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May 1

1914 1914 OPR's Charles Moorefield, until today in charge of bridge work, is placed in charge of important concrete road construction in Ohio, involving an expenditure of $320,000. Oscar L. Grover, formerly chief bridge engineer of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and of the Virginia State highway department, assumes responsibility for bridge work.
1946 PRA issues General Administrative Memorandum 300 ("Reimbursement of Costs of Changes to Utility Facilities"), the first all-inclusive instructions in a single document for utility adjustments.
1968 The Committee of Urban Advisors to the Administrator, established in November 1965 by Administrator Rex Whitton, submits The Freeway in the City, a report of findings and recommendations with respect to the planning and design of urban freeways. The introduction notes that, "clearly something is wrong, and the situation cries out for new approaches, particularly in the nonengineering aspects of highway development."
"It is the opportunity for social good implicit in the highway program that deserves to be emphasized. With an awareness of our social goals, and a will to serve them, the highway program can seize that opportunity."
Lowell K. Bridwell
Federal Highway Administrator
"Foreword," The Freeway in the City
May 1, 1968
1970 The Publications and Visual Aids Branch is advised that one of its films, ERGS-69 (Electronic Route Guidance System) has been selected for a Special Award at the 5th Festival of Technical Films, held in Budapest, Hungary.
Photo: FHWA exhibit on Electronic Route Guidance System
FHWA exhibit on Electronic Route Guidance System
1992 Secretary of Transportation Andrew H. Card, Jr., signs an agreement with the EPA and Department of the Army on streamlining the NEPA and Section 404 wetlands permit processes. Eugene W. Cleckley, Chief of the Environmental Operations Division, had spearheaded the FHWA's role in this initiative.
Photo: Andrew H. Card, Jr.
Andrew H. Card, Jr.
Secretary of Transportation

May 2

1943 A B-25 medium bomber makes an emergency landing on a flight strip being constructed under PRA's flight strip program in an unspecified Atlantic Coastal State. (See November 19, 1941.) At least 10 U.S. flight strips have figured in emergency landings during the course of their construction.
1967 Director of Public Roads Frank Turner issues Instructional Memorandum 30-6-67, "Utilities--Scenic Enhancement," covering utility facilities in scenic strips, overlooks, rest areas, landscaped areas, and other areas of roadside development or scenic enhancement.
1986 Administrator Ray Barnhart issues a bulletin transmitting The Flexibility Document, which highlights the flexibility available in the project development process under current regulations and statutes. The document was developed by an interoffice work group that included staff from the Offices of Highway Planning, Environmental Policy, Right-of-Way, Engineering, and Chief Counsel.
2010 Alan Boyd, the first U.S. Secretary of Transportation (1967-1969), visits FHWA's Division Office in Washington State. Now living in Seattle, Boyd talks about the Department's origins and its early years, including the evolution of social and environmental consciousness. He tells Division staff that the three main reasons for creating DOT were: safety, coordination among agencies, and protection of the environment.

May 3

1954 AASHO adopts A Policy on Geometric Design of Rural Highways (updated in 1965). Called the "Blue Book" because of the color of its cover, the policy is adopted by BPR for use on Federal-aid highway projects.
1962 With a ribbon-cutting ceremony in San Antonio, TX, a 43-mile section of I-35 in Bexar County becomes the first Interstate route in Texas opened from county line to county line through a large metropolitan area. Division Engineer L. S. McCoy represents BPR. At a luncheon in the Peraux Room of the St. Anthony Hotel, Chairman Herbert C. Petry, Jr., of the Texas State Highway Commission expresses appreciation to BPR. Meanwhile, the manager of a large national chain of stores announces, "We will realize huge benefits, since IH-35 is near our two stores and central warehouse."
1994 Acting Regional Administrator Dale Wilken and Planning and Program Director Pete Lombard represent FHWA at the dedication of the Santa Fe Railway Transportation Center, a $100-million intermodal facility near Ft. Worth, TX. Regional representatives of FAA and FRA also attend. The 575-acre carload and truck-railway facility is co-located with Alliance Airport, close to I-35, providing an opportunity for transfer of freight among the three modes.

