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The work was placed in charge of the State Geological Survey Commission, a body then in existence, having been organized by a former legislature.
This act authorized the appointment by said Commission of such assistants and employees as they might deem necessary; that they should determine the compensation such assistants and employees should receive, and that the Commission should have full power of removal. The act provided for investigation of the condition of the roads of the state, the methods of improvement, and the study of road materials found in the state. The law further provided for the submission to the next legislature of a full report of the results of the investigation, together with estimates of the cost of proposed improvements. The act further to provide for carrying out the proposed work, appropriated the sum of ten thousand dollars annually.
Upon the passage of this act in 1898, a Highway Division was established as a bureau of the State Geological Survey. Prof. Wm. Bullock Clark, State Geologist, and Dr. Harry Fielding Reid, Chief of the Highway Division, promptly assumed the duties as outlined in the law. Their first work was to place themselves in communication with the Highway Departments of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. They visited those states in order to take advantage of the experience derived from the work in these states that had been carried on for a number of years. Mr. A. N. Johnson, trained in the work through his experience in the road work carried on by the Massachusetts Commission, was secured as Highway Engineer for Maryland.
The three men named above, constituting said Commission, traveled well over the state. They had assistance from Messrs. Matthews, Prosser, Shattuck, Leonard and Bonsteel.
Road conditions and materials were examined in the field. A testing laboratory was established and every effort was made to secure the best information attainable on every phase of the road question in the state.
To secure information in regard to the highways of the state, circular letters were sent to county and municipal officers, to prominent people and to turnpike companies. The farmers were asked by mail to give their views on the condition of the roads, on their improvement and on questions generally from the farmers' standpoint. Inquiries were sent to all the Governors and Highway officers of the several states in order to derive information as to the status of the movement for improved roads and road laws throughout the United States.
The Division prepared specifications for road improvement and cooperated in the construction of object lesson roads. The result of the investigation during this preliminary work led Mr. Clark, Superintendent and State Geologist of the Survey, to say in his first report:
"Most of the states now engaged in such schemes of road construction have approached the question by similar stages and with the result that the state highways are meeting with almost universal approval on the part of the people. In the light of experience elsewhere, it is to be distinctly urged that the people of Maryland enter upon state road building cautiously and only after the best methods of work are thoroughly comprehended."
During the years 1900 to 1903, investigations and tests as indicated above were continued. Lectures were given and literature distributed throughout the state.
3. Upon request from county commissioners, examination was made of a number of roads, and plans, specifications and estimates prepared. This work included the surveys requisite to the proper preparation of such plans and estimates.
An act of the General Assembly of Maryland, approved April 2nd, 1904, providing "for the improvement of the public highways of the state and to provide therefor," extended the scope of the Commission, and offered to the counties state aid to the amount of one-half of the cost of improvement, the sum of $200,000 annually being appropriated for the work. The position of Chief Engineer was established by the act and Mr. W. W. Crosby was appointed by the Commission.
The amount available for use in any county is proportional to the road mileage therein. In the event of any counties not taking advantage of the money available from the state, such share is reapportioned among the counties that are ready to use the same.
To secure a share of the appropriation for state aid, the commissioners of the several counties must petition the State Commission to build a certain road or part of road. Upon the approval, of the road petitioned for, by the State Commission, it prepares specifications and estimates of the work proposed to be done. The execution of the work is by contract or, if contract prices prove excessive, in some other manner by the county commissioners.
The law further provides that two-thirds of the lands fronting on any road or part of road, not less than one mile long, or an extension of an improved road, may petition the county commissioners for state aid in the improvement of said road. If said petitioners shall bind thmeslves to pay ten per centum of the cost of improvement and repairs, the county commissioners are required to petition the State Commission for the improvement, and the subsequent procedure is identical with that when the county commissioners initiate the movement. The county commissioners cannot be required to expend under the act more than twenty-five per centum of the road levy of said county, nor can any certain petitioner be held for his proportion of the ten per centum. The subscription must be voluntary on his part. The advertising for proposals, the awarding of the work and the bonding of the contractors shall be under charge of the county commissioners, but shall also be subject to the approval of the State Commission.
The immediate supervision of the work during execution and performance of the contract, shall be in charge of the State Commission, the cost of such supervision to be paid by the State Comptroller out of the state appropriation as allotted to the county in which the road is located.
Rights of way or any damages to lands accruing by reason of construction are not to be a charge on the state. The maintenance and repair of the roads constructed under the act shall be by the counties and at their expense. The repair shall be to the satisfaction of the State Commission, which shall refuse state aid to counties not complying with the requirements of the Commission, and further, the county commissioners by mandamus proceedings can be compelled to keep the improved roads in repair. To give local authorities and the State Commission further time to perfect their arrangements, the law was made operative only from and after January ist, 1905.
Under the provisions of the above act there are during 1905 being constructed about forty miles of road in thirteen out of the twenty-three counties of the state.
The payment of any state aid to the counties shall be by the State Comptroller upon receipt of certificate from the State Commission that the work has been satisfactorily completed.
The Superintendent and Chief Engineer of the State Commission expressed a preference for the plan adopted, of having the county commissioners let the contract, and for the state to pay aid to counties instead of the contractors, because it left the state authorities out in the matter of disbursement of moneys and removed the criticism of paternalism on the part of the state..
