On the far east side of Plainfield, Indiana, within sight of the west border of Indianapolis, used to be an old alignment of the National Road and US 40. This is what it looked like in 2006, when I first visited. Eastbound:

Old National Road east of Plainfield


Old National Road east of Plainfield

Notice the orange Road Construction Ahead sign in the photo above. Ahead, the road was closed as the Ronald Reagan Parkway was being constructed. I didn’t know that the plan was to close this alignment permanently; it would not provide access to the new Parkway when that road was completed.

I further didn’t know that the plan was to remove this road entirely. Here’s the scene from my Ride Across Indiana this year. Eastbound:

Fmr NR/US 40 alignment, Plainfield IN EB


Fmr NR/US 40 alignment, Plainfield IN WB

I wonder why the city went to the expense of removing the road. They could have simply closed it at much lesser expense.

Pro roadgeek tip: whenever you see a line of utility poles like this, you may be looking at a place where a road used to be.

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.

To get Down the Road in your inbox or reader six days a week, click here to subscribe!
To get my newsletter with previews of what I’m working on, click here to subscribe!


9 responses to “Then and now: Original National Road/US 40 alignment in Plainfield, Indiana”

  1. brandib1977 Avatar

    I never thought about the utility poles like that. Good tip!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Now you’ll see all sorts of old alignments!

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        I’m counting on it!

  2. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    It’s rough to see a section of the National Road actually vanish. But the small mercy and glory is that you were there, saw it and walked it, and you made and shared the record that that little bit of it was once there.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I still puzzle over why they removed this historic road.

  3. lasousa2015 Avatar

    The powers that be said “down with the road”!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Sho nuff. But this little sliver of road wasn’t bothering anyone!

  4. Buzz Avatar

    Cynic in me says follow the money. Whoever got the contract to remove the road might have had connections with those in control of funds.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Perhaps you’re right.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.