The Cumberland Road (National Road) was the first major improved highway in the United States to be built by the federal government. The approximately 620-mile long National Road provided a connection between the Potomac and Ohio Rivers and a gateway to the West for thousands of settlers. When rebuilt in the 1830s, the Cumberland Road became the first road in the U.S. to use the new macadam road surfacing. Construction began heading west in 1811 at Cumberland, Maryland, on the Potomac River.
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