Thursday, June 6, 2013

North Carolina's Highways-- Part 3: Into the Auto Age

In 1921, the General Assembly passed a $50 million bond issue to be paid for by increased license fees and a one-cent-per-gallon tax on gas.  As a result, engineers were able to lay out and finance 5,500 miles of roads connecting county seats.  Many driving hazards were eliminated as well as concrete bridges over rivers.  For example, a bridge over the Roanoke River decreased the distance betweenWindsor and Williamston from 140 to 17 miles.

North Carolina's successful highway program of the 1920s was so successful that in 1929, Louisiana's Governor Huey "Kingfish" Long hired chief engineer Leslie R. Ames and 21 staff members away to his state.

The State Highway Act of 1921 the state became responsible for the maintenance of North Carolina highways.

In the early 1920s, the principal through highways were NC-10, NC-15 (now US-21 intertwined with I-77), NC-20 (the old Wilmington-Charlotte-Asheville Highway, now US-74) and NC-75 (today parts of US-15 and US-64).

Also crossing the state were the Capitol-to-Capitol Highway (now US-1 from Maine to Washington, DC to Key West).  In addition, there was the unfinished Bankhead Highway, starting in Washington, DC, and marked with yellow-and-white-striped telephone poles, the South's answer to the Lincoln Highway.  I typed in a label and have evidently written about the Bankhead Highway before.

Bankhead Highway.  That's a New One to Me.  Not Really.  --RoadDog

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