Roads and highways


The problems of driving at the beginning of the 20th Century

2 mins. 7 secs.           

Excellent period film from the beginning of the 20th century which shows the variety of problems the pioneering motorists had to deal with in terms of starting their car, negotiating obstacles on the road and then travelling over poor, muddy tracks.

Muddy roads and road construction, 1910s

3 mins. 28 secs         

Film showing the problems that early drivers had because of the very poor state of the roads in the early part of ther 20th century.

Building better roads, 1937

4 mins. 12 secs             
The film shows how new and more innovative road building projects all across America are helping to make better and safer journeys for drivers. It contains many shots of "modern" (pre-war) roads and highways taken from the air and the ground.

The benefits of modern bridges and underpasses, 1937

1 min. 21 secs                
An informative 1930 film which showed how modern underpasses and bridges are helping the movement of traffic.

Building the Alcan Highway, 1942

1 min. 20 secs.             
At the time, it was hailed as the completion of one of the great engineering feats of its times -the building of the 1600 mile Alcan Highway -linking Alaska with the USA.

Celebration of Route 66, 1988

1 min. 38 secs.           

A brief travelogue featuring Old Route 66 -the most famous historical road in the US.

Destruction of the Takoma Narrows Bridge, 1963

2 mins. 12 secs.               
An extraordinary newsreel showing the destruction of the Takoma narrows bridge in Washington state due to extremely strong winds. Known as Galloping Girty, the bridge had serious design deficiencies and this film shows the brutal force of nature at work and the damage which can be done.

Helping the commuter -Roads into New York City, 1941

4 mins. 26 secs             

Informative documentary showing how transport officials in New York City in the early 1940s try and reduce congestion by building better types of roads and using traffic control more effectively. The film contains excellent footage of cars and city streets from the period.

New roads, poor signs, 1920s

1 min. 18 secs                  

A brief film which shows that while more cars mean more drivers, new roads don't mean better road signs and many of the early drivers struggled to find out where to go.

New traffic initiative from the New Jersey police, 1937

1 min. 25 secs                     

New Jersey police take to the air in a new initiative to monitor traffic congestion on the ground. For the first time, they can get a broad overview of the major trouble spots and then use the wireless to inform motorists of the worst of the problems.

Opening of the second level of the George Washington Bridge, New York, 1962

1 min. 17 secs                    

Film of the opening of the second level of the George Washington Bridge which links New Jersey and New York City. The bridge now has 14 lanes which makes it the busiest road bridge in the world.

Opening of the Virginia bridge and tunnel complex, 1963

1 min. 18 secs                    

Another highway dream is realised as the Virginia Bay bridge is opened and effectively completes the last continuous road link along the eastern seaboard.

The opening of the Oakland Bay bridge, 1937

1 min. 29 secs                  

Film of the opening of the huge Oakland Bay bridge in Northern California -the largest road bridge in the world.

Opening of the Firth of Forth Road Bridge, Scotland, 1964

1 min. 10 secs.    

Film of the opening of the Firth of Forth road bridge in Scotland which links Edinburgh with the Kingdom of Fife. The bridge had been a dream for many decades and is finally opened by the Queen. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are also the first people to be driven over the bridge, watched by huge crowds.

The opening of the Key West highway, Florida, 1935

1 mins. 26 secs.                  
Film showing the building of the Key West Highway, which, for the first time, enabled cars to travel between the tiny islands to the Florida mainland.