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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
April 5, 1914

New Speedway in Grunewald Forest to be Completed in the Autumn.


Ten-Mile Stretch is Being Constructed on Interesting Plan—Widest at Bridges.

American motorists touring Europe next Autumn probably will have an opportunity to drive their cars over the new automobile speedway that is being constructed through the Grunewald Forest, just outside of Berlin, which is to be one of the finest of the exclusive automobile roads of the world.  The road, upon which four hundred men are now working night and day, assisted by an immense steam shovel and other improved road machinery, is to be ten miles long, without grade crossings, bridges being constructed where other roads cross.  These bridges will also give pedestrians an opportunity to go from one side to the other of the speedway.

The road is being built in two courses, each with a surface width of eight meters (about 26.25 feet) and with an unpaved centre strip of the same width as each of the roadways.  The construction is a three-course tar macadam with concrete curbs.  The bridges are especially interesting.  They are of special design, so as to harmonize with the general intent of the roadway as well as the surroundings. While in this country the customary practice is to narrow the roadway somewhat were a large bridge is required, the Germans on this automobile speedway have adopted exactly the opposite plan, and the clear roadway on the culverts as well as the bridges is made nine meters.

Material for the new road, which runs straightway through the forest southwest of Berlin, is being brought by water from Magdeburg and then transferred by special unloading machinery to the cars of a structural railway and then carried to the ground with a minimum of hand labor.

The only road in this country comparable with the Berlin highway is the Long Island Motor Parkway, extending through the middle of Long Island from the vicinity of Central Park to Lake Ronkonkoma, a distance of about forty-five miles.  This is a single roadway of concrete and has no grade crossings.  The first part of this road was opened in 1908, when it was used as part of the Vanderbilt Cup race circuit.  It has since been extended eastward.  The Long Island Motor Parkway is not, however, a municipal or State undertaking, but was built with private capital and has been operated as a toll road.

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