The Road Taken

The Road Taken

The History and Future of America's Infrastructure

Book - 2016
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Renowned historian and engineer Henry Petroski explores the past, present, and future of America's crumbling infrastructure.

Physical infrastructure in the United States is crumbling. The American Society of Civil Engineers has, in its latest report, given American roads and bridges a grade of D and C+, respectively, and has described roughly sixty-five thousand bridges in the United States as "structurally deficient." This crisis--and one need look no further than the I-35W bridge collapse in Minnesota to see that it is indeed a crisis--shows little sign of abating short of a massive change in attitude amongst politicians and the American public.

In The Road Taken , acclaimed historian Henry Petroski explores our core infrastructure from historical and contemporary perspectives and explains how essential their maintenance is to America's economic health. Recounting the long history behind America's highway system, Petroski reveals the genesis of our interstate numbering system (even roads go east-west, odd go north-south), the inspiration behind the center line that has divided roads for decades, and the creation of such taken-for-granted objectsas guardrails, stop signs, and traffic lights--all crucial parts of our national and local infrastructure. His history of the rebuilding of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge reveals the complex and challenging interplay between government and industry inherent in the conception, funding, design, and building of major infrastructure projects, while his forensic analysis of the street he lives on--its potholes, gutters, and curbs--will engage homeowners everywhere.

A compelling work of history, The Road Taken is also an urgent clarion call aimed at American citizens, politicians, and anyone with a vested interest in our economic well-being. The road we take in the next decade toward rebuilding our aging infrastructure will in large part determine our future national prosperity.

Publisher: New York, NY : Bloomsbury, 2016.
ISBN: 9781632863607
Branch Call Number: 388.10973
Characteristics: xi, 322 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Jabberwock12 May 06, 2016

Our infrastructure is in such a terrible state. But a trillion or two or three investment would bring us back from the brink. Petroski has a lot of very interesting factoids and his writing style is quite good especially for a planner/engineer. A good read overall.

Apr 26, 2016

I liked this book and agree overall with Petroski [and enjoyed his previous works on engineering] but he simply is clueless: they aren't amortizing America. In the world of Fantasy Finance, financialization and finance capital, they don't care about infrastructure, it is considered a nonessential cost to the minds of the sociopaths!
Sorry, Henry, but the money masters do not think sanely like you, sir!

Apr 25, 2016

Petroski: "Such is the nature of infrastructure: using it means wearing it out." And then fixing it.


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