You can’t quite call Indiana State Road 42 an overlooked gem. Running from Mooresville, just southwest of Indianapolis, to Terre Haute, it cuts awkwardly through a great deal of Indiana farmland, with frequent 90-degree turns frustrating even leisurely two-lane forward progress. Check out this mess:
The road was built around farm boundaries, as was the norm 100+ years ago. But where other roads were smoothed and straightened, State Road 42 had major competition in US 40 and, later, I-70, both of which parallel it to the north. Either of these roads whisk you to Terre Haute in half the time it takes on State Road 42, and that’s where all the non-local traffic has always gone. So the state never spent the money on this unloved little road.
But if you aren’t in a hurry, as I wasn’t on Saturday, State Road 42 will show you how Hoosiers live outside the cities. It takes you through a handful of tiny towns and past farm after farm.
And if you like bridges, you’ll love SR 42, with two 1939 steel truss bridges…
…and one drop-dead gorgeous open-spandrel concrete arch span over a lake created by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
You’ll also find that Terre Haute still has its bucolic moments.
It’s a short trip, and you can read all about it here.
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