May 4

1894 In Washington, DC, General Roy Stone of the ORI completes the preface to his book, New Roads and Road Laws in the United States, published by the D. Van Nostrand Company later that year. In the preface, Stone notes that the book is largely based on material compiled before the start of the road inquiry, adding, "it is hoped that this book may still further stimulate public interest in the subject, and thus promote the success of the official inquiry."
1992 Administrator Thomas Larson joins State and local government officials and fourth graders from Page Elementary School in Arlington, VA, to launch America's TreeWays, a national highway tree-planting effort. The group planted 100 seedlings at Chain Bridge Road and Georgetown Pike. (See May 12, 1992.) Thousands of trees donated by private companies will be planted statewide under the program, including 1,000 in northern Virginia.
Virginia Secretary of Transportation John G. Milliken (left) and Administrator Thomas D. Larson (second from left) join in the kickoff for America's TreeWays, a national tree-planting effort.
Virginia Secretary of Transportation John G. Milliken (left) and Administrator Thomas D. Larson (second from left) join in the kickoff for America's TreeWays, a national tree-planting effort.

May 5

1976 President Gerald Ford signs the Federal-Aid Highway Act, establishing the Interstate 3R program for resurfacing, restoring, and rehabilitating Interstate highways, the first Federal program to confront the problems of an aging Interstate System. The Act also establishes a "Transition Quarter" as part of the shift of the start of the fiscal year from July 1 to October 1, revises the Interstate withdrawal provisions to allow substitute highway projects as well as substitute public transportation projects, and calls for a study to determine the factors in planning, selecting, programming, and implementing Federal-aid urban system routes.
1983 Former Administrator Frank Turner is the guest of honor at the dedication of the $6.5-million Francis C. Turner Building as part of the renamed Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. Construction of the Turner Building began in the fall of 1980. Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole comments, "This research center will enable us to learn more about highways, how to build them to greater life expectancies, how to make them more resistant to heavy loads, and, above all, how to make them safer."

May 6

1954 In a signing ceremony attended by Commissioner F. V. du Pont, President Dwight D. Eisenhower uses seven pens to sign the Federal-Aid Highway Act authorizing $175 million a year for Interstate construction (FYs 1956-1957) at a Federal-State matching share of 60-40. The act also authorizes the Secondary Road Plan to reduce Federal reviews on FAS projects.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1954- The White House ceremony is attended by Members of Congress who were instrumental in passage of the measure. From left to right: Senator William F. Knowland (CA), Senate Majority Leader; Representative George A. Dondero (MI), Chairman, House Public Works Committee; Representative Clifford Davis (TN), member, House Public Works Committee; Senator Francis Case (SD), Chairman, Senate Subcommittee on Roads; Representative Homer D. Angell (OR), member, House Public Works Committee; Senator Edward Martin (PA), Chairman, Senate Public Works Committee; Representative J. Harry McGregor (OH) Chairman, House Subcommittee on Roads; and Representative George H. Fallon (MD), ranking minority member, House Subcommittee on Roads.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1954- The White House ceremony is attended by Members of Congress who were instrumental in passage of the measure. From left to right: Senator William F. Knowland (CA), Senate Majority Leader; Representative George A. Dondero (MI), Chairman, House Public Works Committee; Representative Clifford Davis (TN), member, House Public Works Committee; Senator Francis Case (SD), Chairman, Senate Subcommittee on Roads; Representative Homer D. Angell (OR), member, House Public Works Committee; Senator Edward Martin (PA), Chairman, Senate Public Works Committee; Representative J. Harry McGregor (OH) Chairman, House Subcommittee on Roads; and Representative George H. Fallon (MD), ranking minority member, House Subcommittee on Roads.
1971 1971 At the Pan American Union in Washington, DC, the U.S. and Colombia sign an agreement covering the responsibility of each party in carrying out the $100 million Darien Gap Highway Program for closing the gap between the Inter-American Highway and the Pan American Highway System of South America.

May 7

1906 A. W. Nichols of Greenville, MI, writes a letter to Good Roads Magazine to report that an object lesson road built by OPRI on July 29-31, 1902, with Director Martin Dodge present, was still in excellent condition even though "not a dime has been expended upon it since its construction."
1951 On the Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway, BPR works with the Virginia State Department of Highways and the Williams Construction Company to complete construction of a pit and slab for the load cells and electrical equipment to test weigh-in-motion equipment. The experiment, near the intersection with U.S. 1, leads to the conclusion that a good possibility exists for improving accuracy to the point that weighing trucks in motion will provide data that is as accurate as weighing trucks statically.
1970 Under an FHWA contract and with cooperation of the Massachusetts Department of Public Works, a computerized traffic control system is activated to help drivers merge from the Main Street ramp onto Route 128 in Woburn. The Raytheon Company designed the "Merging Control Traffic System."

