First Mile of Concrete Highway - Woodward Avenue M-1
N 42° 25.254 W 083° 06.484
17T E 326566 N 4698662
Quick Description: First slab of concrete in the US. Maybe even the world, according to the plaque.
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 4/9/2007 9:01:26 PM
Waymark Code: WM1D78
At the onset of the automobile industry in the early 1900s, the roadway was asphalt paved over wooden blocks in downtown Detroit. Northern portions remained covered with gravel or planked. The majority of the road was dirt, which became rutted with mud during the spring.
In 1909, responding to demand for smoother roads by bicyclists and early auto owners, the first mile of concrete highway in the world was laid by Wayne County between Six and Seven Mile Roads in Greenfield Township (present-day Northwest Detroit).
Constructed in less than three months at a cost of $13,493, the new roadway construction technique attracted international attention, as its advocates claimed concrete more durable, cleaner and easier to maintain than former methods.
In 1916, the entire 27-mile length of Woodward Avenue to Pontiac was paved and, in 1919, the first three-color traffic light appeared on the thoroughfare.
In the 1920s, Michigan Legislature proposed widening Woodward to 200 feet from Detroit to Pontiac. Underway by 1926, the construction project provided an eight-lane boulevard from Six Mile Road to Pontiac.
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