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On & Off The Road Again

Friday, June 15, 2018


The benefits of a good walk and a bit of friendly inquiry continue.  The other day I was in Springfield IL, leading a class on Land Acquisition for the IL DOT.  After the first day, wanting to clear the mind and exercise the legs a bit, I embarked on an evening stroll and stumbled onto an interesting segment of abandoned roadway.  Interesting in that it lead directly into Lake Springfield.  That seemed quite odd, maybe an old boat ramp or an idea gone wrong, so things go at times.  I did notice that the remnant of the old roadway was in really great shape, very little transverse cracking and no spalling in the old concrete pavement!  I thought to myself - that is some quality pavement, some work well done back in the day.  I also took note that we’d be smart to get that cross section and mix design renewed for some current projects. Satisfied with that conclusion, I hiked back onto the main road and soon came across some locals enjoying their evening walk.  I asked if there was a park or path to access the lake. They told me it was all private property around this area, save for the old Route 66 ROW.  I quickly perked up! The Mother Road ran through here at one time, I asked?  Oh yes, they advised, it’s that abandoned pavement just down the lane! 

I turned around and looked back in a bit of honest amazement, only to flash back with some amusement to the morning’s class where I assured my students that right-of-way was the one ingredient that always endures with our roadway projects. Perhaps, before I lead that class again, I may have to add the longing for travel, adventure, reflection… and a well-constructed concrete pavement might also be included on that short list of features that sustains the test of time!


P.S. There’s a really interesting fellow out chronicling Route 66.  Here’s a link to his notes on this particular remnant; fun bit of info even if he does not include a robust pavement condition assessment like yours truly :)

Brian is a professional engineer, educator and expert witness.  The engineering side of his career has focused primarily on highway design, construction and ROW acquisition.  Whereas his work in the educational field has taken him to lead applied physics and construction management courses.  This blending of the conceptual, practical… and existential has provided some unique insights over his career span.  When the occasion rises, which is often, Brian loves to share his reflections on those experiences and, when nudged, is glad to offer some of those notions on our blog.