May 8

1946 Having played a major role in organizing the President Harry Truman's 3-day Highway Safety Conference in Washington, DC, PRA takes an active part in its proceedings. Other participants include Federal, State, and local officials, civic leaders, highway transportation and traffic technicians, and leaders of national organizations. PRA supplies a considerable portion of the conference staff and helps in the preparation and assembly of reports to the conference.
1969 Secretary of Transportation John Volpe administers the oath of office to Ralph R. Bartelsmeyer as Director of Public Roads. He would prove to be the last Director of Public Roads--the position is abolished in August 1970. (See January 25, 1974.)
Secretary John A. Volpe administers the oath of office to Director of Public Roads Ralph R. Bartelsmeyer, whose wife Marjorie holds the bible.
Secretary John A. Volpe administers the oath of office to Director of Public Roads Ralph R. Bartelsmeyer, whose wife Marjorie holds the bible.
1970 FHWA announces new evidence that breakaway light poles are saving lives and preventing injuries. On an experimental installation along I-10/12 in Baton Rouge, LA, 16 motorists had smashed into the poles in the past 12 months, without a single fatality.

May 9

1980 The ship "Summit Venture" strikes a pier of the southbound lanes of the I-275 Sunshine Skyway Bridge across Tampa Bay in Florida. Collapse of the main span kills 35 people. Emergency relief funds help the Florida DOT build a $240-million replacement cable-stay bridge, which opens on April 30, 1987. The New York Times says the new bridge "may rank as the most impressive piece of large-scale bridge design in this country in half a century."
1982 "Illegal bidding practices cannot be condoned by government, society, or the construction industry," Administrator Ray Barnhart says via videotape in the opening address of the Anti-Trust Seminar for State Attorneys and Engineers, sponsored by AASHTO. "There will no longer be soft pats on the back, nor gentlemanly condolences. We cannot, and must not, accept such behavior."

May 10

1926 On the Crain Highway between Upper Marlboro and Baltimore, MD, the Maryland State Roads Commission, in cooperation with BPR, begins construction of the first 2.5-mile pavement in a test of the use of sodium silicate and calcium chloride as substitutes for wet earth in curing concrete pavements. Except for the special curing features, construction is in accordance with Maryland's standard specifications.
1962 The first of a series of regional conferences on urban transportation planning gets underway at the Sherman House in Chicago, IL, with 200 Federal, State, county, and city officials in attendance. Administrator Rex Whitton, Deputy Administrator D. Grant Mickle, and Director of Planning E. H. "Ted" Holmes are among the speakers.
1991 FHWA approves the Record of Decision on the final supplemental environmental impact statement for depression of the Central Artery (I-93) and construction of the Third Harbor Tunnel (I-90) in Boston, MA. Combined, they comprise one of the most expensive projects in Agency history.
1993 In a letter, President Bill Clinton congratulates FHWA on its 100th anniversary. "The FHWA," he says, "has helped make the United States the most mobile country in the world."

May 11

1965 Lady Bird Johnson participates in a bus tour of I-95 in Virginia, highlighting highway beautification. In A White House Diary, Mrs. Johnson describes the route as "a model of what can be done." She adds that Mr. and Mrs. Rex "Whitten," plus all the Cabinet wives (except Mrs. Dean Rusk), participated along with Nash Castro of the NPS and State Senator Fred Farr of California. "We had come without our hats, soon slipped out of high-heeled shoes, moved around the bus from person to person, while we drank coffee and munched homemade cookies that Mrs. Rex Whitten had brought along." [Spelling as in original.]
Mr. and Mrs. Rex Whitton (left) with Lady Bird Johnson at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's historic home in Charlottesville, VA, at the end of their bus tour.
Mr. and Mrs. Rex Whitton (left) with Lady Bird Johnson at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's historic home in Charlottesville, VA, at the end of their bus tour.
1978 America's Highways: 1776-1976, produced by FHWA staff, receives the Award for Excellence in an international competition by the Society of Technical Communicators. Executive Director Lester Lamm accepts the award, which was announced on January 17. The book has since become a standard reference for highway historians.
FHWA's Joyce M. Ritter receives award for her work in coordinating production of America's Highways: 1776-1976.
FHWA's Joyce M. Ritter receives award for her work in coordinating production of America's Highways: 1776-1976.
2007 FHWA begins the move to the top 3 floors in the East Building of the Department of Transportation's new headquarters in SE Washington. The move is divided into five groups spaced over the next few weeks. The new DOT headquarters consists of two buildings, containing a total of about 2 million square feet, along the Anacostia River. The buildings are part of a revitalization of SE Washington that will include a new baseball stadium for the Washington Nationals (opened in time for the 2008 season) and a mix of retail, residential, and office properties.

