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American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!

Abandoned National Road / Us 40


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In Indiana, west of West Terre Haute and just before reaching Illinois, old US 40 follows the National Road's path until it ends in the fill where I-70 and modern US 40 merge. 70/40 lies on the National Road's path, then, for about 1.75 miles, and then just inside Illinois the road curves away.


A mere 2,000 feet inside Illinois, traces of the old brick National Road appear. This is because when US 40 was first rebuilt in Illinois in the 1950s, it was built next to the National Road. I found the first traces of it inside a wooded area. If you dig down a bit with the toe of your shoe, you find brick:




Years of decomposing leaves and such have covered the old road with about an inch of dirt! But the fact that no trees are growing show a clear path through the woods:




As the road emerges from the woods, the bricks become visible through the grass:




Soon, however, the old brick road is plainly and cleanly visible, and remains so for the next 25 miles or so:




You can actually drive on some sections of the old road -- completely at your own risk, of course.

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  • 7 months later...

I just stumbled onto this post tonight and am really surprised nobody commented on this. What a find! 25 or so miles of bricked road? That's pretty long. You say some of it is drivable, but how much of it is walkable? Would be a nice trail project, no? Unless it's mostly a frontage road, then might not be so pleasant.



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