Due to a lack of roads in Dalmatia in the 19th century, the Dalmatian Assembly recognised the mi litary and trade importance of a road that would connect the Makarska coastal area with the area inland of Mt. Biokovo and with Herzegovina, which was still under the Ottoman Empire. Works on the road, designed by Captain Gustav Blondein, began in 1876 under the auspices of Dalmatian governor Barun Gavril Rodić, a great advocate of its construction. For that reason, the road bears his name. The road was constructed by the 2nd Regiment of the Austro-Hungarian army, with the local population of the Makarska and Vrgorac regions volunteering in the works. The road led from Makarska over the Staza Pass to the village Kozica, where it was joined with the main Dal matian road (Zadar-Dubrovnik), and was 5.5 m wide and 32 km long, of which 16 km ran through the present day Biokovo Nature Park. Construction of the road cost 1.5 million forints, and it was officially opened on 30 May 1878. This road remained the main connecting route between the Ma karska coastal region with the Biokovo inland and Herzegovina right up until the 1970s, when the Makarska-Vrgorac main road was built.
Translation of the engraving on the monument at Kozica which was torn down after the World War II: "Ruling Franz Josip I Austrian Emperor future Governor Barun Gavril Rodić district head Knight Ivan Dr. Lužara this road named after Barun Rodić and designed by Captian Knight G. Blondein with the participation of the people was built by a company of 18 armoured 8 and 9 surveyor of the Second Regiment opened in the year 1878."