What is the National Road and its significance?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The National Road (also known as Cumberland Road) was an early Federal highway project originally meant to provide ease of travel between the Potomac and Mississippi Rivers. Work began in 1811 in Cumberland, Maryland and eventually the road crossed the Allegheny Mountains to Wheeling, West Virginia, located on the Ohiio River. Road work stopped short of its goal of reaching St. Louis when funding was halted. The project, which spanned nearly three decades and more than 600 miles, was ended in Vandalia, Illinois. Additional connecting routes were added, including the National Pike (connecting Baltimore) and the Washington National Pike (that linked the nation's capital).