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road,

strip of land used for transportation. The history of roads has been related to the centralizing of populations in powerful cities, which the roads have served for military purposes and for trade, the collection of supplies, and tribute. In the Middle East, in N Mesopotamia, scientists have found evidence of a network of roads dating back to perhaps 3000 B.C. In Persia, between 500 and 400 B.C., all the provinces were connected with the capital, Susa, by roads, one of them 1,500 mi (2,400 km) long. The ancient Greeks, cherishing the independence of their city-states and opposing centralization, did relatively little road making.

The Roman roadsRoman roads,
ancient system of highways linking Rome with its provinces. Their primary purpose was military, but they also were of great commercial importance and brought the distant provinces in touch with the capital.
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, however, are famous. In Italy and in every region that the Romans conquered, they built roads so durable that parts of them yet remain serviceable. The Roman roads were generally straight, even over steep grades. The surface, made of large slabs of hard stone, rested on a bed of smaller stones and cement about 3 ft (91 cm) thick.

From the fall of the Roman Empire until the 19th cent., European roads generally were neglected and hard to travel. People usually walked, rode horses, or were carried in sedan chairs. Goods were transported by pack animals. In France, Louis XIV and Napoleon built good roads for military purposes. Elsewhere on the Continent roads were not much improved before the middle of the 19th cent. In Great Britain two Scottish engineers, Thomas TelfordTelford, Thomas,
1757–1834, Scottish civil engineer. He greatly improved road building in England and Scotland. He introduced the use of a base of large stones surfaced with compacted layers of small stones.
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 and John L. McAdam, were responsible for the development of the macadam road (see pavementpavement,
the wearing surface of a road, street, or sidewalk. Parts of Babylon and Troy are believed to have been paved; Roman roads were noted for their durable stone paving. Cobblestones were common from late medieval times into the 19th cent.
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). The expansion of the Industrial Revolution brought this and other road improvements to the Continent, although the emphasis was on railroadrailroad
or railway,
form of transportation most commonly consisting of steel rails, called tracks, on which trains of freight cars, passenger cars, and other rolling stock are drawn by one locomotive or more.
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 construction until after the invention of the automobile.

In the Americas the Inca empire was remarkable for its fine roads. In what is now the United States, however, the waterways were the normal mode of travel for Native Americans, and their trails, though numerous, were often simply footpaths. These were used by white settlers and were eventually widened to make wagon trails. The increasing use of stagecoaches led to some improvement, and the turnpiketurnpike,
road paid for partly or wholly by fees collected from travelers at tollgates. It derives its name from the hinged bar that prevented passage through such a gate until the toll was paid. See also road.
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, or toll road, was introduced at the beginning of the 19th cent. Although the planning and building of road arteries, notably the National RoadNational Road,
U.S. highway built in the early 19th cent. At the time of its construction, the National Road was the most ambitious road-building project ever undertaken in the United States. It finally extended from Cumberland, Md., to St.
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, marked the early years of the century, canalscanal,
an artificial waterway constructed for navigation or for the movement of water. The digging of canals for irrigation probably dates back to the beginnings of agriculture, and traces of canals have been found in the regions of ancient civilizations.
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 and then railroads took precedence.

The invention and mass production of the automobile made the road became paramount again. Hard-surfaced highways were stretched across the entire land in a relatively few years. The building of roads became a major branch of engineering, and even the most difficult obstacles were surmounted. Roads have helped greatly to equalize and unify large heterogeneous nations. In the United States the Interstate Highway System consists of 42,793 mi (68,869 km) of roads (all but a few miles of which are completed) connecting every major city. Other well-known road networks which serve to unify large areas include Germany's Autobahn, the Trans-Canada Highway, and the Pan-American Highway. An ambitious, 23-nation agreement to link Asia with a network of highways was signed in 2004.

Bibliography

See G. Hindley, A History of Roads (1972); P. H. Wright et al., Highway Engineering (2004); E. Swift, The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways (2011).

What does it mean when you dream about a road?

Dreams about roads often represent one’s direction or goal in life. If the road is straight and narrow, what has been planned is being successfully carried out. If the road is winding or bumpy, the dreamer’s plans are vague or flexible, or the dreamer is meeting with unexpected change or difficulty. A roadblock may mean the dreamer needs to be more persistent and diligent, or double back and take another route.

road

[rōd]
(civil engineering)
An open way for travel and transportation.
(geology)
One of a series of erosional terraces in a glacial valley, formed as the water level dropped in an ice-dammed lake.
(mining engineering)
Any mine passage or tunnel.

road

1. 
a. an open way, usually surfaced with asphalt or concrete, providing passage from one place to another
b. (as modifier): road traffic
2. a street
3. 
a. US short for railroad
b. Brit one of the tracks of a railway
4. Nautical a partly sheltered anchorage

Road

(dreams)
It usually symbolizes the journey that we take to achieve our goals. The road in the dream represents a road in your life. It could be the road to your heart, spirit, or mind. Consider the kind of road that you were on and try to see how it relates to your daily realities. If the road is straight, wellmarked, and lit, it may an affirmation that you are moving in the right directions. If there are many obstacles and the road is very hard, consider your options.
References in classic literature ?
He had scarce got them on, and it was a sore labor, seeing that my inches will scarce match my girth--he had scarce got them on, I say, and I not yet at the end of the second psalm, when he bade me do honor to my new dress, and with that set off down the road as fast as feet would carry him.
At this a sort of panic possessed me, and like a boy I raced down the road after her.
The Indians looked up the road and down the road once more-- and then the chief Indian said these words to the boy; "See the English gentleman from foreign parts.
A short run down the road brought her to a horrified stand, for there before her was another wall of flame.
They had walked some way and it was now night, but they could see a large iron gate a little way farther down the road on their left.
He could hear her laughing as she went down the road.
Who was it I did see thee coming down the road with?
He tried to seem to be looking everywhere but whither he really was looking -- down the road.
He had no knife, but with some labor he broke himself a good stout club, and, armed with this, he marched down the road again.
I wonder," said Ojo, looking up and down the road, "which way to go.
I took care to have the cart there and then, drove it off down the road, and, leaving it in charge of my wife and servant, rushed into my house and packed a few valuables, such plate as we had, and so forth.
Daylight found himself with his right foot out of the stirrup and his arms around the animal's neck; and Bob took advantage of the situation to bolt down the road.