World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Plank road

Article Id: WHEBN0000791382
Reproduction Date:

Title: Plank road  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: M-5 (Michigan highway), U.S. Roads/Selected article, New York State Route 317, Michigan State Trunkline Highway System, Larrys Creek
Collection: Footpaths, Road Infrastructure
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Plank road

Plank road

A plank road is a dirt path or road covered with a series of wooden planks. Plank roads were very popular in Ontario, the U.S. Northeast and U.S. Midwest in the first half of the 19th century. They were often built by turnpike companies.

Wood mat road in British Columbia, used for temporary access over soft ground


  • Plank road boom 1
  • Plank roads in Australia 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Plank road boom

In the late 1840s plank roads led to an investment boom and subsequent bust. The first plank road in the US was built in North Syracuse, New York in order to transport salt and other goods;[1] it appears to have copied earlier roads in Canada that copied Russian ones.[2] The plank road boom was like many early technologies, promising to transform the way people lived and worked, and led to permissive changes in legislation seeking to spur development, speculative investment by private individuals, etc. Ultimately the technology failed to live up to its promise and millions of dollars in investments evaporated almost overnight.[2]

Three plank roads, the Hackensack, the Paterson, and the Newark, were major arteries in northern New Jersey. The roads travelled over the New Jersey Meadowlands, connecting the cities for which they were named to the Hudson River waterfront.

Plank road on one of the Pribilof Islands, Alaska

Kingston Road (Toronto) (Governor's Road), Danforth Avenue in Toronto were plank roads built by the Don and Danforth Plank Road Company in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. Highway 2 (Ontario) from Toronto eastwards was once plank roads in the 19th Century and later paved.

Plank roads in Australia

In Perth, Western Australia, plank roads were important in the early growth of the agricultural and outer urban areas, given the distances imposed by swamps and relatively infertile soil. As it cost UK£2,000 per kilometre to construct roads by conventional means, the local councils (known as road boards) were experimenting with cheaper approaches to road building. A method called Jandakot Corduroy had been developed at Jandakot south-east of Perth, where a jarrah tramway lay upon 2.3-metre-long (7.5 ft) sleepers, bounded by two 70-centimetre-wide (28 in) strips of jarrah planks for cart and carriage wheels. The 90-centimetre (35 in) gap was filled with limestone rubble to be used by horses. This reduced the cost of road building by up to 85 percent after their widespread introduction in 1908.[3] However, increased traffic and suburban development rendered these routes unsatisfactory over time and by the 1950s they had been replaced with bitumen surfaced roads.

See also


  1. ^ University of California Transportation Center. "The Plank Road Boom of Antebellum, New York" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-04-25. 
  2. ^ a b Klein & Majewski. "Turnpikes and Toll Roads in 19th Century America". Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  3. ^ Cooper, W.S.; G. McDonald (1999). Diversity's Challenge: A History of the City of Stirling. City of Stirling. p. 169. 

External links

  • The short film Military Roads (1943) is available for free download at the Internet Archive
  • The Plank Road Craze - Background Reading
  • Puncheon & corduroy roads
  • Longfellow, Rickie. "Back in Time: Plank Roads". Highway History, Federal Highway Administration.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.