NATIONAL CONVOY TO CROSS OHIO
Caravan Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Interstate
The year 2006 marks the 50th anniversary of the federal
law that brought America its unparalleled interstate system. This
46,000-mile web of superhighways has transformed our nation and our
economy. Ohio is a vital part of this system and has long been a
leader in interstate construction.
Since its creation at the beginning of the 20th
century, through the construction of the Inter-County highway system
to the creation of the Interstate and urban freeways, the Ohio
Department of Transportation has changed in response to changes in its
mission, societal goals and technology, said Ohio Department of
Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor. Our interstate system
has come a long way in 50 years, but we are now at a crossroads as we
work to face the challenges that 21st century traffic and
needs have placed on our infrastructure.
It has been 102 years since the General Assembly
created Ohios State Highway Department with four employees and a
$10,000 annual budget. From those modest beginnings, the department
has grown to construct and maintain the 7th largest road
system in the nation with the fifth highest volume of traffic and the
nations fourth largest interstate highway network.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of
the interstates, ODOT will be one of several state transportation
departments coordinating with the American Association of State
Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as part of a nationwide
The highlight of the celebration is a reenactment
of the cross-country military convoy that traveled the Lincoln Highway
in 1919. This trip, led by Dwight D. Eisenhower, was a key factor that
later influenced Eisenhowers vision of a national interstate system.
AASHTO and state departments of transportation
around the country embarked on a reenactment of this convoy on June
16, traveling from west to east, and will end at zero milepost in
Washington D.C. on June 29 the anniversary day on which the highway
bill creating the system was signed into law.
The convoy will be stopping in Akron, Ohio on
June 26. Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC is a national
sponsor of the convoy and will be hosting a celebration event when it
arrives in Akron. ODOT Director Gordon Proctor is one of the keynote
speakers at the event. AASHTO representatives will also be speaking
along with members of the convoy such as
Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, the great grandson of
Dwight D. Eisenhower and Andrew Firestone.
All will be gathered to celebrate 50 years of
paved, connected interstates as well as highlight the states needs to
continue to provide safe, modern and efficient highway connections for
There is no better time to highlight the needs
of our interstate system, said Proctor. The benefits of the
interstate system have been profound for Ohio and for America. We must
use this opportunity to celebrate how far our highways have come as
well as to look toward the future to ensure that we maintain and
improve our highways to serve future needs.
Under the leadership of Governor Bob Taft, ODOT
developed a $5 billion, 10-year plan to rebuild Ohios urban
interstate networks, reduce congestion, address high-crash locations
and complete the states rural macro-corridors. The Jobs and Progress
Plan was designed to address Ohios most pressing congestion, safety
and rural access needs.
ODOTs mission is to provide a world-class
transportation system that links Ohio to a global economy while
preserving the states unique character and enhancing its quality of