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Lecture01-RomanEngineering

Lecture01-RomanEngineering - Foundation Engineering...

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Foundation Engineering Lecture #01 Roman Engineering - Roads - Arches, vaults and domes - Bridges - Aqueducts and sewer systems - Tunnels L. Prieto-Portar, 2009
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ROMAN ROADS. The earliest Roman roads were probably little more than tracks, mainly along river valleys in Italy, some following prehistoric lines of communication. The Etruscans had already constructed a network of well-built roads connecting their settlements, and some of their towns had paved streets. The Romans developed upon the road-building skills of their Etruscan and Greek predecessors. From the late 4th century BC they began to undertake the construction of major roads. These roads were relatively straight, with good foundations and surfaces, and where necessary they had tunnels, embankments and bridges. Roads were initially constructed for military, and not economic reasons. Their prime function was to facilitate the movement of troops and to link Rome with its colonies for efficient communication and administration. The main consideration was to provide a firm footing for infantry in all weather conditions. Vehicular traffic was secondary, and therefore, steep gradients were sometimes used. These strategically important military roads ( viae militates ) came to be used increasingly by the civilian population, and therefore led to an expansion of trade and the rapid spread of prosperity, Roman ideas and their way of life.
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The Roman Empire and major highways in the year 117 AD.
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The Roman 90,000 km highway network in 330 A.D. were all provided with high quality surface ( pavimentum or summa crusta ).
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Roman Road Engineers. During the Roman republican era, the construction of roads was the responsibility of magistrates (censors, consuls or provincial governors), who let out contracts for new roads. On the other hand, maintenance such as resurfacing, paving and cleansing were the responsibility of aediles . The public main roads were known as viae publicae , viae praetoriae or viae consulares . In 20 BC a board of officials (the curatores viarum ), was set up to manage state highways. No curatores of provincial roads are known, but governors acting through local authorities were responsible. Contractors were paid with money from the treasury, by the emperor, from local authorities and from landowners. The maintenance of the main roads was always a problem, and for many roads a special curator was appointed for this purpose. The actual builders of the strategic roads were army engineers . They were helped by both army and civilian workforces. Little is known of how the work was organized, but some inscriptions give sketchy information. Roman roads came to be constructed throughout the empire, and under the emperor Diocletian , 372 main roads (90,000 km) were recorded.
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Road Construction. The main Roman road system took the form of twenty-nine great military roads centered in Rome. The Roman Empire extended over eleven regions (with present-day countries in parenthesis): Italia (Italy), Tarraconensis (Spain), Gaul (present-day France), Britannia (Britain), Illyria , Thrace (present-day European Turkey), Asia
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