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Hit the Road: Later Road Development

Advertising highway
improvements in Dane
County. Courtesy of
Wisconsin Historical Society
Archives (PH Series 2706)

In contrast to the early roads in Wisconsin, which were built by the military or constructed and maintained by towns and municipalities, road development during the early 20th century was the responsibility of the state. Spurred by the 1890s Good Roads Movement, and later by automobile and agricultural lobbyists, the passage of a public roads law in 1911 ushered in a new era of transportation. During the 20th century, the state embarked on new programs of road improvements, bridge repairs, and state trunk and interstate highway construction to provide fast, efficient and a relatively safe means of travel.

These pages were developed as a cooperative project between the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation with assistance from Mead and Hunt.

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