National Geographic : 1968 Feb
Caught in the path of progress, Carl Kolpack complains because Interstate 55 slices through his farm near Spring field, Illinois. Under the power of emi nent domain, the state acquired 16 acres of Mr. Kolpack's land. "My buildings are here, my pastures across the road," he says. "But it's four miles around by the nearest overpass." Owners of land taken for inter changes often sell remaining property at high prices to commercial users. this "backscatter" into readings of soil density and moisture content. Hay blowers broadcast mulch over newly seeded embankments and shoulders, preventing erosion and drying out of the soil before 203 grass sprouts. KODACHROMES BYHERAL LONG(BELOW)ANDJAMESP. BLAIR N.GS . Among the most remarkable machines of all is the slip-form paver. Unlike its conventional cousins, this huge machine strad dles an entire roadbed on crawler treads (next page). Operated by one man, it lays concrete contin uously at the rate of eight to ten feet a minute. I always watched in fascination as the giant, ungainly spider crept forward, spinning its strand of highway. Road building is as old as civili zation. On ancient Rome's famed Appian Way, linking the Eternal City with Brindisi, 366 miles away, traffic became so heavy that char iots were banned at certain times and places-and women were for bidden to drive them at all. Long-distance superhighways, leaping rivers and piercing moun tains, belong wholly to the 20th century. Germany's autobahns, begun in 1929, provided the pro totype for the entire world. Adolf Hitler perceived the military value of such expressways and, by the outbreak of World War II, had completed a 1,260-mile network Temporary trench cuts past the front door of a boardinghouse in Toledo, Ohio. Before road builders pave 1-75 in this area, they lay a combination storm and sanitary sewer. Bulldozer operator Kenneth Speer packs sand over the huge sewer line.