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Bulloch History with Roger Allen: The push to build quality roads throughout Georgia
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Roger Allen

Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at the first road systems in Georgia and Bulloch County.

Sheffield's report to the Department of Agriculture, published in Bulletin No. 3 (1894), also stated that the Indians "without compass to guide...left a network of winding trails which the civilized white man followed and opened up as roads...the roads wind and turn in almost all conceivable directions."

His recommendations? Building "curves...(of) regular and of large radius (for) long wagons and teams...the width should be some multiple of 8 for the perfect security of teams." Therefore, "as many as three teams would be likely to pass each other at the same time."

Sheffield suggested building two kinds of roads: Telford and Macadam. First, "Macadamized roads (should be) built with two layers of stones) about 2 1/2 inches in size...(with) a third layer of broken stones (to finish) the 'metaling.'"
Secondly, the "Telford roads...(should be built with) blocks about 6 or 7 inches deep...(on top of which are) smaller stones until the thickness is about 12 inches in the center."

Sheffield concluded that while the best stone was granite, others that would work as well: gneiss, hard silicious sandstone, and traprock, available in the hilly sections of the state.

He declared, "the cost...will range...from $3,000 to $10,000 per mile...(and can) render...(Georgia's) dirt roads passably good and a great number of them excellent (and maybe)...preferable to the stone-surfaced roads."

In the ORI's Circular No. 19 (1898), Director Stone stated that a load of 2,240 pounds carried 10 miles (or 1,120 pounds carried 20), was more than a horse could carry in a day on existing roads in Georgia.

Therefore, he postulated, if Georgia had first-class macadamized roads, one-fourth of the draft horses currently being used could accomplish the same amount of work.

According to the circular, the hauling cost would then save farmers in Georgia $3 million. "Good Roads" would save cotton farmers alone more than $2.25 million.

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email Roger at


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