America’s highways are a modern wonder. There’s 46,876 miles of highway in the Interstate System.
Do you remember how this feat of American ingenuity came to be? Do you remember President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s plan to connect America?
Richard F. Weingroff wrote a fascinating piece on “The Greatest Decade” (1956-1966) of the construction of the Eisenhower Interstate System on the Federal Highway Administration‘s website.
Weingroff writes that earlier in life, President Eisenhower “participated in the U.S. Army’s first transcontinental convoy of military vehicles, a 2-month journey from Washington to San Francisco.” This journey “convinced all participants of the country’s need for better roads.”
As President, “Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 on June 29, 1956.”
Partisan squabbling, budget problems, and even allegations of corruption in the program” threatened the project’s completion.
Eisenhower would leave office before system was complete – but eventually the tens of thousands of highways we know and depend on today were built.
Without President Eisenhower’s determination and personal experiences, there’s no telling how this massive undertaking would have turned out.
In case you missed it: Do you remember these 1950s candies?