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American Roads: Site Map > Auto Trails > Auto Trail Articles > Touring Topics article July 1912


Early work on the future National Old Trails Road.

― from Touring Topics, July 1912, page 7.


Nine states are now enrolled under the banner of the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Association. To the original three―Arizona, New Mexico and California―have been added Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. From a membership of a few thousands the Association has grown to a body that counts its members by the scores of thousands and with each one working toward the same general end, the early completion of a nationwide roadway that will connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans is assured. It is no longer a matter of years until the motorist can travel over good roads from New York City to Los Angeles or San Diego. The end of the work is in sight and the month is now the unit by which the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Association measures the time that intervenes between the present and the completion of the project.
The Association, composed of thousands of representative citizens of the states through which the highway passes is not waiting for federal aid in doing the preliminary work of making a transcontinental boulevard. It is spending time and money and labor in getting the great undertaking in shape and long before federal aid is secured the roadway will be negotiable for machines and over it thousands of automobiles will travel each month from intermediate points toward the two termini. That federal aid will eventually be granted is certain. The national agitation for better highways is evidenced by the fact that thirty-one good road bills are now pending in Congress and the passage of the Underwood resolution in Congress has served to provide a clearing house for all these measures from which eventually will come a national bill designed to receive the support of the administration and to confer the greatest good upon the greatest number of people. The cry of the obstructionists that the federal government cannot constitutionally appropriate funds for the construction of national highways is now seldom heard. The government not only has appropriated funds for road building in the distant past, but very recently has voted hundreds of thousands of dollars for the construction of highways in the canal zone, in the Philippines, in Porto Rico [sic] and in other of the insular possessions of the United States.
The progress of the ocean-to-ocean highway is more marked in the original three states than in the other commonwealths that make up the Association. New Mexico has surveyed its portion of the highway across the entire width of the state and the work of construction is actually under way under the supervision of the State Engineer and a force of convicts. With the exception of about one hundred miles in the eastern part of Arizona, there is already a good state-wide roadway in that state and early improvement of the unfinished portion is promised.
In California the work on the northern route by way of Mecca and Brawley is well advanced but has been temporarily halted in the desert portion during the hot summer months. From Los Angeles to Mecca and from Mecca to a point twenty-two miles east of the latter city, this route is in good condition. Here the new route intersects with the old road and for the present the latter roadway must be followed for a distance of approximately twenty miles. This portion of the route is not in good condition but is negotiable. It will require several months work on the newly surveyed stretch that will replace this old road to make the trip between Brawley and Mecca an easy one but the personal assurance of J. S. Mitchell, President of the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway, that this link will be completed as soon as the hot season is past, leaves no doubt that the work can and will be done. The twenty-seven remaining miles into Brawley is over fair roads and presents no difficulties to the automobile tourist. Between Brawley and Yuma there are fairly good roads with the exception of a total of about four miles in which are included three difficult sand stretches, the longest of which is 2.7 miles. That these few sand stretches do not present insurmountable engineering difficulties is a further statement of President Mitchell. He states unequivocally that the Brawley Mecca route is feasible and can be so constructed and maintained that any machine can travel over it with ease. At present it is admitted by the officers of the Association that the route is difficult but each week machines make the trip, one of the most recent cars to follow this roadway being a Pierce-Arrow driven by Mr. A. G. Faulkner of Los Angeles. However, unless one is familiar with travel conditions in desert countries President Mitchell does not advise that the trip be undertaken until later in the year when further work has been done upon the course.



Copyright © S. Varner 2006