US 40 and the National Road in Western Indiana

The Jim Grey Page Roads


White Lick Creek segment

West of Plainfield in Hendricks County, just past Oaktree Golf Course, is a very old section of road with a two-arch bridge over the west fork of White Lick Creek. The map shows this segment as a sliver of road that branches off US 40 and dead ends about 300 yards later pointing straight at the current US 40 road bed.

The map shows a gray area at the eastern end of this segment that turns out to be a landing of sorts. We pulled onto it, but didn't see any road we could drive on. We parked and got out to look. We found a tiny opening in the wooded area that led to the roadbed. In this photo, which shows US 40 westbound at left, the opening is about on the horizontal centerline, about one-third of the way from the right edge.

This photo zooms in on the opening. You can see a tiny bit of pavement through it.

Inside, we found a heavily overgrown road that was cracked and, in some places, buckled. The bridge appeared almost immediately, and it, too, was heavily overgrown, as this photo shows. When I first looked at this photo, I had to look twice to see the bridge's cement guardrails.

Update! I went back in August and got this photo of the bridge, which shows how close we are to the current US 40 bridge.

Now back to July 16.  The pavement looked like cement, but it contained large stone chips. I've never seen chipped stone used in pavement before.

The road was passable only on foot because it had become so overgrown. I am amazed by how God slowly reclaims road that is not maintained.

As a kid, I saw a TV show where the United States was wiped out by nuclear bombs, but years later a few people who survived came out from underground to see if the land was habitable. They found a lot of things intact and untouched, including roads, which they promptly drove on. Where'd they get the gasoline?

I'll bet that in another 20 or 30 years, it'll be hard to tell that there ever was a road in here.

The wooded area cleared out and the road passed in front of a farmhouse. The front of the farmhouse is parallel with the road, so I suspect the house was built when this alignment was still in use. As the photo shows, the road disappears before it meets US 40, but is in perfect alignment with its westbound lanes.

I turned around to look back. The wooded area ends abruptly. It's interesting how the road in the woods is in worse shape than the short stretch by the farmhouse.

I suspect that this segment is from a very old alignment of US 40 because the road appears to be very narrow and because of the chipped-stone cement pavement material. The source from which I learned of this alignment said that this was an alignment of US 40 as well as of the National Road. It would have to be a very early alignment of US 40, I would think, to be constructed as it was.

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Start 1 Washington Street Bridge 2 Six Points 3 White Lick Creek 4 Deer Creek
5 State Prison 6 Pleasant Gardens 7 Big Walnut Creek 8 Indiana 340 9 Interurban
10 Downtown Terre Haute 11 Toad Hop 12 Illinois State Line

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Created July 2006. Last update 29 February 2008.
These pages, including text and photographs, are copyright 2007 by Jim Grey. (Replace # with @ if you click that link to send me e-mail.)
Maps are screen shots from Windows Live Local. All copyrights acknowledged.