Before roadways were built, travel was mostly done along water. It was President George Washington that started work on the first roadway called the National Road built in 1811.
This 820-mile long path was the first trans-Appalachian roadway that traveled through Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. President Thomas Jefferson then followed with his own roadway that connected Cumberland, Maryland to the Ohio River.
These early developments in the road system in the United States paved the way to an even more complex network of travel systems with highways, bridges, and overpasses. Uniting the young country with a road system was important to the founding fathers of our nation. The road system today provides access for millions of vehicles.
Even before cars became a viable method of transportation. An extensive road system was already in place in the United States when cars became a major mode of transportation in the early twentieth century. Early roads were narrow and mostly made of loose dirt and gravel. In fact, before the year 1900, less than 4% of the US road systems were paved. This led to major road problems and unreliable travel conditions.
This graphic from TitleMax.com shows the intricate road way system as it is today in the US. If you have ever wondered what state has the most miles of roadway, you can see here that state is Texas with 683,533 miles of road in its state. The following are the top 19 states after Texas with the most miles:
- California — 396,540 total lane miles
- Illinois — 306,658 total lane miles
- Minnesota — 290,618 total lane miles
- Kansas — 286,606 total lane miles
- Missouri — 277,504 total lane miles
- Florida — 275,376 total lane miles
- Georgia — 272,662 total lane miles
- Ohio — 262,492 total lane miles
- Michigan — 256,579 total lane miles
- Pennsylvania — 251,708 total lane miles
- New York — 240,489 total lane miles
- Wisconsin — 239,318 total lane miles
- Oklahoma — 238,754 total lane miles
- Iowa — 235,549 total lane miles
- North Carolina — 229,011 total lane miles
- Arkansas — 210,729 total lane miles
- Alabama — 210,531 total lane miles
- Tennessee — 203,850 total lane miles
- Indiana — 202,707 total lane miles
Next read: How to Prepare for an Epic Road Trip