Environmental Review Toolkit
Historic Preservation

Historic Roads

The preservation of historic roads is important to the preservation of national heritage and culture. Both governmental and non-governmental agencies have created programs intended to create an appreciation for and safeguard historic roads and the social history they embody. Examples of programs and projects in historic road preservation are listed below.

  • TRB's NCHRP Web-Only Document 189: Design and Management of Historic Roads explores how the inherent flexibility in the current policies, manuals, criteria, rules, standards, and data sets that underlie the transportation planning and project development process may be used to preserve historic roads and roads in historic districts and settings.
  • Bureau of Land Management administers 261 million acres of America's public lands including numerous historic roads. Visit http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/CRM.html for more information on BLM's historic road preservation efforts.
  • Historic Roads describes efforts to identify, preserve, and manage historic roads nationwide.
photo of a Phillips 66 Gas Station on Route 66-McLean, TX
Phillips 66 Gas Station on Route 66-McLean, TX
(Courtesy of the National Route 66 Federation)

Route 66

Route 66, the United States' first all-weather highway linking Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California, reflects the national evolution of road transportation. Organizations with the mission of preserving this historically significant highway are described below.

  • new National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is a source for preservation and historical information relating to Route 66, including interactive maps, photos, and travel itineraries.
  • Route 66 Travel Itinerary — National Park Service Route 66 Discover our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
  • Route 66 Corridor Preservation — In 1999 Congress passed an Act to create the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, in response to the recognized need to preserve the rich resources of the historic highway. The National Park Service administers the program.
  • Oklahoma Route 66 — Includes construction history, links to official records, maps, and a picture gallery.
Image of the Lincoln Highway near Lyman, Wyoming
Image of the Lincoln Highway near Lyman, Wyoming

The Lincoln Highway

The Lincoln Highway is a 3300-mile long road stretching across the United States from New York City to San Francisco. Its creation was the result of the first successful effort to build an all-weather transcontinental highway specifically for automobiles. Sites related to the Lincoln Highway include:

  • The Lincoln Highway Association is dedicated to preserving and promoting the Nation's first transcontinental highway for the automobile.
  • While the Lincoln Highway runs from coast to coast, Pennsylvania has designated a six-county region as the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. The LHHC works to promote economic development through tourism grant programs and community beautification projects.

Additional Road Resources

  • Iowa's Historic Automobile Roads: A National Register Study of Pre-1948 Arterial Highways, Marlin R. Ingalls, University of Iowa.
  • From Milestones to Mile Markers (America's Byways Resource Center, 2004) provides information to help local byway organizations understand and manage a scenic byway with historic intrinsic qualities and resources. This publication will help identify a historic road, define the elements that make it historic and determine the appropriate course of action. Contact the Scenic Byways program for more information.
  • America's Byways, FHWA's National Scenic Byways Program, is a grass-roots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve, and enhance selected roads throughout the United States.
  • Saving Historic Roads (1998, John Wiley and Sons, New York), written by Dan Marriott, provides useful and practical information for historic preservation specialists, engineers, and others regarding the preservation of historic roads.

For questions or feedback on this subject matter content, please contact David Clarke.

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