ute which US 30 follows has changed since it was originally planned as the Lincoln Highway in the early 1910s. The first route connected as many downtown areas as possible, in order to create awareness about the Good Roads Movement and the Lincoln Highway. As the primary highway system of Iowa matured, and the Lincoln Highway yielded to US 30, the highway was gradually straightened, leaving many towns off the route. More recently, new construction has routed traffic away from the straighter roads and onto sections of freeway and expressway. Lincoln Highway Lincoln Highway marker Lincoln Highway Location Council Bluffs–Clinton Length 358 mi (576 km) Existed 1913–1928 US 30 was created with the U.S. Highway System in 1926, but the route it takes dates back to 1913, when the Lincoln Highway Association (LHA) designated the route across the country. The brainchild of Carl Fisher, the Lincoln Highway was the first highway to cross the United States, connecting New York City to San Francisco. In Iowa, it was uncertain exactly where the Lincoln Highway would run. As of August 1913, no definite route had been planned; the only certainty was the route would pass through Iowa. Iowans raised over $5 million (equivalent to $96.7 million in 2019 dollars) for the construction of the road. On September 14, 1913, the Lincoln Highway Association announced the route. It was 358 miles (576 km) of dirt roads, connecting Clinton, DeWitt, Cedar Rapids, Tama, Marshalltown, Ames, Jefferson, Denison, Logan, and Council Bluffs. The route was marked by a red, white, and blue tricolor emblazoned with an L. The route markers were painted upon telephone poles, bridges, and nearby buildings to show travelers the way. A highway passes underneath a train bridge. The Lincoln Highway passes beneath a Union Pacific Railroad bridge in State Center with the "L" logo painted on the bridge support. While not ideal for transcontinenta l travel, Iowa's dirt roads were of high quality. Foreigners even compared them to the best roads in France. However, the same could not be said when they were wet. The mud was so thick and viscous it was nicknamed "gumbo". To show travelers the obvious benefits of paved roads, the Lincoln Highway Association began the process of creating seedling miles of paved roads. The idea, according to Henry B. Joy, then-president of the Lincoln Highway Association, was to show travelers, for one mile (1.6 km), how fast and smooth their trip could be, only to bring them back to reality at the end of the mile. Seedling miles were placed at least six miles (9.7 km) from the nearest town and in areas where the terrain was rough. Between August 1918 and June 1919, Iowa's first seedling mile was built in Linn County, west of Mount Vernon. The ribbon of concrete, which was 16 feet (4.9 m) wide, 7+1⁄2 inches (19 cm) thick, and crowned for drainage 1+1⁄2 inches (3.8 cm), cost nearly $35,000 (equivalent to $392,000 in 2019 dollars) to build. Despite the success of the seedling miles across the country, Iowa lagged behind other states in improving its roads. Before 1924, Iowa's 99 counties, not the state highway commission, were responsible for the construction and maintenance of the state's roads. In the 1920s, road paving cost $30,000 per mile ($19,000/km), equivalent to $580,000 per mile ($360,000/km) in 2019 dollars; a major obstacle for county boards of supervisors that wanted to pave its roads. When counties could afford to build roads, the Iowa State Highway Commission required extensive grading to be done before paving. In 1922, only five percent of Iowa's roads, 334 miles (538 km), were paved. By 1924, twenty percent of the Lincoln Highway in Iowa had been paved, and by 1931, it was paved continuously from New York City to Missouri Valley, Iowa. 1930s–1950s Historical US 30 route markers US 30 route marker 1926 design US 30 route marker 1948 design used at intersections US 30 route marker 1961 design When the Lincoln Highway became U.S. Highway 30 in 1926, the route was 358 miles (576 km) long and passed through every town along the way. Starti