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September 1

1916 BPR issues the regulations implementing the Federal-aid highway program authorized by the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916. The regulations incorporate most of the suggestions made by State highway officials during a meeting in Washington, DC, on August 16. Meanwhile, construction begins in Contra Costa County, CA, on the first Federal-aid project, a 2.55-mile segment of the road from the Alameda County line to Richmond. (See January 30, 1918.)
1967 Administrator Lowell Bridwell issues a position paper to State highway officials urging them to consider the use of reserved bus lanes at peak traffic hours on freeways. He notes that heavy use (120 to 180 buses per hour) would be needed to achieve public acceptance.
Photo: Shirley Highway in Northern Virginia
Shirley Highway in Northern Virginia, where reserved bus lanes ease congestion.

September 2

1965 Using an acetylene torch, highway officials in Colorado cut a logging chain to mark the opening of a 3-mile segment of I-70, easing one of the State' worst traffic bottlenecks--where traffic diverges to Berthoud Pass and Loveland Pass.
1970 Secretary of Transportation John Volpe announces that FHWA has advised its Division Engineers to "encourage the greatest use of buses in preference to individual automobiles." Administrator Frank Turner explains that, "It will not be financially possible--and even if it were, certainly not socially desirable--to provide all the highway facilities that would be needed in order to satisfy the peak period demands, especially in our larger urban areas, for all the people who want to drive automobiles."
"Additional attention should be given to the movement of people as well as the movement of vehicles in future studies for the general determination of the number of lanes on high-volume radial highways, including freeways."
FHWA Guidance to Division Engineers
September 2, 1970
1975 Regional Administrator James W. White and Division Administrator Gordon E. Penney represent FHWA as Governor David Boren cuts the ribbon on I-40 near Erick, OK. With the opening of this segment, all of the State's 616 miles of rural Interstate highways are open.

September 3

1925 The seven man United States delegation to the Pan American Congress of Highways at Buenos Aires, Argentina, sails from New York on the Grace Line Steamship Santa Ana. The delegation, headed by Herbert H. Rice of the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce, includes Chief Thomas MacDonald. Because the congress does not start until October 3, the delegates plan to stop in Panama, Peru, and Chile. After returning, MacDonald discusses the trip on November 19 at the 11th Annual Meeting of AASHO, in words that become BPR's guiding policy on international cooperation.
"There is definite responsibility upon this generation for the establishment of international relations of enduring character . . . . The solidarity of the Western Hemisphere and the opportunity for each republic to work out its own destiny under favorable and helpful conditions is the end sought. Without highway improvement of magnificent proportions these conditions are impossible. Mutual sympathy and helpfulness is the spirit of Pan Americanism. It is the finer statesmanship."
Thomas H. MacDonald
Chief, BPR
November 19, 1925

September 4

1925 President Thomas P. Henry and writer Ernest N. Smith drive their Cadillac into Oakland, CA, after a cross-country trip that began at the Zero Milestone in Washington, DC, on August 30. After breakfast, they drive to Sacramento to present a letter from President Calvin Coolidge to Governor F. W. Richardson. Henry and Smith also carry letters of greeting from Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, Secretary of War General J. H. Hines, and Secretary of Agriculture William M. Jardine, who tells Chairman Harvey M. Toy of the California Highway Commission that, "In expressing these greetings to you on this occasion, it is with the wish that the contacts between the California Highway Department and the other highway organizations of the West Coast and . . . the Bureau of Public Roads will be as cordial and profitable in the future as I have found from my western trip this summer they have been in the past."
1959 Members of the Blatnik Committee, chaired by Representative John A. Blatnik, are selected "to obtain solid facts about every phase of the Federal Highway program and after preliminary investigation hold open hearings" regarding allegations of fraud and corruption in the development of the Interstate Highway Program.
1968 FHWA announces publication of the Handbook of Highway Safety Design and Operating Practices. It presents the latest safety techniques for bridge design, signing, barriers and guardrail, drainage, and railroad crossings.

September 5

1940 The Federal-Aid Highway Act, which President Franklin Roosevelt signs today, authorizes PRA to give priority to roads important to national defense. The Act also authorizes the Federal Works Administrator (head of PRA's parent Agency) to initiate defense projects urgently requested by the Secretary of War or Secretary of the Navy.
1965 FHWA crews surveying the North Cross-State Highway (now the North Cascades Highway) in Washington State use tent camps for the last time on this trip--and the last time tent camps were used by the Western Federal Lands Division.
1968 FHWA calls on each State highway agency to endorse a nine-point pledge of compliance with equal employment opportunity provisions in the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968 (signed August 5). No federally assisted highway project may be approved for a State until it has executed the pledge. Administrator Lowell Bridwell has sent a copy of the nine-point statement to the head of each State highway agency for signature.