May 12

1893 In a letter to General Roy Stone--not yet head of the not-yet formed ORI--U.S. Senator Charles Manderson recommends against further efforts to secure Federal funds for a good roads exhibit at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, IL. "The Exposition grounds themselves are an object lesson in good roads. When it rains mud is shoe deep where the road builder has not put in his best work."
1967 Life magazine article, "Bitterest Fight: New Mass Transit vs. More Highways," charges that, "huge chunks of revenue producing downtown land are being eaten up." The article prompts a rebuttal in the June issue of Highway User magazine, which states that Life's serious charges are "patently untrue."
"Highways can destroy our country as permanently as bombs."
May 12, 1967
1992 First Lady Barbara Bush and Ohio First Lady Janet Voinovich join local school children and State, Department of the Interior, and FHWA officials in a tree planting ceremony along State Route 72 and I-70 outside Dayton. The ceremony recognizes Ohio's participation in America's TreeWays, a national highway tree planting initiative jointly sponsored by FHWA, Take Pride in America, the National Tree Trust, and the U.S. Forest Service. Associate Administrator for Program Development Anthony R, Kane, Division Administrator Fred Hempel, and Historic Preservation Officer Bruce Eberle represent FHWA.
First Lady Barbara Bush at tree planting ceremony near Dayton, OH.
First Lady Barbara Bush at tree planting ceremony near Dayton, OH.

May 13

1961 J. Clarke Williams, Chief of BPR's Nuclear Energy Branch, retires after 31 years with the agency. In 1963, his son, James C. Williams, and Robert C. Clayton are appointed by Administrator Rex Whitton as the first two trainees in the Office of Highway Safety's highway safety training program. The new program is designed to attract qualified college graduates to careers in highway safety management.
1963 BPR and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) enter into an interagency agreement for construction of public lands development roads and trails, authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962. BLM may survey, design, and construct some projects, following BPR approval of the PS&E. In other cases, BPR will undertake survey and design, and supervise construction.
1976 About 6,000 spectators join West Virginia highway and FHWA officials to watch as ironworkers guide the final section of the New River Gorge Bridge into place, marking completion of the arch (part of Corridor L of the Appalachian Development Highway System).
New River Gorge Bridge
New River Gorge Bridge

May 14

1923 Secretary of Agriculture Henry C. Wallace holds a hearing in Washington DC, to decide which of two competing alignments west of Salt Lake City, UT--the Lincoln or the Victory Highway--will be included in the Federal-aid system. On June 6, Wallace chooses the Victory Highway via Wendover, UT, proposed by the State. That alignment became U.S. 40 (1926), then I-80 (1957), while the Lincoln Highway route became U.S. 50 (the June 1986 issue of Life referred to Nevada's U.S. 50 as "The Loneliest Road" in America).
1957 In Chicago, Il, BPR holds a meeting of regional, district, and headquarters right-of-way personnel to discuss PPM 21-4.1 on the acquisition of right-of-way in which Federal-aid funds are involved.
1976 FHWA issues the first regulations on noise abatement, implementing a provision of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970, which called for "standards of highway noise levels compatible with different land uses."

