Summer Savings! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

Concrete is not the problem [Letter]

I've known Brian Dolan for nearly 25 years, back to a time when I was the concrete engineer and he was an assistant district engineer, both for the Maryland State Highway Administration. As old colleagues, I wasn't surprised to see his informative commentary on the state of our roads ("Get riled up over roadways," July 14). While I agree with his main points, that our roads are falling apart — as well as the rest of the infrastructure in our state and in our country — I was disappointed that he took the opportunity to take a shot at concrete roads and at the engineers who created our great road systems in the 1940s and 50s.

Back in a time when government actually worked, Thomas MacDonald and his assistants, Herbert Fairbanks and Frank Turner, developed our current highway system. These men were truly great engineers who made decisions on pavement type based on engineering principles and not on political pressure from the asphalt and concrete lobbies. As a result, great roads, asphalt and concrete, were built that withstood service loads well beyond design and that lasted far longer than their original estimated service lives. They were true successors to the great Roman engineers who designed the Appian Way 2,300 years ago.

We need significant improvement to our current highway systems as well as increased investment in all of our infrastructure. But it's wrong to try to score points for the asphalt industry at the expense of some of the greatest engineers our country ever produced. Instead, we should emulate these great engineers and design roads for the longest service life at the least cost to the taxpayers.

Henry B. Prenger, Baltimore

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Porous pavement gets another tryout in Maryland

    Porous pavement gets another tryout in Maryland

    State, city experimenting with methods for curbing storm-water runoff

  • What's the cost of lower tolls?

    What's the cost of lower tolls?

    It is my understanding that Maryland's transportation infrastructure is in serious need of maintenance. If that is the case, what could possibly be the point of reducing the tolls on our highways, other than to make political capital ("Panel expected to OK toll reductions," May 7)?

  • Gas tax is wasted

    Gas tax is wasted

    In your editorial, "Congress on the clock" (April 13), you talk about the federal Highway Trust Fund going bankrupt unless Congress acts to raise taxes. Motorists deserve better highways and bridge repair, but the truth is not all of the tax money motorists pay goes to build or repair roads or...

  • Tell Congress to fix our crumbling transportation infrastructure

    Tell Congress to fix our crumbling transportation infrastructure

    For nearly six years America has not had a long-term transportation bill. While Congress has bickered and passed short-term patchwork bills, our nation's roads, bridges and public transit systems have deteriorated. Moreover, projects to modernize and expand our transportation infrastructure have...

  • A pothole jars home the true cost of tax cuts

    A pothole jars home the true cost of tax cuts

    I just spent $650 for new wheel and a new tire because of damage from a pothole on an urban street. I was not speeding. I needed AAA service at 10 o'clock at night. And it could have been worse.

  • How to fix Md.'s aging infrastructure

    How to fix Md.'s aging infrastructure

    Recent Sun articles and editorials have pointed the way forward for Maryland's aging infrastructure ("States scramble as federal highway funding erodes," Feb. 21).

Comments
Loading
88°