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work where they are called upon to show not only technical skill, but also the executive ability necessary to make a proper demonstration of economical highway construction for a given locality.
Applications frequently come to our office for men to take responsible positions, and it is seldom a man can be suggested who is capable of entering upon the work. In many instances that have come under my own observation, communities desiring a trained highway engineer and willing to pay a good salary have been obliged to take men with little or no training in this line and suffer them to work along as best they could.
I believe that as soon as the lack of instruction in this great branch of engineering is perceived, the technical schools will provide courses that will be on the same high plane of efficiency as those which have long been given in railroad engineering. The highway engineer needs not only special training as to the building and repair of highways, but also all of the other courses that are usually given the civil engineer student. The problems of the highway engineer are in every way worthy of the best skill of the engineering profession. He has an opportunity to be of great usefulness and to feel that he is giving a service well worth his best endeavor, and one which will be an important means of adding to the progress and development of his community.
DISCUSSION. PROFESSOR C. FRANK ALLEN: There is one feature of the paper that impresses me strongly and very favorably, and that is that the department has taken upon itself to give to young engineers some of the experience
that is necessary for a successful highway engineer. I think I am on record in this Society for maintaining the position that there is very much to be done by people in practice in supplementing the work of our schools, and I am glad for the highway engineer there is some systematic work already done by those who have use for highway engineers, in extending the work that is done by the schools. Our engineering colleges cannot expect, as we all understand, to do for the students all that ought to be done for them. There remains considerable to be done afterwards in the way, largely, of the seeing to it that the young men gain experience.
There is one point I would like to raise in connection with the paper, as I am myself personally interested in railroad engineering. I wish to suggest that the course and the number of hours for railroad engineering assigned in very many of our institutions are somewhat misleading. In the institution with which I am connected, instruction is given in railroad engineering to civil engineers and to sanitary engineers, and it is given under the name of railroad engineering. I personally have taken pains to assure the students who have taken that work, that while the course of study appears in the catalogue as railroad engineering, the proper diagnosis is so many hours in "location,” and this location work is appropriate not merely for sanitary engineers, but also, to a large extent, for highway engineers; so that much of the work that is done under the name of railroad engineering is work that is distinctly in the direction of highway engineering also. The greater part of the work done is not railroad engineering, so much as it is location, which finds, perhaps, more perfect expression in railroad work proper.
It has been said in relation to the work of location that it has, as conducted in many of our institutions, a high training value. On the whole, I think it to be of higher training value than some of the other parts of the work given under the name of railroad engineering and of higher training value than most of the work that is now given in our institutions under the name of highway engineering. In the institution with which I am connected instruction is given in highway engineering, not in a very large amount and not at present by myself, although it was carried on by myself some years ago. I believe that in those institutions where there is opportunity for large specialization, it might be wise to devise a course especially in highway engineering, which to my notion should include many matters not now taken up; certain lines of chemistry, certain work of testing and other work which might extend in some directions that engineers do not now take. Very much of highway engineering that is needed at the present time is an art rather than a science, and very much of that must be acquired after graduation and cannot be acquired in the best way during the school term. When I say that I do not intend to suggest that there cannot be done considerable work in the schools, but I wish to distinguish clearly between those parts that can be handled by the school and those parts which, in the nature of an art, must be håndled in some other way.
MR. A. N. JOHNSON: I intended to make it clear that it was not expected that any engineering school would send out men who would be any better fitted to under
take highway work than railroad work. What I do believe advisable is that the engineering schools should provide training in highway engineering as thorough as that at present given in railroad engineering. While it is true that there are certain fundamental geometrical principles which would underlie the surveying and calculation of earth works, whether it be for highway or railroad, there is yet a marked difference in the application of these principles to the two forms of construction. The principles per se could be as well taught without reference to any form of construction whatever and be given as mere geometric exercises. But in this way an appreciation of the practical value of the principles would not be wakened in the student. If then these principles are taught as regards their application to railroad location and economics, it is hard to conceive how the economic principles governing highway location are brought up. My own observations have confirmed me in this conclusion, as I have frequently seen highway work executed by men whose sole training was along railroad construction. They understood the principles of surveying, methods of estimating earth work and the quantities of materials that would be required, but they finally did not produce a result that was proper for the best highway work. It would seem, therefore, inasmuch as the underlying geometric principles are the same that, while it is not advisable to add to the present courses, nothing would be lost in the general training of the civil engineer student if he were given an option as between highway location work and railroad location work. The student who would elect to take the highway work would be as well fitted to enter a railroad surveying party as is the student who now completes the railroad courses is to undertake highway surveying, with the advantage that a greater number would probably find themselves more often called upon to lay out a highway than to lay out a railroad.
PROFESSOR RAYMOND: It seems to me this trouble with the man and the fill was not due to training but head. The notion Professor Allen suggested occurred to me, and I want to ask Mr. Johnson this question: Assuming that theoretical matters pertaining to alignment, grades, earth work and all that sort of thing, are required in the railroad course, then how much more is needed in the technical school for the undergraduate than the equivalent of what we find in Professor Baker's book or Mr. Byrnes?
MR. JOHNSON: It is, I think, as I have stated before, wholly a matter of presentation. If certain principles are taught to accomplish a certain end, it is only natural that the student should conceive and appreciate them more particularly from such a point of view. If therefore certain principles in surveying as to the location of lines of travel, calculation of earth works, etc., are presented from the point of view of economic railroad location, I fail to see what training is offered in economic highway location. It should be well known that there is a wide difference of purpose to be attained between locating a railroad line and a wagon road.
The whole suggestion is a matter of presentation, and a man cannot feel he is learning about highway work when learning about railroad work and treats problems from the standpoint of railroad economics.