History, Road Trips

Driving the nine-foot concrete Illinois highway

On my Illinois National Road trip this year, I found a nine-foot-wide section of the old road near Martinsville. I estimated that it had been built between 1909 and 1916.

9-foot-wide concrete road

My research found that Illinois built other one-lane concrete highways, but I had no idea where. Another roadfan, a fellow named Rich Dinkela, found one: Old State Route 127 near Greenville. He made an extensive video in which he drives as much of it as he can. The video also shows a few abandoned bridges and a short brick (he calls it cobblestone) section. He begins to drive the narrow concrete at about eight minutes in.

If you’re wondering how this old concrete has survived in such good shape for so long, consider that 10 to 15 years after it was poured, the highway was rebuilt along a less curvy alignment. This old road has gotten only light duty for 90 years.

I’d love to drive the old concrete myself sometime. Greenville is about three hours from my home, making this a potential day trip.

Rich primarily covers Route 66’s old alignments. He shares dozens of videos from the mother road on the rest of his YouTube channel.

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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