For informational/historical purposes only.

Ohio Department of Transportation

Internet News Release

June 23, 2006

Caravan Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Interstate System

(COLUMBUS) 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 celebration.

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 the future.

 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 life.

Link to:  AASHTO Intestate 50th Site