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacted a law which was ratified March 13, 1901, establishing the North Carolina Highway Commission, directing that the said Commission should consist of the Commissioner of Agriculture and the State Geologist, who may select a secretary from the officers of the Department of Agriculture, who shall serve without further compensation from the treasury of the state, and authorizing the members of the Commission to accept free transportation from the railroads and other transportation companies of the state.
The duties of the Highway Commission are defined to be: The advising of local road authorities of the state on questions of roads, bridges and ferries, providing plans and specifications. Free engineering service might be provided to aid in location, construction and repair of roads and bridges.
Rules and regulations with reference to the use and management of prisoners on the public roads were to be prepared by the Commission.
The Highway Commission was to aid and encourage in every way the movement for better public roads.
The Commission was to issue at least two bulletins each year on road improvement.
PAUL D. SARGENT,
By an act of the Legislature, approved March 22nd, 1901, provision was made that the municipal officers of any town (the word town meaning cities, towns or organized planations) might apply to the county commissioners of the county in which such town was located, that some highway running through said town and was a main thoroughfare, should be designated as a state road.
Towns in which such state roads were located are to receive one-half the amount actually expended in permanent improvement, not to exceed one hundred dollars per year. Towns to secure such aid must appropriate and expend at least one hundred dollars on such state road in addition to the amount regularly raised by such town for highways and bridges. The work must be done before the first day of August and be a permanent improvement of a continuous portion of said road and to the satisfaction of the county commissioners and built according to specifications furnished by them.
By an amendment to the above act, approved in the year 1903, the maximum appropriation was increased from one hundred dollars to two hundred dollars. This provision was again amended by an act approved March 21, 1905, so as to increase the maximum appropriation from the state from one hundred to three hundred dollars, and recognizing a minimum expendiure of one hundred dollars. The date for completing the permanent improvement was changed from the first day of August to the first day of October. In both the original act and the amendment the town authorities were given the right to appeal to the Governor and Council from the decision of the county commissioners.
By an act approved March 24th, 1905, the Governor was required, within thirty days after approval of such act, to appoint a State Highway Commissioner, who shail be a Civil Engineer, for a term of four years. The said Commissioner shall receive a salary of two thousand five hundred dollars. The act provides for an expenditure of one thousand dollars for clerk hire and fifteen hundred for contingent and traveling expenses.
The duties of the Commissioner are to compile road statistics, conduct investigations relative thereto, by means of drawings, maps, prints, publications, lectures and otherwise to disseminate knowledge throughout the state on the subject of the construction and maintenance of highways, bridges and sidewalks. He is required each year to hold, under the auspices of the county commissioners, a meeting in each county of the state for the discussion of questions relating to public ways. He is also required to make recommendations as to legislation and appropriations.
State Board of Public Roads:
John F. RICHMOND. The General Assembly of Rhode Island passed a law April 3, 1902, authorizing the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint a State Board of Public Roads, consisting of five persons, one from each county of the state, one of whose terms should end each successive year. Said Board were to serve without compensation, further than their necessary traveling and other expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
The Board was required to make an annual report to the General Assembly, and the report presented at the session of January, 1903, was to present a comprenhensive plan of all the main highways of the state which it was desirable to improve, together with recommendations as to the views of the Commission as to time and method of improvement.
The work for the first year was to be preliminary, except as to such surveys as might be required to bring the question of improvement in a tangible form before the General Assembly of 1903.
The act provided that when appropriations for construction become available, the work should be done by contract after advertisement for proposals. The maintenance of the roads after construction shall be under the supervision of the State Board and at the expense of the state, except that towns and cities should keep them sufficiently clear of ice and snow as to be reasonably safe for travel.
An appropriation of five thousand dollars was set aside to carry out the provisions of the act during the first year. This appropriation was reported in the Second Annual Report to have been expended as follows: Traveling and other expenses of the Board.
$994 56 Clerk hire, stationery, etc.
1,442 48 Engineering
2,562 20 Unexpended balance
The State Board, as indicated at the beginning of this sketch, was named and has continued without change up to the present. The Board secured all possible information on the subject of road construction, both by accumulating literature and by investigation in Rhode Island and other states. Especially investigation was made by visits to the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts that had had road departments in operation for, a number of years and had demonstrated the best methods of procedure.
In carrying out the law the Board recommended a system of roads to be denominated "main or principal highways of the state." This system covered two hundred and forty-nine miles, sixty miles of which system had been improved by local authorities, leaving one hundred and eightynine miles recommended for improvement by the state at an estimated cost of five thousand dollars per mile. Twenty miles were recommended for improvement during the year 1903, and one hundred thousand dollars ior the appropriation for that year, the remainder of the roads to be improved during the succeeding five years at an estimated expenditure during six years of nine hundred thousand dollars.
The recommendation for an appropriation of one hundred thousand dollars for the year 1903 was approved by the General Assembly April 10, 1903. Notwithstanding the late date at which the appropriation was made, layouts to the amount of 18.89 miles were in large part completed. In the Second Report, the following language was used, referring to the work of construction:
“The favorable reception accorded the movement at the outset by the General Assembly, the hearty support given to it by the press, the co-operation coming from towns, organizations and individuals, assures us that it was a step in the right direction.” Well might the local authorities be pleased, for the state bore the whole expense. The Third Annual Report adds: “Farmers residing on the line of state roads and adjacent to our new construction, freely admit that there has been an appreciable increase in the value of their estates; they express themselves as more content with their environment, and larger inducement must be offered than heretofore to c?!1s9 them to part with their rural homes."