How to make an old roadgeek happy
Have I ever mentioned how happy it makes me when I find an old bridge or old pavement that used to serve on an important highway? Oh my, but it does. I unexpectedly came upon some old brick pavement while looking for an old bridge on Indiana’s Dixie Highway mainline. I couldn’t reach the old bridge, but finding the bricks almost made up for it.
Looking at the map, it’s easy to tell this road’s story. The Dixie Highway originally cheerfully passed through New Ross about 12 miles southeast of Crawfordsville, but just east of town the road crossed a railroad track awkwardly. Indiana’s highway engineers devised a new route that crossed the tracks more safely, bypassing New Ross in the process.
At some point, the bridge that carried the Dixie’s older alignment was demolished. The brick road begins east of where the bridge was. This entire alignment was once paved in brick, but this remnant is all that’s left. It provides access to one property. The resulting ultra low traffic is certainly why this segment has never been covered in asphalt.
Here’s a westbound shot of the brick road as it heads toward the creek.
When you zoom the map in a little closer, another bridge becomes visible – the one I was hoping to see. If you go back to the previous map, you can see how the road used to be aligned to cross this bridge. My guess is that when the Dixie Highway was paved in bricks, probably during the 1920s, this old bridge was for whatever reason judged insufficient. A newer bridge (now demolished) was built and the road realigned to use it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the old bridge is still used by the landowner.
Sadly, I found no way to get to that bridge without trespassing. I sure would have loved to see it. But at least I got to see the old brick road. Here it is just north of where it crosses the railroad tracks.