1st Edition

Paving Our Ways A History of the World’s Roads and Pavements

By Maxwell Lay, John Metcalf, Kieran Sharp Copyright 2021
    314 Pages 105 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    314 Pages 105 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Paving Our Ways covers the international history of road paving in an interesting, readable and technically accurate way. It provides an overview of the associated technologies in a historical context.

    It examines the earliest pavements in Egypt and Mesopotamia and then moves to North Africa, Crete, Greece and Italy, before a review of pavements used by the Romans in their magnificent road system. After its empire collapsed, Roman pavements fell into ruin. The slow recovery of pavements in Europe began in France and then in England.

    The work of Trésaguet, Telford and McAdam is examined. Asphalt and concrete slowly improved as paving materials in the second part of the 19th century. Major advances occurred in the 20th century with the availability of powerful machinery, pneumatic tyres and bitumen. The advances needed to bring pavements to their current development are explored, as are the tools for financing, constructing, managing and maintaining pavements.

    The book should appeal to those interested in road paving, and in the history of engineering and transport. It can also serve as a text for courses in engineering history.


    Preface: What is a road pavement? ix

    Authors xiii

    1 How pavements are affected by traffic and weather    1

    2 Early pavements in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Crete and Greece    7

    3 Making pavements using local materials and simple equipment    13

    4 The essential paving properties of soil, sand and stones    27

    5 Paving ways through swamps and bogs    37

    6 Roman pavements – a major advance in pavement quality and extent    43

    7 Pavement management processes from medieval Europe    51

    8 Trésaguet and Telford lead a pavement renaissance in France and England    59

    9 McAdam invents a major new pavement using broken stones 67

    10 Using masonry methods to produce pavements for heavy traffic 87

    11 The essential paving properties of bitumen, asphalt and cement 99

    12 Three unique pavement engineers – Metcalf, McAdam and Mountain 105

    13 The first asphalt pavements, produced in 19th-century France and England 113

    14 A new form of pavement using thin, sprayed bituminous surfacings 131

    15 Asphalt paving produced to carry 20th-century truck traffic 137

    16 The design of asphalt pavements – a predominantly American initiative 151

    17 The 20th-century development of concrete pavements 165

    18 Chemical and physical means of modifying local materials for paving 175

    19 Devices and methods for measuring and evaluating pavement performance 181

    20 Full-scale testing of pavements to validate designs using local materials 207

    21 Possible future pavements, with an emphasis on recycling 229

    22 How pavements could be funded and operated in future years 235

    Timeline 239

    Bibliography 253

    End Notes 269

    Index 291


    Dr Maxwell Lay is an engineering consultant known for his international

    contributions to road engineering and his acclaimed international road

    histories. He is a member of the Order of Australia, former Executive

    Director of the Australian Road Research Board, and past President of

    the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria and the Australian Automobile

    Association. He has been awarded the Moisseif Medal of the American

    Society of Civil Engineers, the Peter Nicol Russell, Warren and Transport

    Medals of the Institution of Engineers Australia, and the Gold Medal

    of Roads Australia. He is the author of Handbook of Road Technology

    (CRC Press, 2019).


    Dr John Metcalf has worked in pavement materials and engineering at

    the British Road Research Laboratory, Queen’s University in Canada,

    and the Queensland Main Roads Department. He was Deputy Director

    of the Australian Road Research Board and later was appointed Chaired

    Professor of Civil Engineering at Louisiana State University. He was a

    Fellow of the (UK) Institution of Civil Engineers and the Geological Society

    of London and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is

    an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia.


    Kieran Sharp worked for the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) as a

    researcher in the fields of pavements, roads, and transport, and as technical

    editor, for over 40 years. He was the first member of ARRB to receive an

    Austroads Achievement Award. He is the Chair of the Technical Committee

    of the Road Engineering Association of Asia and Australia, a member of the

    Governing Council, and an Honorary Member. He was awarded the Roads

    Australia Award for Technical Excellence in 2013.

    "I found much of interest from a heritage perspective in the changing technology across the world from China and Mesopotamia, Europe, Britain, Australia and North America, stretching from biblical times to the present
    day. . . . The book should provide a comprehensive reference for civil engineering students and practising engineers,
    and will be interesting from a history and heritage perspective for more general readers."

    -- Keith Baker, Engineering Heritage Australia Magazine

    "This is an excellent and very well documented history of road pavements. It provides a bonanza of information to any reader interested in the early roads, built millennia ago, as well as those constructed during the Industrial Revolution. It tells the story of the struggle to find a perfect an engineering solution to a complex problem: how to build durable and economical roads. The book is a joy to read. It presents in detail engineering principles, research trials and innovations, along with portraits of several major contributors to road pavement design and construction. Everyone interested in the history of road transport should buy this book; it is the best on the topic."

    -- Stefan A. Romanoschi, Professor, University of Texas at Arlington