Illinois Department of Transportation, Ann L. Schneider, Secretary
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ILLINOIS SCENIC BYWAYS PROGRAM

Under the National Scenic Byways Program, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes roads that possess outstanding scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, archeological and/or natural qualities by designating them as either National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads. As of 2009, there are 151 nationally designated byways in 46 states - 119 National Scenic Byways and 32 with the special distinction of being named All American Roads. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) markets these routes, also known as America’s Byways, both nationally and internationally.

Illinois now boasts seven nationally designated routes and is proud that the Historic National Road National Scenic Byway is one of the 32 All-American Roads in the nation. The seven National Scenic Byways in Illinois are: Great River Road, Historic National Road, Historic Route 66, Illinois Lincoln Highway, Illinois River Road, Meeting of The Great Rivers, Ohio River Scenic Byway.

For further information on the seven National Scenic Byways in Illinois, download the Illinois Scenic Byway Road Trip Guide*.


* To view the Illinois Scenic Byway Road Trip Guide, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader.  Get a free download here:
GREAT RIVER ROAD

Click on the image to visit the Great River Road site.

MAP
Local Contact:
Mr. Roger L. Carmack, Macomb, IL
Phone:
Toll free # - 877-477-7007
Related Site(s):

Experiencing the Mississippi River for the first time is a memory few will forget. From the native peoples and early explorers to those seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad, this corridor has played a major role in the history of the nation. It also offers world-class heritage sites, noteworthy historic towns, secluded natural areas and some of the best eagle-watching in the state.


HISTORIC NATIONAL ROAD
Local Contact:
Ms. Mary Truitt, President

Click on the image to go to the Historic National Road site.


MAP
Phone:
Toll free # - 888-268-0042
Related Site(s):
www.nationalroad.org
http://www.enjoyillinois.com/thingstodo/details/6036309
www.byways.org

As part of America’s first federal highway, the Historic National Road holds historical significance and a glimpse of the past. Visitors can explore Victorian architecture, prehistoric mounds, friendly towns and their festivals along the “Road That Built the Nation”.


HISTORIC ROUTE 66

Click on the image to visit the Historic Route 66 site.

MAP
Local Contact:
William Kelly, Springfield, IL
Phone:
Toll free # - 866-378-7866
Related Site(s):
www.illinoisroute66.org
http://www.enjoyillinois.com/thingstodo/details/6044771
www.byways.org

Route 66 defined a remarkable era in the growth of our nation. No other road symbolizes optimism, freedom and the American Dream quite like Route 66. The charm, the history and the atmosphere of “The Mother Road” brings travelers from all over the world to experience a very special part of America.


ILLINOIS LINCOLN HIGHWAY
Local Contact:
Ms. Bonnie Heimbach, Belvidere, IL

Click on the image to visit the Lincoln Highway site.

MAP
Phone:
Toll free # - 866-455-4249
Related Site(s):
www.drivelincolnhighway.com
http://www.enjoyillinois.com/thingstodo/details/6047663
www.byways.org

Drive the road that tells the history of modern transportation. This historic byway follows the original alignment of the first paved transcontinental highway in the United States and was the forefather of the modern Interstate transportation system. Today, cities and historic sites tempt visitors to stop and enjoy the heritage that has thrived along this road. 


ILLINOIS RIVER ROAD

Click on the image to visit the Illinois River Road site.

MAP
Local Contact:
Anaise Berry, Peoria, IL
Phone:
Toll free # - 866-896-6853
Related Site(s):
www.illinoisriverroad.org
http://www.enjoyillinois.com/thingstodo/details/6036385
www.byways.org

The Illinois River Road follows both sides of the river from Ottawa to Havana. The Illinois River valley imparts feelings of awe at the power of the river winding its way through a landform carved by glacial meltwater. Experience the seasonal colors and rhythms of the forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies on your own or follow one of 7 different nature activity guides.


MEETING OF THE GREAT RIVERS
Local Contact:
Mr. Brett Stawar, Alton, IL

Click on the image to go to the Meeting of the Great Rivers site.


MAP
Phone:
Toll free # - 800-258-6645
Related Site(s):
www.GreatRiversByway.com
http://www.enjoyillinois.com/thingstodo/details/33963
www.byways.org

Travel 33 miles of historic, natural and cultural treasures along this very special section of the Great River Road. The Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers meet to form a confluence that is breathtaking in its size and beauty. This corner of Illinois boasts history and legends including the site of the last Lincoln-Douglas debate and the mighty Piasa Bird perched on the bluffs overlooking the confluence.


OHIO RIVER SCENIC BYWAY

Click on the image to visit the Ohio River Byway site.

MAP
Local Contact:
Sheryl Durham, Metropolis, IL
Phone:
Toll free # - 888-391-2949
Related Site(s):
http://www.ohioriverscenicbyway.net
http://www.enjoyillinois.com/thingstodo/details/6036374
www.byways.org

Traversing the lush hills and farmlands paralleling the might Ohio River, this route has a strong Civil War history that is brought to life by strategically placed forts and many Underground Railroad sites. This byway is also home to the magnificent Shawnee National Forest and the Cave-in-Rock, an enormous cave that was once home to river pirates.


Any Illinois community or local organization may submit a nomination for national designation of a specific section of roadway, but the nomination must meet stringent criteria and be submitted through the Illinois Department of Transportation. Information regarding nominations, grants and federal contact information may be found at www.bywaysonline.org.

The National Scenic Byways Program and the Illinois Scenic Byways Program include only one restriction. The federal law which created the program includes a prohibition of new off-site advertising along nationally designated roadways.

The Illinois Scenic Byways Manual, including information relating to compliance of Illinois law, is available upon request.

Upon designation, byway organizations and byway communities are eligible for federal funding for projects along the byway. Typical projects funded by the Federal Highway Administration are:

  • Preparation of interpretive and marketing plans for the designated roadway
     
  • Construction of byway facilities such as visitor centers, informational kiosks, restrooms and access to recreation
     
  • Safety Improvements
     
  • Protection and preservation of byway resources
     
  • Administration funds for byway organizations

Projects are funded annually and require a 20% local match. (80% federal/20% local) Local projects must be submitted to the appropriate byway organization for approval and prioritization. Each year, the Illinois Department of Transportation submits applications to the Federal Highway Administration for review and selection of funded projects.

For more information about the Illinois Scenic Byways Program, please contact Melissa Hendricks at 217-785-1250 or Jeff South at 217-782-0378. The federal website www.byways.org also offers information on byway travel in Illinois and other states.

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