Four Illinois Highways Receive Scenic Byway Designation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2000
SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced four Illinois
highways have been selected as scenic byways under a federal program
that promotes awareness and access to scenic, cultural, historic and
natural features along these highway corridors.
The four scenic byways announced today are the Lincoln Highway,
crossing northern Illinois from Indiana to Iowa border; the Great River
Road that parallels the Mississippi River; the National Road from the
Indiana border near the Wabash River to the St. Louis Metro East area;
and an extension of the Meeting of the Great Rivers route from Alton
to south of Hartford.
"These routes offer a wealth of history and unique scenic
beauty," Governor Ryan said. "Travelers can literally take
trips back in time and gain new appreciation of Illinois rich
With the byways designation these routes are eligible to compete
for $25 million in federal discretionary funding. Eligible projects
include construction of visitors centers, roadside informational
kiosks and turnouts, and the development of brochures, maps and other
"I invite Illinois citizens as well as out-of-state travelers
to explore these byways," Ryan said.
Lincoln Highway generally follows todays US
30. In Illinois it begins at the Indiana border, east of Lynnwood, and
proceeds 180 miles to the Iowa border at Fulton. The route passes through
Cook, Will, Kendall, Kane, DeKalb, Ogle, Lee and Whiteside counties.
The Illinois segment is part of the national coast-to-coast Lincoln
Highway, Americas first paved transcontinental highway stretching
from Times Square in New York to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. It was
completed in 1913. Points of interest along the route in Illinois include
original pavement sections and various Lincoln sites.
Great River Road parallels the Mississippi River
from its source in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Illinois segments
wind for over 550 miles through 15 counties. In addition to the many
scenic river views and vistas, this route has a wealth of historic connections,
from Native American settlements to early European frontiersmen and
settlers and river towns along the Mississippi.
The National Road goes back to 1806 when the U.S.
Congress appropriated monies to construct the road westward from Cumberland,
Maryland to the Mississippi River. The road, known earlier as Cumberland
Trail, has been incorporated into US 40. The 162-mile section in Illinois
runs from the Indiana
Illinois border near the Wabash River to the Illinois-Missouri border
in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The National Road in Illinois is
known for rolling countryside views, the quality of its historic architecture
and opportunities to explore historic pike towns.
Meeting of the Great Rivers Extension. A seven-mile
extension is being added to the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway
designated in 1998. The extension runs from Alton to south of Hartford
and connects two major attractions -- the national Great Rivers Museum
at Lock and Dam #26 near Alton and the proposed Lewis and Clark Interpretive
Center, south of Hartford. The interpretive center will serve as the
eastern gateway of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Bicentennial during
"These scenic byways tell fascinating stories about the importance
of transportation in the development of Illinois. Early pioneer trails,
inland waterways, railroads and paved roads all helped shape the history
and destiny of our state," said Illinois Transportation Secretary
The designation of these four routes brings the number of Scenic
Byways in Illinois to five. In 1998, two highways were selected as Scenic
Byways: the first section of the Meeting of the Great Rivers Byways
that runs along the Mississippi
River from Alton to Kampsville and the Ohio Scenic River Route
which parallels the Ohio River from the Indiana border near New Haven
The designations allow Illinois to become a national center for
byway travel. The scenic byways will be important focal points for the
Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) in their
effort to promote tourism.
"The fact that Illinois now hosts five National Scenic Byways
highlights the diverse array of natural beauty found throughout our
state," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "We believe these
byways will enhance our efforts to promote Illinois as a premier tourist
destination for families traveling cross-country and for foreign visitors
who want a taste of Americana."