Why do highways have to be ugly?

In a recent post over at the Front Porch Republic blog a writer waxed poetic about his favorite stretch of roadway. And then he asked the question: “Why do so many of our roadways have to be so ugly?

From the extensive comments that followed the post, I’d say he touched a nerve that engineers, DOT officials and urban planners might do well to notice. Perhaps one of the reasons the highway transportation system in this country is perpetually underfunded is because the roads we build now are so ugly.

There are beautiful and legendary roads all over the world, the Appian Way, Route 66, California highway 101, the Blue Ridge Parkway. But 98 percent of our roads look like they were designed by Soviet bureaucrats from the Brezhnev era.