Why is a road linking two cities called highway?

Buckle your seatbelt and get ready for a fun-filled long ride. Witness the iconic highways, among the world’s fastest, curviest, steepest, most scenic, or significant for their cultural or historical influence.

Cabot Trail at Nova Scotia, Canada, is a 185-mile scenic highway loop around the northern tip of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, with magnificent views of the coast. It also passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. In Italy, Stelvio Pass is the highest paved roadway in the eastern Alps at 9045 feet above sea level. It has 60 hairpin turns, which is considered one of the world’s most treacherous roads. The Overseas Highway, or also known as Florida’s Route 1 runs 113 miles from Miami through the Florida Keys. It’s famous in countless car commercials and movie car chases. (click here for more details)

Roads and highways connect us to our destination. But how well do you know about their differences?

Both roads and highways are essential for people, animals, and wheeled vehicles to transfer from one place to another either for recreation, business, exploration or just when passing by.

The term road is modernly used to describe a rural, lesser traveled way, while the word street denotes an urban roadway. Meanwhile, highway refers to a significant rural traveled way. It has recently been used for a road, where points of entrance and exit for traffic are limited and controlled in either a rural or urban area. (click here for more details)

A highway is a road, private or public way on land. The term is used, meaning major roads, including other public roads and public tracks. In British English, it legally means any route or path with a public right of access, including footpaths, etc. while the everyday use implies roads typically. (click here for more details)

However, the most ancient name for these channels seems to be the antecedent of the modern way. Way came from the Middle English wey, which in turn branches from the Latin Veho (“I carry”), derived from the Sanskrit vah (“carry,” “go,” or “move”).

The word highway can be traced back to the elevated Roman roads that had a mound or hill formed by the earth from the side ditches thrown toward the center, thus high way.

While, the more recent word road, was derived from the Old English word rád meaning “to ride.” The Middle English rode or rade (“a mounted journey”), is now used to indicate all vehicular ways. (click here for more details)

Highway in the ancient Roman Empire has initially been used for roads. The roman emperors ordered the construction of an 80,000-kilometer road network to connect about 200 towns and cities of the empire. All the roads were skillfully built and metaled for the fast movement of cavalry and military chariots to any part of the extensive empire. The roads were has a little elevation from the ground to provide visibility for a defensive strategy against ambushes and enemy attacks.

It was also designed at a level higher than the ground to be free from waterlogging. From there, all the major Roman roads came to be known as highways. Later, any major road linking two cities in other countries also happened to be known as the highway.

It was also Romans who discovered cement to be used for the expansion of road networks, and these road networks are still existing. Roads during the Roman Empire is composed of a layer of small crush stones, over-layered by small stones compacted firmly, and massive stone blocks correctly set and with cement mortar.

China had a similar road system to that of the Roman road and the Persian Royal Road network in time and purpose. The significant development began about 220 BC under Emperor Shihuangdi. Most of the roads are surfaced with stone and lined with trees, they were wide, and stone-paved stairways traversed steep mountains with broad treads and low steps. (click here for more details)

Meanwhile, the first scientific method of road construction and maintenance was developed in 1764 by Jerome Tresaguet. The drainage system, stone foundation, and grade of the road were also improved.

Thomas Telford, a Scottish Engineer, president, and founder of the Institute of Civil Engineer, improved the construction method proposed by Tresaguet with stones 3in thickness (min), 7in height, and 5in breadth. He also allowed a variety of stones to be used in the construction, employing a flat sub-grade.

With modern engineering technology today, it is impressive to know that the transportation system has developed through the changes in the road constructions and dynamics that transcend and made human activities easier. (click here for more details)