U. S. Highway 80 Across the American Sahara as it is today. The Old Plank Road - A few Decades ago. The new Freeway Interstate 10 "Highway Beautiful" across the sand dunes - 1`3 miles south west of Yuma Quite a contrast to the old plank road - a few decades ago. The first high way across the dunes was completed in 1916. It was a unique 8 foot wide plank road made in sections 8 wide 12 long of 4 x 12 inch planks. The sections were moveable to conform with the ever shifting sand. Some fragments remain of the original road a mute remainder of early days on the desert.