Lincoln Highway Ideal Section
When the highway was rebuilt in 1997, local enthusiasts made sure the Ideal Section was marked in the parapet walls.
Photo taken by J.R. Manning in August 2003
BH Photo #114520
The Ideal Section of The Lincoln Highway
Written by J.R. Manning
In 1912, Carl Fisher, entrepreneur and automobile enthusiast from Indianapolis, Indiana proposed a coast-to-coast paved highway. Fisher had built the Indianapolis Speedway and founded the Indianapolis 500 Automobile Race, so he knew what he was talking about. What he didn't realize is how long the project would take and he greatly underestimated the cost.
Construction began in 1913 and was pretty much completed by 1928. Known as the Lincoln Highway to honor the memory of the martyred President, the Lincoln Highway Association set standards before any highway standards were proposed.
In 1921, the association proposed an Ideal Section, one mile of paved road to act as a demonstration of what modern highway design should be. The stretch of road was built between Dyer and Shererville, Indiana, just east of the Illinois border. The ideal section was four lanes wide, paved with concrete, lighted and landscaped with a design by noted landscape designer, Jens Jensen.
Today, this critical stretch of road still follows the original alignment of the Lincoln Highway. Badly in need of updating, the Ideal Section was pretty much destroyed. The concrete stringer bridge that carried the Lincoln Highway over Dyer Ditch was also updated. Because the bridge has such a historical significance, local officials allowed the Lincoln Highway Association to commemorate the old bridge with Lincoln Highway indicia and text that indicates that this was once the epitome of highway design, a model for highway designers from around the entire world.
Learn more about the Lincoln Highway Association at their website:
- Beam bridge over Dyer Ditch on US 30 in Dyer
- Dyer, Lake County, Indiana
- Open to traffic
- Built 1922, rehabilitated in 1997
- - Jens Jensen of Dybbøl, Sønderjylland, Denmark
Length of largest span: 34.8 ft.
Total length: 36.7 ft.
Deck width: 68.9 ft.
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +41.49111, -87.49167 (decimal degrees)
41°29'28" N, 87°29'30" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 16/458958/4593394 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Saint John
- Average daily traffic (as of 2004)
- Inventory numbers
- INNBI 008070 (Indiana bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 36655 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- Inspection report (as of July 2018)
- Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 76.4 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com
- March 24, 2021: New photos from R. Mark Pittman
- April 19, 2010: New Street View added by J.P.
- June 22, 2008: Updated by J.R. Manning: Corrected a typo and added to US 30 category
- May 28, 2008: Essay added by J.R. Manning
- J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
- J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
- R. Mark Pittman - mmrmpittman1 [at] hotmail [dot] com