The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

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The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:23 pm

We always have a lot of negative threads, how about a positive one for a change.

There are so many, landing a man on the moon, harnessing atomic energy and many others however I nominate the humble highway or specifically the Interstate system . Now approaching the 50,000 mile mark it is considered the largest public works project in the entire worlds history.

Image


One mark of the overwhelming success of the Eisenhower Interstate System is that the American people take it for granted, as if has always been there, like the Mississippi River or the Rocky Mountains. The Interstates are so much a part of the daily life of Americans that most people do not realize that the system they use to get to work, to school, to the mall, and to their vacation destination could be considered one of the "wonders of the world."

In 2006, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), State departments of transportation (DOTs), and transportation partners in the private sector will have the opportunity to remind the American people that the Interstate System is not a natural phenomenon, but rather the result of dedicated men and women working for five decades to enhance the mobility that has always been part of the American dream. Those years of challenge and controversy were also a period of technological evolution, environmental stewardship, and, most of all, commitment to the goal of building the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.


You can drive I-80 from New York to San Francisco and never have to stop, of course you can drive from practically most urban areas and never have to stop (assuming you don't run into big traffic jam). Another interesting footnote is the Pennsylvania Turnpike is also know as Americas first superhighway. As much as many people grumble about it and issues such as the lanes being right next to each other it's interesting to note that today's standards do not meet those of the turnpike, a road like this will not be built today. Considering the terrain it is one of the flattest and straightest pieces of real estate in the world with banked corners.



http://www.paturnpike.com/geninfo/history/history.aspx
The Pennsylvania Turnpike project limits were from Middlesex, located west of Harrisburg, to Irwin, east of Pittsburgh, a distance of 160 miles. For the project to be constructed on schedule in a mere 20 months, 1,100 engineers were employed. Noteworthy was the consistency of the design standards of the turnpike, much different than previous piecemeal attempts to build roads through different areas. Plans called for a 200-foot right-of-way with two 12-foot lanes of travel provided in each direction with medians, berms, long entrance and exit ramps, banked curves, and separated grade crossings.

Revisions made during the course of design included changing from two asphalt and two concrete lanes to all concrete lanes. A four-foot median was replaced with a ten-foot one. Although Vanderbilt's railroad bed was originally planned for a maximum two percent grade, the maximum grade selected for the turnpike was three percent, which an automobile could easily tolerate but was still much less than the nine to twelve percent grades on local highways. At first a tunnel was considered near Everett, but later it was decided to remove 1.1 million cubic yards of rock and earth to create the largest open cut of its time.

A standard sight distance of 600 feet was chosen. Straight-aways were designed for 100 mph and the spiral curves were superelevated to accommodate 70 mph. Easy grades were carved through valleys, ravines, and mountains. Almost 70 percent of the original turnpike was straight, with the longest a 40-mile stretch west of Carlisle relieved by one curve to break the monotony.

Many innovations were introduced during the layout of the highway. When possible, the turnpike route was laid out on southern exposures to let the sun heat the ice and snow on the roads. Toll booths off of the turnpike were located on downhill grades to allow drivers time to react instead of being surprised. In addition to the roadway, there were over 300 bridges and culverts, nine interchanges, ten service plazas, and eleven toll booths to design.




http://www.paturnpike.com/news/americas ... ghway.aspx
http://www.pahighways.com/toll/PATurnpike.html
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: acesover On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:09 pm

Wow, cool. Must have passed that spot 300 times on my way back to where I was raised to see the folks.
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: GeorgiePorgie On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:26 pm

The Thermos bottle, is the best achievement of man kind !

It keeps hot things hot, and cold things cold, whithout even a battery ?

I know that , and you guys all know that , but how do it knows ?


It's an old joke I heard
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: KLook On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:35 pm

Nice piece on the highway. Glad they found a use for it.

Kevin
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: KLook On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:44 pm

I would cast a vote for electricity. The distribution system is enormous and it makes many things we take for granted much easier. Like this computer I am on.

Kevin
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: ErikLaurence On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:06 pm

The greatest accomplishment of the United States is the United States itself.

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. "
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: jpete On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:41 pm

GeorgiePorgie wrote:The Thermos bottle, is the best achievement of man kind !

It keeps hot things hot, and cold things cold, whithout even a battery ?

I know that , and you guys all know that , but how do it knows ?


It's an old joke I heard


Here's another.

