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Hi,

What does SURFACE ROAD mean?

Thanks.
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It's an odd expression, isn't it? It means, as far as I know, "ordinary street" as opposed to a freeway or expressway.

Do you use the freeway to get to work or do you take surface roads?

I've never been quite clear myself whether it's really "surface" or "service". Let me know if you find out!

CJ
You must mean service road, Manohonor ..., ..., don't you?
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No, no - SURFACE ROAD:

"But once you get to La Brea
north of Santa Monica, it's jammed.

The 110 north of the 10, you get people
driving to Pasadena and they drive slow.

Yeah, they do, but what I do is
I get off on Grand and then I...

Surface roads is what you want,
that's what we'll do."

Yes. I thought that's what you meant.
When freeways get clogged up with commuter traffic, it's sometimes faster to get off the freeway and use surface roads, even though you have to put up with the traffic lights.

In forestry, roads which are not for use by the public, but which have been built by the logging industry on private land for the purpose of transporting the cut lumber out of the forest, are called service roads, to name just one example.
You are correct, CJ: "surface road" is, for lack of a better term, a coined opposite for "freeway" or "expressway." Freeways always run above or below a "surface" formed by intersecting roads. It might also be understood to refer to the relationship of speeds typical on the freeways and on the surface roads, by analogy with the surfaces on which aircraft taxi.
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I've been annoyed to hear my local television stations using that term repeatedly this morning without explanation. Journalism 101 refresher for all reporters: avoid bureacratic jargon in your reports. Just because police and other government officials use the term "surface roads" doesn't mean you should too.

After some checking online, I've determined that "surface roads" usually refers to roads that are level with the earth's surface -- in otherwords, roads that are not bridges. My city's drivers are being encouraged to use surface roads only this morning because bridges of all sorts are apparently covered with a thick coat of ice.

I don't understand what's wrong with the old fashioned way of communicating this advice: "Stay off bridges this morning." I guess I'm just getting old.
AnonymousI don't understand what's wrong with the old fashioned way of communicating this advice: "Stay off bridges this morning." I guess I'm just getting old.
That could be! Emotion: smile

CJ
A service road goes parallel to a freeway/expressway/parkway. A surface road, as you said, is an ordinary road as opposed to a freeway or expressway.
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