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Smart, John W. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Vol. 27, No. 3 (December 1922)

Editorials,   pp. 44-45


Page 45


The WISCONSIN ENGINEER           4
HOW THE WORLD Clemenceau, former Premier of
WAGS TODAY          France, is in the United States for
the purpose of winning us to the side of France. He is
off to a bad start and has managed to arouse sharp
criticism both of himself and of his country. There is
a bitter struggle for power going on in Europe and
every faction desires the active support of America.
The uproar and confusion arising from the efforts of
these factions to bring our country "into line"-their
cajoleries and their denunciations- -are added to and
complicated by the outcries of those of our citizens who
have brought with them direct from Europe, or in-
herited from their parents or grandparents, a deep-
rooted affection for one of the contending parties or an
equally deep-rooted hatred for another. Meanwhile, those
Americans who neither favor nor dislike one European
nation above another, are sitting pretty in the midst of
the clamor awaiting the time when the uproar shall die
down and sanity return. Certainly we shall not rush
in with financial aid for countries which state brazenly
that they do not intend to make their budgets balance,
which are running their printing presses till they smoke,
turning out paper money for the support of a top
heavy governmental machine, and which spend what
little substance they have in warfare.. We are waiting
to see these European nations pull up their belts a
notch or two, roll up their sleeves, and set to work to
make a living in the proper way. Then we may expect
the U. S. to extend the assistance and credit to which a
steadfast man or nation is entitled.
                      *    *    *
   Thomas Edison has submitted to Roger Babson a
 plan to relieve the crisis which exists today among the
 farmers of this country. In spite of plenteous crops of
 all kinds, the farmer has no money. He had difficulty
 in marketing his crop due to transportation troubles and
 got little return for what he did market.   Edison's
 plan involves the establishment of government ware-
 houses, the stabilizing of prices by the use of a 25-year
 average price, and the establishment of a flexible cur-
 rency system which will expand when money is needed
 to handle crops and contract as the crops are disposed
 of to dealers. Economists have not yet expressed their
 opinions of Edison's proposal.  Meanwhile the coun-
 try faces another year of industrial restriction. If the
 farmer cannot buy, the manufacturer cannot sell. Edi-
 son's plan may or may not be sound, but we must hope
 that somehow and soon a way will be found to do the
 things he is attempting to do.
                PATROL MAINTENANCE
                (Continued from page 43)
 counties for patrol maintenance have increased in mile-
 age each year until at this time there are approximately
 io,ooo miles in the county maintained systems. The
 State Trunk Highway System still comprises 7,500
 miles, but it is probable that this will be increased to
 approximately iopooo miles in the near future.
  One of the best indications of what the maintenance
work has done is the rapid increase in the motor ve-
hicle registration and the traffic on the highways. In
i9i8 there were approximately 200,000 motor vehicles
registered in Wisconsin.  Today there are approxi-
mately 400,000.  In other words, the motor vehicle
registration has doubled in the past four years, due
largely to the fact that various points in the state are
easily accessible by highway and that a good share of
the railroad transportation has been shifted to the
highways in the state.
  In i9i8 there was expended on both the county and
state trunk highways a total of about $I,5oo,ooo. This
system comprised a total of about 7,000 miles. In 1922
there is being expended approximately $5,000,000 on
both the state and county trunk systems, which now
comprise a total of about I7,500 miles. The average
expenditure for maintenance per mile in i9i8 was
about $250. During the i922 season it will average
about $300 per mile. This increase is largely due to
the fact that traffic has increased enormously since
i9i8, and also to the fact that a great share of our
highways are being surfaced with light coats of gravel,
shale, and other types of surfacing, these surfacings
being carried on as maintenance work.
  When the system of 5,ooo miles was taken over, ap-
proximately I,700 miles, or about one-third, was sur-
faced in fairly good shape. The remainder of the mile-
age was unsurfaced earth roads, some of which were
in very poor shape. Today, only a small mileage of
roads falls in the "poor" class. Of the 7,500 miles on
the State Trunk Highway System, approximately 6,ooo
miles are surfaced with concrete, gravel, macadam, and
other surfacings. The remainder consists of unsurfaced
earth roads, either of the heavy clay, sand, or sand-
loam type.
   It is believed that proper maintenance of our high-
 ways has brought about a betterment in social and
 economic life. This is especially true of the farmer. It
 has brought him closer to the city and to the market. In
 the past few years there has been a noticeable increase
 in the tonnage hauled over the highways from the farm
 to the market and also from the manufacturer in the city
 to the f armer. Thus, it may be seen that good high-
 ways have shortened the barrier between the city and
 the farmer.
   During the five years of experience that Wisconsin
 has had in maintaining the state and county trunk sys-
 tems, many things have been learned in regard to this
 matter of maintenance. New ideas have been developed
 that have lessened the work and have brought about
 better conditions with less effort.  The great lesson
 learned is the fact that if the present day traffic is to
 have adequate service the highways must be properly
 maintained. With the ever increasing traffic on the
 highways and the constantly increasing size in the
 type of motor vehicles, it can be plainly seen that the
 matter of up-keep is a very important one and should
 be studied seriously by all highway officials.
DECEMBER, 1922
45


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