Changing a Road’s Path

Today, I briefly drove through Addison, Pa., to try to get some shots of the Addison Toll House. While I was in town, I found it interesting that although the interstates and expressways have the notorious reputation for keeping people off Main Street, older, two-lane roads do the same.

In Addison’s case, the National Road/U.S. 40 originally went through the center of town, and the toll house is located on this segment. But at some point, 40 was re-routed to go north of Addison, taking all but local traffic out of town. Its not all bad, since drivers now have a wider and more level road, and people living in Addison don’t have to worry about heavy traffic or people speeding through the middle of town. However, the potential for business seems lost, since there isn’t regular traffic to support many hospitality-oriented businesses.

Obviously, Addison isn’t the only place along the National Road that has been sliced off the main drag by a newer alignment. Especially in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, newer (and likely safer) paths for U.S. 40 were carved around small towns and neighborhoods, rather than through them, as before.

This maps shows the two alignments of the National Road in Addison, Pa. The blue line is the current route, and the red line is the original route.

Jim Grey has a great series of posts on this subject, two of which deal with the National Road near Reelsville, Ind, here and here.

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One response to “Changing a Road’s Path

  • Jim

    Sometimes, a happy effect of such bypasses is that it helps preserve buildings on the old alignment. I found that in Old Washington, Ohio, where US 40 was moved one block south of the National Road. There are lots of great old houses along the original alignment. If US 40 had stayed on that alignment, perhaps some of those houses would have been torn down for the inevitable roadside businesses.

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