 centerline miles of public roads. The State Highway System encompasses 12,106 miles of centerline roads. Link
- The U.S. interstate highway system encompassed 46,876 miles of pavement, as of mid-2016. Link
- The idea for the U.S. interstate highway system generally is attributed to former U.S. President (and former U.S. Army Gen.) Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was inspired by the network of high-speed roads he saw in Germany during World War II. Link
- Missouri, Kansas, and Pennsylvania each has staked a claim to having the first U.S. interstate highway — Missouri and Kansas in 1956 and Pennsylvania in 1940, going back to its Pennsylvania Turnpike, “The Granddaddy of the Pikes” and the nation’s first limited-access and interstate-type highway. Link
- The total value of America’s roadways has nearly tripled since 1997 — from about $1.2 trillion to the more than $3.4 trillion mentioned earlier. Link
- There are more than 500,000 more lane miles of local urban roads today than in 1997. Link
- In 2016, the public sector spent more than $91 billion on highway construction. Highway and road construction put in place in the United States is projected to grow to more than $99.4 billion by 2020. Link