OUR NEW ROADS.
Fine Highways Completed and under Construction.
ALTHOUGH many of the new trunk and bye-pass roads seem to be, comparatively speaking, almost deserted, the reason lies in the fact that their existence, or more frequently their direction, is yet little known. It is certainly not because of any antipathy for them amongst motorists in general. Actually, those who have experienced the joy of using them need no second invitation to travel along them, but look forward rather to the day when more and more of such highways will be completed and available for their enjoyment. It may be true that, in some cases, their interest and enthusiasm is a little tempered by certain misgivings, which cannot but arise in the minds of those who have tried certain stretches, such as that on the Wrotham bye-pass near Maidstone, the state of which, on the last occasion on which the writer traversed it, was anything but an advertisement for modem road construction. Even those to whom it has been explained that this particular stretch is in course of being seasoned, which process involves the passage over it of a certain amount of traffic, may very well be inclined to demur at having their cars put to service as road rollers. However, experiences of that kind do not detract from the appreciation of the better finished roads, rather the reverse, in fact, and each motorist after his preliminary runs, invariably turns to note the works which are proceeding in those parts of the country in which he has a more direct and personal interest.
We, and the majority of the readers of this journal, have that special interest just now, at any rate, in the London-Southend Road, now approaching completion, and likely, we are informed by a high authority, to be open, as regards the greater part, in the early part of next month. Those who make a point of being present at the motor racing events which take place annually at that sea-side town will, in particular, learn with especial pleasure that, amongst the good things which this road affords is a complete elimination of that awful stretch between Billericay and Wickford. These places, for a crow, are but five miles apart, but for motorists have hitherto been separated by eight miles of as twisty a bit of road as can be found anywhere. Nor will this new Southend road resemble that stretch near Maidstone to which reference has already been made. It is to be laid “ready rolled,” not calling upon the motorist to do his share towards its flattening.
Not all these new roads are being constructed in the same way, or embodying the same materials. Many different methods are being employed, for a start, and developments will follow the lines which are demonstrated to be most suitable for the traffic and which the particular piece of road is most required. The Ministry of Transport, we understand, will welcome any expression of opinion from motorists, so that the decision as to which surface and which method of construction is the best may be the more satisfactorily made. There are two main types of road now under construction, those which are, practically speaking, of concrete only, and those which are built up of one or other of the
various asphaltic or bituminous compositions, carpeted with a layer of similar material, more finely made, and more smoothly laid. The North Circular Road, with which many will have made first acquaintance in the course of visiting the Exhibition at Wembley, is an example of the former type, as is the new Cambridge road, which rims parallel to the old road, extending from Ponders End northwards. A typical example of the asphalt coated road is the Great North Road, running through Huntingdon. Protagonists of the concrete road claim that they are not unduly liable to cause skidding, a fault which certainly seems to be present with some of the examples of the alternative type. On the other hand, the concrete road is very touchy about the weather conditions which it has to endure, and dislikes, above all things, extremes of temperature, which cause cracking as the result of expansion and contraction.