Illinois Roads - IL 4/old US 66

IL 4 and former US 66

The first section of old US 66 that I present to you is down near Livingston. I turn from Possum Hill Rd. onto IL 4, then turn off again at Williamson Rd. Here's what's going on: All of the old US 66 alignments from St. Louis have come together by Possum Hill Rd., the one time they're all in the same place until Springfield. There are two routes that connect this area (I-55 Exit 33 at IL 4) to Springfield: IL 4, and I-55. 4 is the original US 66, and 55 is the most recent alignment, since the Interstate gradually took over the improved 4-lane US 66 across Illinois. The Williamson Rd. alignment catches back up with the 55 frontage road beyond Staunton, so there are just three parallel alignments here (versus at least 5-6 to the south): 1926-1930 along IL 4, 1930-1940 along Williamson, and 1940-1977 along 55.

I'm now in Auburn, still on old US 66 EB, but no longer near the newer alignments.

Even the oldest alignment is prone to being bypassed. IL 4 cuts west of original US 66, which follows Lincoln St. through a series of S-curves. These photos are at the southern (first) and northern ends of Lincoln St. at IL 4.

My reason to detour out to Auburn was this original brick US 66 section north of town, on Curran Rd., and curving into Snell Rd. What's better is that the bricks are replaced in kind as needed to maintain the pavement. 66 continued straight past what's now IL 4 and curved left around the barn in the far background of the last photo. Sadly, I did not know this at the time.

There was an original IL 4 shield on the Division St. bridge SB across North Creek in Pontiac, a remnant of when IL 4 continued beyond Springfield to follow old US 66 to Chicago. That arrangement ended in 1935, so that shield was truly a treasure. After so many decades, and just before I got there, it was shamefully painted over when I arrived. That's like ripping down an original US 66 shield and putting up a new replacement because it's shinier - an utter disregard for historical value.

Continue west on old US 66 from Livingston to IL 157
Continue east on old US 66 from Livingston to Macoupin County
Across to newer US 66 in Montgomery County
Across to newer US 66, Old Carriage Way in Springfield

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