Plank Roads

The first plank road in the United States was built in Syracuse in 1846 and quickly became a popular option because of inexpensive construction costs and no need for engineers to build one.  Plank roads could be traveled year round in all conditions.  Compared to macadam, a precursor to asphalt, which cost $3,500 per mile to build, plank roads could be built for $1,900 a mile.  The plank road craze of the 1860s subsided, in part due to its overestimated longevity, replaced as if on cue by the rise of the railroads.


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