In order to grow from scattered riverbank settlements to a full functioning community, it was necessary to build roads. With no dedicated labour force, it fell to municipal governments to collect taxes from all residents and then use those taxes to hire men otherwise engaged in farming or logging to build the roads. The attraction was in getting their own taxes reduced by $2 per day per man and team of horses.
Road work in the early days was done by hand by men with shovels. The men shown building what is now 240th Street had to cut down the height of the hills by shoveling out a notch for the road to travel through. Getting rid of waste material on soft or muddy surfaces required the installation of small railway tracks which could hold waste carts that were filled by shoveling and then pushed down to the bottom of the hill for dumping.
Soft forest soil and a lot of clay have always made for poor road conditions in Maple Ridge. As a result, the mining, transport, and distribution of gravel has been an issue since the 1890’s. Reports in the Westminster Columbian show the early councils fielding complaints about the condition of roads between where the gravel was being mined and where the miners were being paid to spread it. Deep ruts and potholes from the heavily laden wagons are echoed today in complaints about heavy trucks and the damage they do to our roads.