A (insert nationality of your choice) guy is in a department store, picks up an item and asks, "What's this?" The salesman says "It's a Thermos." The guy asks, "What's it for?" Salesman says, "You can put hot stuff in it and it keeps them hot, or you put cold things in it and it keeps them cold.". Guy is impressed. He buys it and takes it home to his wife. He says "Look honey, it's a Thermos. It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold." She asks, "What do you have in it?" "Two cups of coffee and a Popsicle!"

:D
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: jpete On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:42 pm

ErikLaurence wrote:The greatest accomplishment of the United States is the United States itself.

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. "


It worked great for about 2 weeks in 1776. Been going downhill since.....
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: CoaLen On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:33 pm

This country took a giant leap forward with the building of the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s. The rail system allowed great strides in communications and travel, improved cost and availability of goods, promoted populating the western states, enabled our Federal government to defend the western region, opened up endless opportunities for growth industries, and so on. The rail system is what enabled this great land to become one great country.
-Len
Last edited by CoaLen on Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: mikeandgerry On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:14 pm

I can't say which was the greatest but there are many worthy accomplishments of the US. Certainly the Interstate system is one of them.

My pick however, is the early adoption and installation of effective urban sewage treatment facilities. It has prevented disease in countless ways.

It is a prime example of the government having authority under the General Welfare clause. The spread of disease is prevented by an investment and facility not possible by individuals or private industry in urban settings.
Last edited by mikeandgerry on Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: SMITTY On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:23 pm

I have to say, if you look at any modern thing we take for granted nowadays, we have a hand in its invention ....... and if we didn't, we streamlined it & made it useful. Every country in the world that is modern has taken ideas from us. 8-)
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: mikeandgerry On: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:35 pm

SMITTY wrote:I have to say, if you look at any modern thing we take for granted nowadays, we have a hand in its invention ....... and if we didn't, we streamlined it & made it useful. Every country in the world that is modern has taken ideas from us. 8-)


I agree. I think the US still has a gene pool of ingenuity and determination second to none.
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: KLook On: Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:30 pm

That is because it has been proven that freedom allows people to investigate and invent to their hearts content. And if it were not for the pursuit of money, why would anyone bother? If you are on the gov. payroll, just do your time and retire, the pay is the same.
Kevin
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: crazysteamer On: Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:24 pm

I am anxiously awaiting sustained fusion - just hoping that the Koreans don't beat us to it.

The people that do that can write their own ticket (home country included).

Interstates are great, I drive on the PA turnpike regularly, the moon-shots were awesome and I am a first-class railroad nut, so you don't get any argument about the transcon, but if I had to put a nickle down as a vote for the greatest accomplishemt of the US, it would have to be winning WWII.

In terms of how many people were directly involved and the personal efforts and sacrifices involved and given, I really think that nothing else holds a candle to the total energies expended in that direction (which would have to include the Manhattan project, building of how many Liberty ships, etc: etc:)...

How many civilians collected aluminum, scrap steel, old tires and did without gasoline and basic foodstuffs in order to support the effort? How many US soldiers paid the ultimate price to protect the freedoms of many people / countries that they may have never heard of 2 years before?

I don't think that there has ever been such focus on one single goal before or since.

It may go against the grain for some people to think that the greatest accomplishment of their country is to wage war, but looking back...
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Re: The Greatest Accomplishment of the US

PostBy: GeorgiePorgie On: Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:45 pm

jpete wrote:
GeorgiePorgie wrote:The Thermos bottle, is the best achievement of man kind !

It keeps hot things hot, and cold things cold, whithout even a battery ?

I know that , and you guys all know that , but how do it knows ?


It's an old joke I heard


Here's another.

A (insert nationality of your choice) guy is in a department store, picks up an item and asks, "What's this?" The salesman says "It's a Thermos." The guy asks, "What's it for?" Salesman says, "You can put hot stuff in it and it keeps them hot, or you put cold things in it and it keeps them cold.". Guy is impressed. He buys it and takes it home to his wife. He says "Look honey, it's a Thermos. It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold." She asks, "What do you have in it?" "Two cups of coffee and a Popsicle!"

:D


Believe it or not, I have seen a double ended stainless steel thermos container, where not only the (insert nationality of your choice) guy can do it, but you and I can do it too ! I had the chance to buy one I have seen at the local Salvation Army Store. I wanted it so bad just so I can send it to the guy who originally told me the joke, I was out of cash, and that thing sold quickly ! So they did actually make those .
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