May 15

1974 A slide presentation on Region 15's Demonstration Project on "Noise-Measurement Techniques, Equipment Systems, and Data Interpretation" is presented at USDOT Headquarters. Observers, including Administrator Norbert Tiemann, then tour the trailer containing FHWA's Acoustical Laboratory, which was constructed at the Region 9 Office of Federal Highway Projects Equipment.
1980 Ground is broken for a $50 million Justice Center in Portland, OR, the largest functional replacement project to date. It is needed because construction of I-205 requires the taking of the Rocky Butte Jail.
2000 Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater announces the appointment of Dr. Walter Sutton, Jr., as Deputy Federal Highway Administrator. Dr. Sutton, who joined FHWA as Associate Administrator for Policy in September 1998, had been serving as Acting Deputy Administrator since the departure of Deputy Administrator Gloria J. Jeff on January 3, 1999. (See December 19, 1997)

May 16

1910 M. O. Eldridge, OPR's Assistant Chief of Road Management, delivers an address in Ontario, OR, the first of 50 he will make as part of a good roads campaign by the State's Threshers and good roads associations. Eldridge says, "The greatest factors against good roads are the localization of the management of road affairs, the practice of paying road taxes in labor, and the usual lack of supervision of the work." The good roads tour ends on June 11 at Medford after at least one stop in each county.
1990 President George Bush declares a Federal disaster in 22 Arkansas counties because of flooding; requests from Oklahoma and Texas are pending. The State intends to request emergency relief funds for road repairs. Secretary of Transportation Samuel Skinner plans to view the extensive flood damage on May 19. (Eventually, emergency relief funds totalling $1.9 million will be used for repairs in Arkansas.)

May 17

1904 Director Martin Dodge addresses the National and International Good Roads Convention in St. Louis, MO, on "Educational and Experimental Work of the Government Division." Looking back at the start of the road inquiry, he says the very first thing expressed was "the idea that the cost of transportation in this country, over our roads, was excessively high; higher than it should be as compared with other means of transportation; and higher as compared with the cost of transportation in other countries." Later, he describes OPR's object lesson roads as "perpetual sermons in stone that spread the idea constantly, continuously, and extensively throughout the country."
1961 Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges presents an Award of Honor to BPR for superior work in internal safety promotion, based on an outstanding safety program and superior accomplishment in the reduction of accidents over the preceding 2 years.

May 18

1962 18 1962 By a letter to Senator Dennis Chavez, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, Administrator Rex Whitton transmits a report on The Use of Materials for the Nation's Highways, as requested by a committee resolution on January 16, 1962. The report covers such materials as aluminum, explosives, steel, plywood, bituminous materials, chloride salts, portland cement, rubber products, additives for concrete, electronic and scientific products, and plasticized sulfur pavement markings.
1980 Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington State, killing dozens, damaging a large portion of State Route 504, and covering other highways with volcanic ash.
1984 Forest Service personnel at the Gifford Pinchot National Forest present an appreciation plaque to FHWA's Western Direct Federal Division for rebuilding access roads to Mount St. Helens National Monument. The Division helped in the $27 million reconstruction of the road system damaged by the 1980 eruption.
Eruption of Mount St. Helens fills right-of-way with volcanic ash (top). Surveying an alignment for reconstruction of State 504 - note Mount St. Helans in the background (center); and completed reconstruction project.
Eruption of Mount St. Helens fills right-of-way with volcanic ash (top). Surveying an alignment for reconstruction of State 504 - note Mount St. Helans in the background (center); and completed reconstruction project.

May 19

1909 "Good Roads Day" is held on the grounds of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, MO. R. W. Richardson, who had taken charge of OPRI's Middle Division on July 1, 1902, arranged to build an object lesson road on the exposition grounds.
1965 Assistant Regional Engineer Robert I. Kellum of BPR tells an all-day conference at the University of Rhode Island that highway beautification is everybody's job. "Local citizens and industry should clean up back of the right of way." He also outlines the key points of President Lyndon Johnson's beautification program.
2008 A bridge on Meadow Creek Road in Boundary County, Idaho, is named the Donald R. Olson Memorial Bridge. Olson, an FHWA employee (1970-1991), had helped design and build more than 200 bridges in the Pacific Northwest. Acting Federal Highway Administrator James D. Ray says, "At 223 feet long, this is one of the nation's smallest bridges, but it is a big monument to a man who dedicated nearly four decades of service to the people of Idaho and to motorists nationwide." The bridge, which replaced the 85 year old Rutledge Bridge, opened the previous November.

May 20

1909 In Jamaica Heights, Long Island, NY, Director Logan Page and a committee of Army engineers begin tests (with AAA cooperation) on the effect of the automobile on macadam roads. In 37 events, automobiles, motorcycles, and horses are used, with 12 photographers taking instantaneous pictures to measure the effects.
Government road tests, Jamaica Heights, NY: 60 m.p.h.!
Government road tests, Jamaica Heights, NY: 60 m.p.h.!
1986 Nearly 500 transportation construction executives and ARTBA members gather at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC, for "Interstate Nite," a celebration of the Interstate's 30th anniversary. Administrator Ray Barnhart and five of his predecessors attend (Volpe, Turner, Tiemann, Bowers, and Hassell).

