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A road is a path connecting two points. The English word ‘road’ comes from the same root as the word ‘ride’ –the Middle English ‘rood’ and Old English ‘rad’ –meaning the act of riding. Thus a road refers foremost to the right of way between an origin and destination. In an urban context, the word street is often used rather than road, which dates to the Latin word ‘strata’, meaning pavement (the additional layer or stratum that might be on top of a path).

Modern roads are generally paved, and unpaved routes are considered trails. The pavement of roads began early in history. Approximately 2600 BCE, the Egyptians constructed a paved road out of sandstone and limestone slabs to assist with the movement of stones on rollers between the quarry and the site of construction of the pyramids. The Romans and others used brick or stone pavers to provide a more level, and smoother surface, especially in urban areas, which allows faster travel, especially of wheeled vehicles. The innovations of Thomas Telford and John McAdam reinvented roads in the early nineteenth century, by using less expensive smaller and broken stones, or aggregate, to maintain a smooth ride and allow for drainage. Later in the nineteenth century, application of tar (asphalt) further smoothed the ride. In 1824, asphalt blocks were used on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. In 1872, the first asphalt street (Fifth Avenue) was paved in New York (due to Edward de Smedt), but it wasn’t until bicycles became popular in the late nineteenth century that the “Good Roads Movement” took off. Bicycle travel, more so than travel by other vehicles at the time, was sensitive to rough roads. Demands for higher quality roads really took off with the widespread adoption of the automobile in the United States in the early twentieth century.

The first good roads in the twentieth century were constructed of Portland cement concrete (PCC). The material is stiffer than asphalt (or asphalt concrete) and provides a smoother ride. Concrete lasts slightly longer than asphalt between major repairs, and can carry a heavier load, but is more expensive to build and repair. However over the remainder of the twentieth century, the vast majority of roadways were paved with asphalt. In general only the most important roads, carrying the heaviest loads, would be built with concrete. Fundamentals of Transportation/Geography and Networks

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A1 Motorway
The A1 motorway (Croatian: Autocesta A1) is the longest motorway in Croatia spanning 454.5 kilometers (282.4 mi). As it connects Zagreb, the nation's capital, to Split, the second largest city in the country and the largest city in Dalmatia, the motorway represents a major north–south transportation corridor in Croatia and a significant part of the Adriatic–Ionian motorway. Apart from Zagreb and Split, the A1 motorway runs near a number of major Croatian cities, provides either access to several national parks or nature parks and world heritage sites and numerous resorts, especially along the Adriatic Coast. The motorway is currently being extended south of Split to the port of Ploče and the city of Dubrovnik. National significance of the motorway is reflected through its positive economic impact on the cities and towns it connects as well as its importance to tourism in Croatia, however its genuine importance as a transit route shall be achieved upon completion of the Adriatic–Ionian motorway along the sections currently spanned just by the Adriatic Highway and two-lane roads in Slovenia and Albania connecting to the route.

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For U.S. roads news, see Portal:U.S. Roads/U.S. Roads news.

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A viaduct complex in Puxi, Shanghai, PRC. Several stem roads (e.g. Yan'an Road) can also be seen.
Credit: (Alex Needham)

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...that bridges carrying India's Grand Trunk Road over the Barakar River were washed away in 1913 and 1946?
... that in a toll dispute between residents of Bandar Mahkota Cheras and the Cheras-Kajang Highway concessionaire, a barrier blocking a shunpike was repeatedly torn down and rebuilt?

...that John Vesey, a 16th-century bishop of Exeter, had a fordkeeper's cottage built along Plants Brook to help provide security for travelers on the Wylde Green Road?

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Panorama between Sax and Frümsen in the municipality of Sennwald in the Rhine Valley, looking from Kreuzberg (on the left), to the Appenzell Alps, Saxer Gap, the Stauberen, and Hoher Kasten on the right.
Credit: (Böhringer friedrich)

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  1. ^ "Saskatchewan's Global Transportation Hub". About Highways/Transportation Hub/. Government of Saskatchewan. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  2. ^ Police don't know what prompted vicious bus attack, CTV.ca, July 31, 2008. Accessed August 6, 2008.