Welcome to Colorful Colorado: 100 Years of Colorado StateTransportation History

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Welcome to Colorful Colorado: 100 Years of Colorado StateTransportation History
Series Title:
Welcome to Colorful Colorado: 100 Years of Colorado StateTransportation History
Foster, Mark S.
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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Welcome to Colorful Colorado: 100 Years of Colorado State Transportation History | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 12:29:33 PM] Home Welcome to Colorful Colorado: 100 Years of Colorado State Transportation HistoryWelcome to Colorful Colorado: 100 Years of Colorado State Transportation HistorySubmitted by jainlayconley on 1-10-2011 10:07 AMAuthor: Colorado Department of Transportation Publishing: Denver, CO: Colorado Department of Transportation, 2010. Black and white photos, color photos, bibliography, endnotes, index. 120 pages. 11 x 8. $10.00 paperback. For ordering information contact: Vicki Sladek Colorado Department of Transportation Region 4 Planning/Environmental 1420 Second Streeth Greeley, CO 80631 Reviewer: Mark S. Foster Reviewer Affiliation: University of Colorado Denver Virtually every government agency attracts attention only when things go wrong, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is certainly no exception. Most Colorado residents consider smooth, open roads free of obstructions as their birthright, and they vent irritation and frustration when encountering unwelcome orange cone zones following mountain rock slides and seemingly interminable road construction or repair of potholes. This reader was, therefore, pleased to read the centennial history of CDOT, which provides a welcome treatise on the enormous challenges faced by the agency since its founding in 1910. The attractive, coffeetable work is divided into six chapters, each penned by a different author. There is considerable overlap between the first two chapters, which essentially deal with the enormous challenges of building the states first generation of roads and highways. The next four chapters assess the challenges of coordinating highway development and attracting tourists; highway maintenance; dealing with environmental issues; and, finally, a concluding chapter on the people staffing the agency through each passing decade. This attractive book is lavishly illustrated with many color photographs. The overarching theme of the work is the incredibly daunting challenges of constructing and maintaining viable roadways in the uniquely challenging physical environment that Colorado presents. Only the most hardened cynic could finish the book without gaining profound respect for the silent, professional work performed by the agency over the past century. For the most part, the chapters are well written and the book is generally well researched. The authors thus achieve their primary goal of celebrating and publicizing CDOTs century of achievement and growth. The early chapters contain considerable information about some incredible building projects completed on EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanKatherine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics of America the Beautiful after an awe-inspiring trip to the top of Pikes Peak in 1893.


Welcome to Colorful Colorado: 100 Years of Colorado State Transportation History | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 12:29:33 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us extremely tight budgets. For example, they claim that a 27.5-mile road over 11,400-foot Monarch Pass was completed in 1921 at a total cost of just $200,000! (p.20). A particularly effective chapter on CDOT and the environmental movement does not soft-pedal the enormous public controversy created when slashing interstate highways through urban neighborhoods, nor does it downplay early engineers puzzlement over citizen resentment of their occasionally arrogant dismissal of such concerns. This chapter features celebration of stunning CDOT successes, particularly the spectacular and environmentally sensitive construction of the Glenwood Canyon project and completion of beautiful construction over Vail Pass. There are errors and occasional overstatements. The authors suggest that the impetus for improved roads dated from the first generation of automobilists in the early twentieth century. Surely, late-nineteenthcentury bicyclists and organizations such as the League of American Wheelmen agitated for smoother roads a decade or more before the first automobiles chugged into view. The authors justifiably celebrate the dedication and hard work of employees facing such unwelcome tasks as midnight road clearing after massive blizzards and opening and clearing roads following incredibly dangerous rock slides. They provide stirring accounts of road workers risking their own lives to save families on the verge of death after plummeting down mountain cliffs or being discovered in the nick of time by road-clearing crews after being stuck in snow banks following massive blizzards. They essentially present CDOT as one big happy family. This reader would have welcomed information on pay scales for workers throughout the agencys century of existence. Were relations between workers and management really stress-free? Did workers ever organize, and were they provided pensions and retirement plans? Although the authors address gender issues in hiring and promotion, there is no mention of race relations and integration of work crews, engineering staffs, and management. This reader would have welcomed some discussion of how effectively CDOT leaders played politics at the state and local levels, including, for example, more detail on the role CDOT played during emergence of the T-REX project at the beginning of the twenty-first century. These are comparatively minor caveats. For the most part, this handsome book effectively celebrates this valuable agencys first century of achievement and progress. Reviewer Info: Mark Foster taught history at the University of Colorado Denver for thirty-three years. He is the author of a dozen books, including biographies of such business luminaries as Henry J. Kaiser, Carl G. Fisher, and Henry M. Porter. He has also written extensively on the evolution of city planning and urban transportation, the evolution of the automobile culture, and the history of baseball. Add new comment