President Thomas Jefferson signs legislation establishing a national highway

The Congress passes and President Thomas Jefferson signs enabling legislation to construct the nation’s first multi-state, federally funded highway – the Cumberland Road (National Road). The legislation is nothing short of “revolutionary”, in that it sets the precedent for all future, federal, public works projects.

Over 130 miles of wilderness is surveyed for the construction of the National Road, which is to have a right-of-way, 66 feet in width, and a maximum grade of five degrees (8.75%).