Florida’s State Road system was laid out in 1917 under the supervision of George Barnes. The numbering system was haphazard with roads numbered according to the order in which they were built. Northernmost roads were numbered first. Route numbers were legislatively defined starting in 1923.1
Since several officials found the original state road system to be “utterly confusing,” in 1941, Florida decided to create a new state numbering system. Laid out in a grid pattern, the replacement system made traveling easier by grouping similar-numbered roads around the same city. However because of World War II, renumbering of most roads across the state did not occur until 1946.
Florida Secondary State Road System
Florida state roads were partitioned between two systems from 1955 to 1977. The primary state roads were identified by the state as routes for heavier traffic and higher maintenance. With lower traffic demands and requiring less maintenance, the secondary state roads were identified by the respective counties. Each system had a mileage cap of 11,000 miles – giving the total state road system a total of 22,000 miles.
Route numbers posted wihtin the state secondary system were designated with a prefix of S-. A subtle difference in the state road shield helped classify secondary roads from their primary counterparts. The state outline on state secondary road signs omitted Cape Canaveral and rounded the western panhandle. Shielding at the end points of these roads often accompanied placards indicating that the road was maintained as a secondary road.
When the secondary system was retired in 1977, existing signs were slowly replaced with county pentagons or altered so that the “S-” prefix was changed to “C-” for county, or a county decal was affixed to the bottom left of the shield face. Some exceptions in the secondary system remained state maintained through to 1982 for federal funding purposes.
- Blue Diamonds: The Old Florida State Road System (1917-1946).