Highway Revolt: The Eisenhower Interstate system

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The Eisenhower Interstate system had many long term effects, negative and positive. It positively affected the country in that many americans began migrating from the North Eastern states to more rural states such as Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. This shift in population patterns spread out Americans and increased the variety of lifestyles in the United States. Other consequences of the interstate system were seen on the ecological aspects of the country. Forman & Alexander state in a journal article that, “Sometime during the last three decades, roads with vehicles probably overtook hunting as the leading direct human cause of vertebrate mortality on land…an estimated one million vertebrates per day are killed on roads in the United States.” In addition to animal mortality rates, ecosystems are majorly affected by the rerouting of natural water flow. Especially in elevated or mountainous regions the redirecting of water creates channels in places they wouldn't naturally exist. This can damage and erode large sums of land that would naturally go unchanged. The issue of sediment movement arises when looking at runoff from roads. The drainage of highways carries in it mass amounts of sediments that are carried into streams and rivers. The excess sediment can do great harm to these aquatic ecological systems. Furthering unintended consequences, the chemical, NaCl, used for deicing roads has proven to be harmful. Christopher Amrhein states in his article on the effects of deicing agents that the “...use of NaCl for snow and ice removal from roads has resulted in environmental impacts in many areas...corrosion of bridges, road surfaces and vehicles and damage to roadside vegetation and aquatic systems…” The negative affect... ... middle of paper ... ...over one hundred years. In those one hundred years there have been vast advancements in the area of highway construction. A base of knowledge in the environmental and social aspects of highway creation has taught America to be more careful and cautious when designing and planning new highway and interstate projects. Past mistakes often arise when dealing with new highway projects and learning them so as to not do them again is of utmost importance. Although there were arduous times throughout the history of highway construction it is obvious that the public interstate system in place benefits the nation. Works Cited nationalatlas.gov. “Transportation of the United States.” Last modified January 14, 2013. Accessed May 19, 2014. http://www.nationalatlas.gov/transportation.html. Provides tons of information about America’s transportation system and highway data.

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