Just before US 40 reaches Putnamville from the east, a road branches away. The sign on the corner calls it CR 35 E, but all the maps call it CR 550 S. Whichever name is right, it’s merely an alter-ego for this old alignment of US 40 and the National Road.
The old road snakes around behind the motel and soon crosses Deer Creek on this 1925 bridge. Its deck is only 20 feet wide, narrow by modern standards.
I stood on the bridge for quite some time taking photographs, but I never encountered another car. Why can’t they put railings like this on bridges today?
The concrete was poured sometime between 1922 and 1924, but US 40 was moved to its current route here by 1939. It might have been covered over in asphalt otherwise, and this link to the past would have been lost.
The road seems to widen when it emerges from the woods, but that’s only because weeds are not overgrowing the edges. This shot is as close as it gets to what this major highway was like almost 90 years ago when this concrete was new.
I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.
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