Skip to main content


Society: ASCE Main Category: Civil Sub Category: Era: 1930s DateCreated: 1930 Zion - Mount Carmel Hwy Hurricane State: UT Zip: Country: USA Website: Creator:

With the dawn of the automobile age at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the entire nation started to demand better roads. In the 1910s, motorists and businessmen in Utah became aware of the possibilities of tourism as a business. Soon the state of Utah and the federal government responded with a decades-long program to improve transportation to and within Zion National Park.

Several factors argued for a road through Zion National Park: 

Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0) Image Caption: The spectacular scenery of Zion National Park along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, S.R. 9, east of the Zion tunnel. Era_date_from:
Sewall's Bridge
Society: ASCE Main Category: Civil Sub Category: Bridges Era: 1750-1799 DateCreated: 1761 York River York State: ME Zip: 03909 Country: USA Website: Creator: Sewall, Samuel

Sewall's Bridge is a singular example of an era when wooden trestle bridges carried highway traffic across New England waterways. It is the earliest pile-trestle bridge for which an authentic construction record exists, and the oldest for which builder's drawings survive. Spanning the York River, it was named for Major Samuel Sewall, Jr., the civil engineer who designed and constructed it.

Image Credit: Public Domain (State Historical Society of Colorado) Image Caption: Sewall's Bridge Era_date_from: 1761
Pennsylvania Turnpike (Old Section)
Society: ASCE Main Category: Civil Sub Category: Roads & Rails, Transportation Era: 1940-1949 DateCreated: 1940 Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike
Harrisburg State: PA Zip: Country: USA Website: Creator: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

The Pennsylvania Turnpike was the first American paved highway of the automobile era in which tolls alone were expected to pay all project costs. The 160-mile roadway, which cut an east-west path from Pittsburgh to the state capital of Harrisburg, was considered a revolutionary example of transportation system design and served as a model for the Interstate Highway System.

Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Doug Kerr (CC BY-SA 2.0) Image Caption: Pennsylvania Turnpike (Old Section) Era_date_from: 1940
Navajo Bridge
Society: ASCE Main Category: Civil Sub Category: Bridges Era: 1920-1929 DateCreated: 1929 Marble Canyon Page State: AZ Zip: 86036 Country: USA Website: Creator: Arizona Highway Department

Navajo Bridge spans Marble Canyon, 470 feet above the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. It was considered the highest steel arch bridge in America when completed.

The Navajo Bridge (also known as the Grand Canyon Bridge) was built in 1929 by the Arizona Highway Department and provided a vital transportation link over the Grand Canyon between northern Arizona and southern Utah. Construction commenced by building on one side of the canyon, then on the other, until the two sides met in the middle.

Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Frank Kovalchek (CC BY 2.0) Image Caption: Navajo Bridge Era_date_from: 1929
Subscribe to Highway

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.