May 21

1912 Director Logan Page has invited State highway officials from around the country to DC to meet Albert Mahieu, Engineer-in-Chief of France's Department of Bridges and Highways and Secretary-General of PIARC. Page wants U.S. road builders to learn what foreign countries are doing to improve their roads.
1928 The Federal-Aid Highway Amendment of 1928 authorizes the use of Federal-aid funds for planting shade trees along Federal-aid routes. The first year passes without any State proposing the use of funds for that purpose. BPR's annual report for FY 1929 notes that some States may be devoting funds to "more utilitarian purposes" while others may "find it feasible" to use other funds. The report add that the greatest use of Federal-aid roads "is by those seeking pleasure and recreation by travel. To many such users a pleasant roadside prospect means as much as a smooth surface and easy grades."
"In this one respect [roadside beautification] the roads of the United States are as yet inferior to the highways of Europe. The satisfaction of [the] instinctive desire for beauty is an object that should no longer be ignored in our public works, and especially in the improvement of our highways."
FY 1929 Annual Report, BPR
1961 The First National Highway Week begins, declared by President John F. Kennedy on April 29 "in recognition of the vital role of highway transportation in our way of life."
Alabamans celebrate National Highway Week with this ribbon cutting ceremony on 1-65 between Montgomery and Birmingham. Left to right: Chief Engineer R. D. Jordan, Alabama Highway Department (AHD); AHD Director Sam Engelhardt; Mrs. Morgan Reynolds (sister of Governor John Patterson's wife); Executive Assistant Walter H. Craig, AHD; and BPR Division Engineer B. A. Scott.
Alabamans celebrate National Highway Week with this ribbon cutting ceremony on 1-65 between Montgomery and Birmingham. Left to right: Chief Engineer R. D. Jordan, Alabama Highway Department (AHD); AHD Director Sam Engelhardt; Mrs. Morgan Reynolds (sister of Governor John Patterson's wife); Executive Assistant Walter H. Craig, AHD; and BPR Division Engineer B. A. Scott.
1962 Harold Rib of the Physical Research Division begins presentation of a course in air photo interpretation at the offices of the Wyoming State Highway Department. Officials from Colorado, South Dakota, and BPR's Region 9 office also attend.
1982 Opening ceremonies for Seven Mile Bridge, part of the U.S. 1 Overseas Highway leading to Key West, FL, take place. The bridge is the Nation's first of any length employing precast segmental construction.

May 22

1967 Administrator Lowell Bridwell addresses the Conference on Improved Utilization of Existing Streets and Highways Through Traffic Engineering, conducted by the HRB in Washington, DC. "History, let us hope, will not relate that the society capable of building the world's most magnificent highway system proved incapable of using that system properly."
1979 At the "55 National Maximum Speed Limit Conference" in Baltimore, MD, Deputy Administrator John Hassell quotes Theodore Roosevelt, who said in 1903, "no man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it."
1992 Deputy Administrator Gene McCormick leads a study team of Federal, State, and industry officials on a fact-finding tour of European concrete highways. The study tour is sponsored by AASHTO, FHWA, the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the Strategic Highway Research Program, The Asphalt Institute, and TRB. After visiting five countries, the team returned on June 6. The June 1991 report on the trip documents the quality of European pavements and the many areas where practices differ from those in the U.S. However, the report also documents how many of these practices are unique to the economic, political, and social climate of Europe and could not be easily transferred to the U.S. Regional Administrator E. M. Wood, Douglas A. Bernard (Chief, Demonstration Projects Division), and Robert A. Ford (Chief, International Cooperation Division), complete FHWA's team.

