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View from the Cab: If roads could talk

(CIFN file photo)

Nothing beats the view of an old gravel road in the middle of nowhere.

I mowed at one of my favorite farms last week and enjoyed the peace of the countryside. I enjoy this particular road because once I park the truck and trailer along the side, I don’t have to worry about anyone driving by since most motorists prefer to use modern paved roads.

This quiet mile is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet lunch while listening to the wind and a few birds in the distance. I bet the only time this road sees traffic is during planting and harvest when farmers must move their equipment from one field to another. Imagine if old roads could talk. I’m sure this one would have a few stories to tell.

Here is some interesting history on roads from Henry Ford’s Model T debut in the early 1900’s led to a move toward better roads. In fact, rural residents showed their support for paved roads with the slogan, “Get the farmers out of the mud!” According to, there are currently around four million miles of public roads in this country and most of the paved public roads are two-lane rural highways with the rest urban and multi-lane roads.

Roads are back in the news as the president spoke in Cincinnati just last week promising to fix roads, bridges and dams in the U.S. Donald Trump’s administration plans to start an infrastructure program that he says will rebuild the nation and produce numerous jobs. Trump made the announcement while standing near the Ohio River with coal barges and workers in hard hats behind him.

Representatives from the Illinois Soybean Association joined Trump on his Cincinnati trip, bringing attention to the need for investment in transportation infrastructure.

“We know about 60 percent of soybeans grown in Illinois are marketed and sold through export channels each year,” said Illinois Soybean Growers president Daryl Cates. “Investments to maintain and improve our nation’s waterways, roads, bridges and railroads are crucial not only for Illinois farmers but for many other U.S. businesses.”

We could see many rural roads get a facelift, but hopefully they will leave that small mile long gravel road in McLean County the way it is.

The View from the Cab blog is powered each week by Petersen Motors of Fairbury.

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