Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



Highway construction has been a staple of American development since the early twentieth century, drastically changing the American landscape. The United States is a nation characterized by, and dependent upon automobile transportation as constructed by this vast network of asphalt connectors, symbolizing a “high-modernist” ideology and state control.

Despite our obvious needs for road and highway construction, we must tread lightly. As America’s continued quest for increased connectivity and infrastructure grows, there must also be a balanced and fair look at both the benefits and costs related to highway construction. Political, sociological, economic and environmental concerns must be considered, and this is demonstrated by this thesis through case studies, in particular the analysis of a proposed East-West Highway in Maine.

Ultimately, discussion of any extensive new highway construction must begin with inclusive discussion. Before any sizable public works project is undertaken, our analysis and examination should always consider political, sociological, economic and environmental questions and issues. Communities must decide whether the benefits of highway construction outweigh the costs and whether those costs are risks worth taking.