May 23

1919 Chief Thomas MacDonald sends his first memo to District Engineers outlining his vision of highways: "There is no work more worthwhile. I have yet to know any man who has devoted a considerable period of his life to the building of roads who is not conscious of having accomplished results whose returns to the public in service can scarcely be measured."
1938 BPR engineers E. R. Shepard and A. E. Ryan complete subsurface exploration tests in New Hampshire. The tests, begun May 10, were conducted at the request of Commissioner F. E. Everett of the State Highway Department to demonstrate the possibilities of the electrical resistivity and the seismic methods of exploration in connection with highway construction problems. The tests showed that NH soils were not well adapted to the electrical resistivity method of subsurface exploration, but the seismic testing was well adapted to detecting and locating the approximate position of solid ledge, profiling with respect to density and rigidity, and locating rock formations in connection with grading operations.
Seismic test at Orford Bridge.
Seismic test at Orford Bridge.
1974 Controversial portions of I-95 and I-695 in Boston, MA, are the first to be withdrawn from the Interstate System under Title 23, United States Code, Section 103(e)(4), which was added to Title 23 by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973.

May 24

1965 Administrator Rex Whitton participates in a panel on "Design of Highways" during the White House Conference on Natural Beauty. BPR's Dr. David Levin participates in the panel on "Scenic Roads and Parkways," while the "Roadside Control" panel includes Mr. Marion A. Hornbeck of BPR's Office of General Counsel. Meanwhile, a new BPR exhibit, "America's Highways are Windows to Beauty," is on display in the Headquarters building. It features a diorama showing a highway and rest area in the foreground, with a real waterfall, and a broad scenic valley in the background. Side pictures show what can be done to preserve natural beauty, including screening unsightly areas, controlling billboards, and landscaping highways. A large panel quotes President Lyndon Johnson: "By making our roads highways to the enjoyment of nature and beauty, we can greatly enrich the life of nearly all our people."
1982 Nine organizations receive the FHWA Administrator's first Awards for Ridesharing. Administrator Ray Barnhart says the recipients come "from all segments of the public and private sector and reflect the highest standards of excellence in ridesharing nationally."

May 25

1911 Former Director Martin Dodge is in Birmingham, AL, to address the 4th National Good Roads Congress on "Advancement of the Road Movement in the United States." He advocates dividing the cost of building and maintaining public highways among local, State, and Federal governments. "I am perfectly sure that the idea of state aid which has worked so well in many of the states, carried to its logical conclusion through National aid will surely and finally solve the problem."
1919 In his first memorandum to all engineers, Chief Thomas MacDonald notes that, "Our success will depend largely upon the attitude of mind and confidence we establish on the part of the State officials."
1939 The Export-Import Bank of Washington asks Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace to arrange for the assignment of BPR engineers to assist with extension of credits for public road construction in Latin America. The first request for assistance was for assignment of an engineer to Paraguay.
Henry A. Wallace Secretary of Agriculture
Henry A. Wallace
Secretary of Agriculture

May 26

1913 Work begins on the Waterloo Post Road in Lauderdale County, AL, the first to be completed under the 1913 Federal post road program. (See August 24, 1912.) The work consists of grading 14.56 miles (72,240 square yards) of road at a cost of $25,781.09 and surfacing part of this length at a cost of $2,166.05. The 12-foot wide gravel surfacing is laid on the graded earth road.
1983 Deputy Administrator Lester Lamm announces specifics of the FAST program to Facilitate Acceleration Through Special Techniques. Growing out of the Everett Bypass Demonstration Project in Pennsylvania, FAST is aimed at simplifying procedures for all highway projects. "This program can be summarized as a systematic effort to expedite projects through exceptions to normal procedures based on predetermined priority need." Mr. Steiner M. Silence, Chief of the Special Procedures Branch, is the Headquarters contact for FAST.

May 27

1937 BPR awards the first Natchez Trace Parkway construction contract to the Hodgkin-Adams Company, Inc., for a 12.76-mile segment in Madison County, MS, at a cost of $307,939.
1972 The U.S. International Transportation Exposition, known as Transpo 72, opens at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. In addition to featuring futuristic technology ("Flying trains, square dancing helicopters and the fantasy of a wonderland," according to a news release), Transpo 72 covers all current modes of transportation. General Manager William J. Bird explains, "We want to emphasize totally integrated systems in our future transportation . . . . "FHWA participation includes sponsorship of the "International Vehicle and Highway Safety Conference," featuring discussions on international cooperation in vehicle and highway safety.
Photo: Transpo '72 opening ceremonies.
Transpo '72: William J. Bird (left, head of Transpo) accompanies Secretary John A. Volpe to opening ceremonies, Dulles International Airport, VA.
Photo: Bicycle display at Transpo '72.
Bicycle display at Transpo '72.

