Burd's Road was built by Colonel James Burd, who played an important role in fortifying the Pennsylvania frontier after Braddock's Defeat left it exposed to the depredations of the French and their allied Indians. Initially, he worked as a road-builder, cutting an intended supply route for Braddock's army along the marker Raystown Traders' Path from Shippensburg to Raystown (modern Bedford). Burd's Road was supposed to connect with Braddock's Road, but the work proceeded too slowly to help the beleaguered general.
Burd's Road was abandoned when Colonel Dunbar evacuated the remnants of Braddock's army to Philadelphia. Burd remained on the Pennsylvania frontier, encouraging the provincial government to fortify the route between Shippensburg and Raystown, so that the French could not use the passage.
Burd's road-building efforts on behalf of Braddock paid off for the Forbes Expedition in 1758. During that campaign, Burd contributed to the construction of Fort Ligonier. A year later, he and James Shippen built Fort Burd on the Monongahela to serve as a depot for river transport to Pittsburgh.