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  • Roadtrippin' Through Georgia: The Interstate Highway System

    Dr. Charles Floyd, a University of Georgia economist, notes the early history of roads in Georgia. Ludowici residents Harry Chapman, Mrs. Virgil Nail, Sammy Stapleton, and Robert Watford Mary Worth discuss the impact of the new highways systems on small Georgia towns. Two trucking firm owners discuss how vital the industry is to Georgia’s economy. Most everything we buy and use today is delivered by truck.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. The town of Ludowici was used as an example of traffic change in the video story. Summarize with statistics the contrast in the town today versus before the interstate highway system was built.

    2. Describe the benefits that come from the Interstate highway system in Georgia. Use an example that is dependent on the system.

    3. What if the interstate highway system had never come into existence? Would there be some things that would not exist today? How would our lives be different?

    Expansion

    1. Locate the interstate highway system on a Georgia map. You should answer which routes you would take to the following cities:
    -Ludowici
    -Savannah
    -Augusta
    -Macon
    -Columbus
    -Jacksonville, Fl.
    -Greenville, S.C.
    -Valdosta
    -Birmingham, Al.

    Vocabulary

    dime store: a store selling inexpensive items
    autobahn: interstate highway system in Germany
    heyday: the period of a person's or thing's greatest success, popularity, or vigor
    commute: to travel some distance between one's home and place of work on a regular basis

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. The town of Ludowici is used as an example of traffic change in the video story. Summarize with statistics the contrast in the town today and before the interstate highway system was built.
    Travel was inexpensive after World War II and 6000 cars went through the town daily on Highway 301 headed toward Florida. There was a tourist economy and other industries such as sawmills and cotton gins. When Interstate 95 was built, travelers took this road and it bypassed Ludowici. Starting in 1965, the economy spiraled downward. Income for the town was cut 50%. Today there is one gas station and no motels. The people in the town commute to other towns to work.

    2. Describe the benefits that come from the Interstate highway system in Georgia. Use an example that is dependent on the system.
    Answers will vary. Trucking industry would be a good example.

    3. Think of history in a different way: What if the interstate highway system had never come into existence? Would there be some things that would not exist today? How would our lives be different?
    The linking of cities from one state to another with multiple-lane highways increased our economy in many ways: more cars, more trucks, more goods and services being available more quickly and cheaply, more travel, larger cities, etc. If these highways had not been built, the smaller towns that withered away along the smaller roads would probably still exist. Our economy would not be as strong (perhaps), nor our travel as easy and as numerous. Students need to realize the reasons for change, even though this change will also bring more problems: overcrowded roads and cities, more accidents, the need for ever-increasing enforcement and aid for travelers (police, fire, ambulances, HERO trucks, etc.).

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