A ford is a section of water (most commonly a section of a river) that is sufficiently shallow as to be traversable by wading. The name of several towns is derived from such a location, i.e. Stratford or Oxford where an ox could cross the river (note the Oxford coat of arms). Most modern fords are sufficiently shallow as to allow an automobile to pass through and this is a cheaper alternative to a bridge when building a road across a waterway.
In areas where the water is sufficiently shallow, but the material at the bottom of the stream will not support weight, fords are sometimes enhanced to make vehicular traffic possible by creating a submerged concrete floor. In such cases a curb is placed in the downstream side to prevent the vehicles from slipping off, as algal growth will often make the slab very slippery.
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