May 28

1925 Secretary of Agriculture W. M. Jardine addresses the Mid-West Transportation Conference in Chicago, IL, on "Public Sentiment and Highway Transportation." He concludes, "Railroad, waterway and highway transportation should be co-ordinated in order that each shall be developed to its highest point of usefulness without taking from another the functions which the other can perform to the better advantage of the public . . . to the end that the public needs will be met to the fullest possible degree and that a fair return upon the invested capital shall be assured to the agencies of transportation."

May 29

1899 Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson rescinds former Secretary J. Sterling Morton's restrictive letter of October 3, 1893, to ORI Director Roy Stone and directs him to emphasize practical, over educational, work. The new policy makes formal the understandings agreed to in 1897 after Wilson became Secretary.
1925 The Chicago Regional Planning Association is organized under the laws of Illinois to coordinate street, highway, park system, zoning, and other plans. In part, the impetus for this association comes from a highway traffic survey in the summer and fall of 1924 by the BPR and the Cook County Highway Department. The two agencies joined with the Illinois Division of Highways and the Chicago Planning Commission in an agreement that the four parties would not depart from the plan developed as a result of the surveys. On May 6, 1937, during the 14th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Regional Planning Association, Chief Thomas MacDonald referred to the 1924 study: "By coordinating highway improvements according to an established plan with a known sequence of improvement, each community involved will secure the greatest possible benefit for the least expenditure."
"The [Chicago] regional planning project is the fundamental scheme for having the best talent in all lines for which plans are laid, sit together with the officials of governments or private companies [to] lay down a program for the office and technical staff to follow . . . . Then highways, sewers, water supply mains, drainage projects, zoning and all other public and private undertakings may be intelligently planned so far as is humanly possible."
Daniel H. Burnham
President Chicago Regional Planning Association
Highway Engineer and Contractor
September 1926
"If long years of public service have disclosed to me a ruling principle for accomplishment, it is that those having the authority and charged with the responsibility for carrying improvements into effect must have a major part in the preparation of the plans."
Thomas H. MacDonald
Chief, BPR

May 30

1992 The U.S. Postal Service issues a 29-cent commemorative stamp honoring the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. The design, by Alaska artist Byron Birdsall, had been unveiled in Anchorage on December 6, 1991, in a ceremony that included Senator Ted Stevens and Representative Don Young.
Photo: commemorative postage stamp
A commemorative postage stamp is issued.

May 31

1904 In Marietta, OH, Archer Butler Hulbert completes the preface to volume 15 of his 16-volume Historic Highways of America. This volume, a symposium on "The Future of Road-Making in America," includes a picture of General Roy Stone as the frontispiece ("Father of the good-roads movement") and essays by Director Martin Dodge ("Government Cooperation in Object-Lesson Road Work"), M. O. Eldridge ("Good Roads for Farmers"), and Logan Page ("The Selection of Materials for Macadam Roads").
"When [the people] demand that the United States shall not have the poorest rural roads of any civilized and some uncivilized nations, we as a nation will hasten into the fore front and finally lead the world in this vital department of civic life, as we are leading it in so many other departments today."
Archer Butler Hulbert
Historic Highways of America, Vol. 15
May 31, 1904
2006 Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta administers the oath of office to General J. Richard (Rick) Capka as Federal Highway Administrator (2006-2008). He had served as Deputy Administrator since August 2002 and before that as CEO/Executive Director of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. His most recent military assignment in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been as Division Engineer and Commander of the South Atlantic Division.

Also in May

1915 OPRRE moves to the Willard Building at 515 14th Street, NW., Washington, DC.
1918 BPR publishes the first issue of Public Roads magazine "to present matters of special interest to those directly concerned with the construction and maintenance of roads, to bring to all the progress of road improvement throughout the country, to discuss its problems and record its results."
1921 BPR establishes a Western Headquarters Office in San Francisco, CA, under Dr. L. I. Hewes, Deputy Chief Engineer, to administer Federal-aid and direct Federal highway construction programs in the 11 western States and the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii. District engineers in Denver, Portland, and San Francisco will report to Dr. Hewes and, through him, to Washington Headquarters.
1971 The 1928 wooden bridge carrying NM 346 across the Rio Grande River near Bosque is destroyed by fire. Its 540-foot, $260,000 replacement, which opens in June 1972, is the first completed under the Special Bridge Replacement Program created by the 1970 Federal-Aid Highway Act.

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