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The Effects of the Interstate Highway System - Assignment Example

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This assignment "The Effects of the Interstate Highway System" highlights the economic and social consequences of the construction of interstate highways in the U.S.A. The improvements of the highway system reduced travel times and facilitated easier, more efficient passage between the locations…
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The Effects of the Interstate Highway System
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Download file to see previous pages Enhanced travel opportunities have generally had a positive effect on city development, configurations, its people, lifestyles, and economy.
Congress enacted the Interstate Highway Act in 1956. This act authorized more than 42,000 miles of interstate highways to be constructed by the year 1972 at a cost of almost $25 billion spread out over those 16 years. The financing of the most expensive public works project in American history was made possible by the strong economic expansion of the 1950s.1 Prior to this national project, engineers planned city-to-city roadways that had high radius, sweeping curves, and that were built as inexpensively as possible. The interstate highways were constructed to the higher standard of rural highways and employed emergency lanes so that people could drive safely at higher speeds on all highways. This new method was safer but required the use of more property than did previous styles of road design. The older interstate highways that connected the cities of the country were normally designed by state agencies who did not consider the larger urban area needs or concerns to a great extent. These state agencies consulted big companies and city officials but seldom considered the public’s greater good when deciding on routes. Environmental and social interests were of little matter to the decision-makers. The most inexpensive of roads frequently were routed through city parks and underprivileged neighborhoods. It was in inner-urban areas where the problems were the most obvious. Numerous businesses and houses along with their occupiers were dislodged by these roadway developments. The people of the suburbs also experienced a disruption to their traditional way of life because interstate highways were generally built on partially or undeveloped land in areas that did not fit their needs.2
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