The Old Plank Road

Throughout history, roads have been built with local materials. The Romans used mountain and volcanic rock quarried into slabs. Gravel and cobbles were used for early roads in the United States. Where available, thick oil was poured over compacted aggregate to produce an all-weather Macadam road. For a large portion of the United States, timber beams or planks were used as a road surface until kilns were available to make brick pavers.

Many cities have local roads named Plank Road or Old Plank Road. This likely means the original pavement was constructed of wooden planks. In my area, the north origin of Route 66 (Ogden Avenue) was originally known as Old Plank Road.  

The plank surfaced road is still used for utility construction across unprepared terrain. We have seen it used for temporary roads to wind turbine sites, oil field roads, and electric transmission construction. Once the construction is complete, the planks are picked up and transported back to a storage yard.

Top photograph from: Bottom photograph source is unknown 

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