ALTON – What’s in a name? Plenty if it includes a national title. The Illinois Great River Road, which includes the local Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, has been designated an “All-American Road” by the Federal Highway Administration.
The Great River Road was one of 49 roadways in 28 states to receive new roadway designations as part of America’s Byways collection. All-American Roads are considered the very best of America’s National Scenic Byways. The Great River Road National Scenic Byway in Illinois received the honor for its historic and cultural qualities.
The Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway is a 33-mile stretch included in the Illinois Great River Road. It runs from Hartford, IL to just north of Grafton, IL. The roadway parallels the Mississippi River and includes its confluence with the Missouri River and the Illinois River.
“It is such an honor to have Illinois’ portion of the Great River Road designated an All-American Road,” said Cory Jobe, President & CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau. “The byway is certainly one of the most scenic drives in the United States and showcases the amazing beauty of the Mississippi River and surrounding river bluffs as it stretches the length of the state. Where else can you enjoy seeing the confluence of America’s three great rivers, the Missouri, Mississippi, and Illinois rivers? Or watch eagles soar over the bluffs and waterways in their natural habitat? The Great River Road National Scenic Byway is a treasure for our region and Illinois. The byway shines each season – winter, spring, summer, and fall – and brings travelers to Illinois and the Great Rivers & Routes region who are seeking a tranquil, scenic drive that overflows with historic and cultural significance. The byway celebrates the beauty and splendor that is unique to the Midwest.”
To be designated an All-American Road (AAR) the byway must meet criteria for at least two nationally significant intrinsic qualities: scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational, and archaeological. It must also be considered a destination until itself.
The Great River Road stretches for 3,000 miles from Louisiana to Minnesota. It runs along the western edge of Illinois from Cairo to Galena.