CUMBERLAND — A century ago, Maryland boasted more than 14,000 miles of roads made of crushed stones, logs or oyster shells. But only about 100 miles of roads in the state at the time were paved. The rest were dirt, or mud, depending on the weather. When it snowed, the snow was left to melt naturally, since it was considered an “act of God.” It was a rough time for travelers.

At 9 p.m. today, Maryland Public Television will air the world premiere of a documentary that explores the hard road Maryland has traveled from centuries ago to the founding of the State Roads Commission in 1908, to its present state of national leadership in transportation. “Moving Maryland Forward” offers lessons in how Maryland came to be known as the home of some of the best-maintained highways in the nation.

“This film celebrates the dedication of those men and women who came before us to create the road system we use every day, but often take for granted,” said Transportation Secretary John Porcari. “Today’s Marylanders count on our world-class highway system to help drive our economy and quality of life. I urge every Marylander to learn about this important chapter in our state’s history.”

The main focus of the film is on the development of Maryland’s modern road system as it has expanded and improved over the course of the last 100 years.

The documentary includes rarely seen footage of Maryland’s highways and bridges in various stages of construction, as well as interviews with a wide variety of the state’s transportation movers and shakers of the last 50 years.

This world-premiere television airing caps a yearlong celebration of Maryland’s highways.

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