Prior to 1913, roads within the State of Illinois were the responsibility of the individual townships. Under the Tice Act of 1913, the state legislature created the County Superintendent of Highways position, now known as the County Engineer.
The Superintendent of Highways has to meet specific criteria and pass selective tests before being appointed by the state. Ultimately, this legislative action shifted the responsibility for building the road system in Illinois from townships to counties.
At the time, most of the roads in Illinois were dirt roads and inclement weather made them impossible to navigate. There was a growing movement to develop a hard roads system to “get Illinois out of the mud.” Working closely with the State Highway Commission, County Highway Departments began building, and in some cases maintaining, state roads until 1959.