Although road building was the earliest sign of the impending transportation revolution, it was not an important factor in economic development prior to the Civil War. The National Road, a paved highway extending west from Cumberland, Maryland, was financed and maintained through congressional appropriations. It was completed as far as Wheeling on the Ohio River in 1818 and then extended over the next twenty years to Vandalia, Illinois. Roads throughout the country were often narrow and un-paved, muddy in wet weather and dusty in dry. Moving freight by road was expensive and slow.