In the 19th century, New York City was a burgeoning industrial and commercial metropolis - the largest city in the United States and second largest in the world. As the city's population increased, people began to call for construction of an underground railway. Many unusual engineering challenges had to be overcome, not the least of which was construction in a dense urban area. After lengthy legal battles over property rights and the debt limit of the city, ground was broken on March 24, 1900.
Roads & Rails
El Camino Real (literally, "the royal road") is the oldest and longest historical trail in the Western Hemisphere. The transportation link has, through the centuries, been called various names, including El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (literally, "the road to the interior" because the U.S. frontier was seen as the country interior to Mexico), the King's Highway and the Royal Highway. It became a transportation lifeline that helped integrate Spanish and European culture in the Southwestern U.S.
Historically, a camino real (Royal Road) is defined as a road that connects Spanish capital with Spanish capital, a distinction not shared with roads connecting ordinary Spanish or Indian villages. The term Camino Real implied that the status and privileges granted to the villas and capitals it connected were extended to the main routes of travel through use by officials and others acting in the interest of the crown. Unlike ordinary Indian and Spanish villages, villas like San Antonio and others along the route had charters that prescribed royal privileges.
Combining British financing, American engineering, and Canadian contracting, the White Pass and Yukon was the first major civil engineering project on the continent above the 60th degree of northern latitude. Completed in 27 months using only hand tools, black powder, and regional timber, the White Pass and Yukon rises almost 2,900 feet from sea level at the port of Skagway to the White Pass summit on the U.S.-Canada border in just 20 miles, accomplishing one of the steepest climbs of any railroad in the world.
Central Pacific Railroad served as the Western terminus of America's first transcontinental railroad, passing through the formidable Sierra Nevada Mountains. In all, 15 tunnels were blasted through solid granite.
Thousands of Chinese from Kwantung Province were recruited by Central Pacific Railroad Company and became known for their diligence and hard work. In the second year of construction, nine out of ten workers on the CPRR were Chinese.
Opened in 1835, the Thomas Viaduct was the first multiple-arch, stone railroad viaduct in the United States. The viaduct is composed of eight arches each with a clear span of about 58 feet. The viaduct has an overall length of 614 feet and a height of about 60 feet above the Patapsco River. Construction of the viaduct began in August of 1833, and a ceremony marking its completion was conducted on July 4, 1835. The viaduct was constructed for the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad and is named in honor Philip E. Thomas, who served from 1827 to 1836 as the first president of the B&O.
The Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line was cut through solid and decomposed granite by about 3,000 Chinese laborers using nothing more than picks, shovels, horse drawn carts, and blasting powder. This line, which rises from the San Joaquin Valley and through the Tehachapi Mountains, originally included 18 tunnels, ten bridges and several water towers to accommodate the steam locomotives. Completed in less than two years, it was part of the final line of the first railroad to connect San Francisco with Los Angeles.
Designed to connect the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway was planned to provide pleasant motoring and to conserve and interpret the unique natural and cultural resources of the Southern Highlands. It was conceived also as a public works project to relieve unemployment in the Appalachian region during the Great Depression.
BreezewoodHarrisburgState: PACountry: USAWebsite: http://www.asce.org/project/pennsylvania-tunpike-(old-section)/Creator: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
The Pennsylvania Turnpike was the first American paved highway of the automobile era in which tolls alone were expected to pay all project costs. The 160-mile roadway, which cut an east-west path from Pittsburgh to the state capital of Harrisburg, was considered a revolutionary example of transportation system design and served as a model for the Interstate Highway System.
The National Road was the first interstate highway in the United States, and the first roadway to be financed with federal money. Authorized by Congress during the administration of Thomas Jefferson in 1806, the road was built over time and in sections from Cumberland, Maryland, westward through the states of Pennsylvania, Virginia (now West Virginia), Ohio, and Indiana, before terminating at the state capital of Vidalia, Illinois.