Links to Abandoned Roads

Copyright 2007 by Ronald B. Standler


Back in the 1960s, my parents drove from our home in Omaha, Nebraska to a vacation in the San Francisco bay area. As our car traveled along boring Interstate highways, I could look out the window and sometimes see remnants of abandoned highways that the Interstate had replaced. The old, abandoned roads looked more interesting and I remember wondering about travel on those old, narrow roads. Abandoning a road can be the kiss of death for motels, restaurants, gasoline stations, and even small towns that are located on those roads.

The U.S. highway system began in the 1930s as a network of paved roads. Odd-numbered highways run north-south, with higher numbers farther west: Even-numbered highways run west-east, with higher numbers farther south:
The Interstate highway system began in the late 1950s as a network of four-lane (two lanes in each direction) roads that connect major cities, without intersections and without traffic signals. Odd-numbered interstate highways run north-south, with higher numbers farther east: Even-numbered interstate highways run west-east, with higher numbers farther north:

Links to Websites

Historic U.S. Highways, website by Casey Cooper

U.S.-Highways, website by Robert V. Droz.   Lists of U.S. highways in 1927 and actual roads in 1956.   Old maps

MapGuy's photos of ends of U.S. highways

AARoads website by Alex Nitzman and Andy Field.   RockyMountainRoads, branch of AARoads website for Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming

UnTraveled Road website by Kelvin Smith, has photographs of U.S 20, U.S. 30, and more


scvResources, historic highways in central and southern California, including U.S. 6 and U.S. 99, website by Michael Ballard

Website by Steve Alpert, large number of photographs of roads in the USA, including roads in Massachusetts.

Lincoln Highway

The historic Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental paved road in the USA. In 1916, the road from San Francisco to New York City could be driven in 30 days, driving in daylight for 6 hours/day at an average speed of 18 miles/hour.

From California to Ely, Nevada, the modern U.S.50 follows the Lincoln Highway. From Granger, Wyoming to Philadelphia, the modern U.S.30 follows the Lincoln Highway. From Philadelphia to New York City, the modern U.S.1 follows the old Lincoln Highway.

James Lin's website.

Sandor Gulyas' website.

R. Bunton's website, mostly Illinois and Iowa.

U.S. Government webpage by Rickie Longfellow

Pennsylvania Turnpike

Opened in 1940 as a toll road, running east-west from Ohio to Philadelphia. Part of the route uses railbed and tunnels constructed in 1884-85 for a railroad from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, which railroad was never used. The modern Pennsylvania Turnpike is I-76 in Pennsylvania.

Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, website by Brian Troutman.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Abandoned Sections, website by Jeffrey J. Kitsko, with many photos by Mike Natale.

U.S. 50

Nicknamed "The Loneliest Road in America", because of its long distances between towns in Nevada.

U.S. 50, website by Wulf Berg.

US 50 history in Colorado, by Alvin Edlund, Jr.

Steven Dutch's photos of U.S.50 in Nevada in Dec 1981 and April 2003.

U.S. 66

U.S.66 ran from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica (near Los Angeles), California. U.S.66 was decommissioned in 1985. Large sections of this road are now abandoned, the remainder is Interstate highways, state roads, or city streets.



Route 66 Photographs, website by Shellee Graham and Jim Ross, offering photographs for sale

Historic 66, website by Swa Frantzen

National Historic Route 66 Federation

LegendsOfAmerica mainpage for U.S.66, with separate webpages for each state.

ByGoneByWays webpages for each state along U.S. 66

U.S. Government webpage by Rickie Longfellow

U.S. Government website promoting historic U.S.66.

U.S. 80

U.S.80 was the most southern of the coast-to-coast U.S. highways. At one time, U.S.80 ran from San Diego, California to Savannah, Georgia (actually Tybee Island).
In 1969, the part west of Yuma, Arizona was decommissioned.
In 1977, the part west of Benson, Arizona was decommissioned.
In 1989, the part west of Anthony, New Mexico was decommissioned.
In 1991, the part west of Dallas, Texas was decommissioned.

U.S.80 was replaced with:
  1. I-8 west of Phoenix, Arizona.
  2. I-10 from Tucson, Arizona to Benson, Arizona.
  3. AZ-80 from Benson, to Tombstone, Bisbee, Douglas, all in Arizona.
  4. NM-80 for a 29-mile segment to I-10 west of Lordsburg, New Mexico.
  5. I-10 from Lordsburg, NM, through El Paso, Texas, to the I-20/I-10 split in West Texas.   (Actually, the I-20/I-10 split follows the former split between U.S.80 to Dallas and U.S.290 to San Antonio.)
  6. I-20 along the road to Pecos, Odessa, Big Spring, Abilene, and Ft. Worth, all in Texas.

Casey Cooper's webpage about U.S.80 in California

Arizona Roads

ByGoneByWays, former U.S. 80 in New Mexico

U.S. Government history of U.S.80.

Old Spanish Trail, U.S.80 in New Mexico.

New Mexico

Texas, New Mexico, Colorado abandoned roads, website by Martin G. Blaise.

In the year 1928, U.S. 66 ran through New Mexico, from west to east:
  1. from Gallup, NM to Laguna, NM, approximately along the location of present I-40
  2. from Laguna, NM to Los Lunas, NM. approximately along the location of present NM-6
  3. from Los Lunas, NM, through Albuquerque, through Santa Fe, to Romero(ville), NM, approximately along the location of present I-25
  4. from Romero, NM to Tucumcari, NM, approximately along the location of present U.S. 84 and then I-40
  5. to Amarillo, Texas and Oklahoma City, approximately along the location of present I-40
See the RoadWanderer or US-highways websites for the pre-1938 route66. In 1938, U.S.66 was rerouted to take a straighter route, from Gallup to Tucumcari, avoiding both Santa Fe and Los Lunas, and passing approximately along the location of present I-40.

U.S. 66 Highway Photos from New Mexico, webpage by Martin G. Blaise

Glenrio, New Mexico U.S. 66 abandoned highway near Texas border

New Mexico Highways, website by Steve Riner, with photographs from the 1970s.   1926 road map of Southern New Mexico, prior to the U.S. highway system.

Steve Alpert's website, with photographs taken in 1984 and 1988 by Michael Summa.

This document is at
created 17 March 2007, revised 15 April 2007

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