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New and Improved!Edit

So the basic differences are that Trésaguet said let's use lots of 3" rock and some 1" rock to, oh, round about 10" deep and pack it nicely, and McAdam said, bah lets just use all 2" rock but not use so much rock, only about, oh, say 10" deep. Oh, and don't bother wasting all that time packing it -it's better this way- unless you want to, then go ahead and pack it. Oh wow, look how much "road" we got done! And before lunch too!

By eliminating the "construction" part of road building (packing the rock) his "system" allowed that time to be spent pouring out a long strip of gravel thus falling neatly into the age-old business trap of quantity vs. quality which makes so many "procedures" popular.

On the third hand, I'd rather have a crappy road to my house than a wonderful road to someone else's. Lots of mediocre roads to places I wanna go is much better than one nice one to some place I don't. This was a big improvement on that scale. Any roads that raveled due to high traffic justify repairs and improvements and any that didn't were obviously "good enough".

My point is that this is not a technological advancement -as it is being portrayed- but instead is a philosophical advancement (simplification) that lowered the need for knowledge and skill. Since there are more stupid people than smart people this allowed more roads to be built by lessening the need to prioritize which roads to build first and allows even an idiot to say "uhh, road busted, must fix" dramatically lessening the planning stage of new road construction.

Does any of this matter in regards to this article? I don't know. Perhaps not, but at least somebody read it and commented. J-puppy (talk) 17:20, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Gravel roadsEdit

Modern gravel roads seem pretty similar to the macadam roads of the past. Are they built the same way, or does one have nothing to do with the other? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Floydian (talkcontribs) 02:39, 3 March 2010


If there are two layers of the same size aggregate, then isn't that one layer? I don't feel exactly comfortable with this. I don't know enough about these things and I use Wiki to find out stuff. Help!Longinus876 (talk) 22:32, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Presumably by "layers" someone means "lifts", which are used in construction/engineering to refer to layers as placed. For example, 12 inches of gravel could be placed in two 6-inch lifts. First, six inches of gravel are put down and compacted; then, another six inches are put down and again compacted. This is done because if all the material is laid at once in one "layer" (lift) the deeper material cannot be properly compacted. (talk) 14:18, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
... To clarify how people think about this, let me add: If you examine a cross-section of a road after it's built, you see "layers" of homogeneous material (say, a particular size of gravel, compacted to a particular density). These homogeneous layers are what an engineer initially designs, based on how thick the road needs to be to support traffic. But if you are then concerned with how to build the road, where you have to create such layers out of real materials, you may decide that a "layer" is too thick to create all in one go; you will build the "layer" in multiple lifts. Now, if one's perspective is basically how to build things, then "layer" becomes interchangeable with "lift", whereas to a person with another perspective this sounds counterintuitive. (talk) 14:31, 8 December 2017 (UTC)


The following is clearly an exaggeration: "Stagecoaches traveling the Hagerstown to Boonsboro road in the winter took 5 to 7 hours to cover the 10-mile stretch. "

Stagecoaches use horses which walk faster than humans. Even at a slow pace 7 hours is clearly wrong. People would have been walking past these nags. It was a road, probably a dirt road before paving.

3 miles an hour is a typical human walking pace (2.5 for recreational)

A fat guy walking 10 miles on the Appalation trails takes 4.5 hours. This is a road with horses. 7 hours... come on, really? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Strider22 (talkcontribs) 20:43, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Really!!!! On stage coaches, the horses would need to be changed every ten miles, due to exhaustion. The figure looks very reasonable. Your fat guy only has to move his own weight, how long would it take for him to walk if the surface was two foot of wet sticky mud? Pyrotec (talk) 21:57, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Conversion creepEdit

The section on Telford has measurements based on English, converted and rounded to metric, and then converted back again. Anmccaff (talk) 19:15, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

It is also using figues from particular work as though they were universal. Most Telford was layed with smaller pitchers, I'd bet. Anmccaff (talk) 19:25, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

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Off topic sectionEdit

Why is there a section on other road building techniques in a Macadam article? Seems way off topic and there is no rhyme or reason as to why a specific two are cited. Planing to move them off to their respective articles. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 14:18, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

Wrong spelling of the name.Edit

Macadam is incorrect. MacAdam is correct— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:55, 13 October 2018 (UTC)

Return to "Macadam" page.