September 6

1910 In a letter to BPR, Thomas H. MacDonald of the Iowa State Highway Commission complains that after being appointed a BPR Special Agent to collect and provide information on State roads, at a salary of $1 a year, his appointment had been unexpectedly revoked. On September 9, Director Logan Page replies, "I regret very much that this has happened, but am today having you reappointed as Special Agent at $1.00 per annum."
1926 Ceremonies mark the opening of the Cameron Pass Highway westerly out of Fort Collins, CO, over the Continental Divide. The central 6-mile link was a BPR project for the Forest Service. The survey had been carried out during the summer of 1922, with S. A. Wallace of BPR's Denver office as chief of party.
1949 Extension of the Shirley Memorial Highway--a 17-mile, four-lane expressway--opens from a point south of the Pentagon highway network to Woodbridge, VA. The highway is named for the Virginia Highway Commissioner Henry G. Shirley, who died on July 16, 1941, just a few weeks after giving the "go ahead" for work on the expressway. (See September 10, 1941.)
Photo: Bridges
Bridges carrying ritary intersection over the Shirley Highway in 1943 near Parkfairfax, VA.
1960 BPR's new transistorized card-sorter machine, the first of its type to be made available to the Federal Government, goes into operation. With it, the Data Processing Division will maintain financial and statistical data on more than 15,000 active Federal-aid highway projects in about 3,000 counties, DC, and PR.

September 7

1950 President Harry Truman signs the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which requires State highway departments to hold public hearings for all projects bypassing cities or towns and provides sanctions for failure to maintain Federal-aid highways properly. It also authorizes $10 million for defense access road construction to meet Korean War needs.
1981 In New York City, President Ronald Reagan delivers a giant-sized check for $85 million to Mayor Edward Koch and Lt. Governor Mario Cuomo. "People tell me," the President says, "that the name Westway has become a code word for a bureaucracy strangling in its own regulations. From this day forward, let Westway symbolize opportunity and enterprise and let it remind each of us, as we watch Westway become a reality, that our Government works for us, not the other way around." (See September 30, 1985.)
1990 Deputy Administrator Gene McCormick leads a study team of Federal, State, and industry officials who review asphalt pavement techniques in six European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). They return on September 22 after observing many techniques and procedures that would be useful in the United States. But they also found many differences between U.S. and European organization, philosophy, taxation levels, and practice that make other findings harder to apply.
September 7 1950	President Harry Truman signs the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which requires State highway departments to hold public hearings for all projects bypassing cities or towns and provides sanctions for failure to maintain Federal-aid highways properly. It also authorizes $10 million for defense access road construction to meet Korean War needs. 1981	In New York City, President Ronald Reagan delivers a giant-sized check for $85 million to Mayor Edward Koch and Lt. Governor Mario Cuomo. "People tell me," the President says, "that the name Westway has become a code word for a bureaucracy strangling in its own regulations. From this day forward, let Westway symbolize opportunity and enterprise and let it remind each of us, as we watch Westway become a reality, that our Government works for us, not the other way around." (See September 30, 1985.) 1990	Deputy Administrator Gene McCormick leads a study team of Federal, State, and industry officials who review asphalt pavement techniques in six European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). They return on September 22 after observing many techniques and procedures that would be useful in the United States. But they also found many differences between U.S. and European organization, philosophy, taxation levels, and practice that make other findings harder to apply. Photo: European Asphalt Study Tour team abserves paving operation in Germany. European Asphalt Study Tour team abserves paving operation in Germany.  "Our transportation network is our greatest economic asset. If we do not give it our best--and Europe's best--we will undermine our own success." Thomas D. Larson Federal Highway Administrator
European Asphalt Study Tour team abserves paving operation in Germany.
"Our transportation network is our greatest economic asset. If we do not give it our best--and Europe's best--we will undermine our own success."
Thomas D. Larson
Federal Highway Administrator

September 8

1950 In Washington, DC, BPR's E. W. James, just back from an inspection tour of the Pan American Highway, meets writer-historian George R. Stewart in the Cosmos Club to discuss the origins of the U.S. numbered system. The discussion provides background for Stewart's 1953 book, U.S. 40: Cross Section of the United States of America (The Riverside Press, Houghton Mifflin Company).
1975 Deputy Administrator J.R. Coupal, Jr., presents the keynote address, "The Future of Road Transportation," during a 4-day international, intermodal seminar in Sydney, Australia.
1977 Administrator William Cox announces that the BMCS is launching an intensified national campaign of roadside truck inspections. "These unannounced road checks are designed to identify and correct safety defects discovered by State and local enforcement officers and BMCS investigators on heavy commercial vehicles being operated on the Nation's Highways."

September 9

1948 At the Book-Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, MI, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) presents its Meritorious Award to Thomas H. MacDonald. In accepting the award, he recalls how he helped form the AAMVA. "Indeed it seems only yesterday when I used to meet with the pioneers of the AAMVA as they struggled and sweated out their plans to band together into a national body."
1957 The Connecticut General Life Insurance Company sponsors a conference on "The New Highways: Challenge to the Metropolitan Region," September 9-11 (generally called "The Hartford Conference"). The conference turns out to be the first formal confrontation between the highway community and city planners and critics, led by Lewis Mumford. The planners and critics, not the highway community, receive the favorable press coverage. Mumford, in a scathing denunciation of the Interstate Program, comments that the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 "was jammed through Congress so blithely and lightly . . . because we Americans have an almost automatic inclination to favor anything that seems to give added attraction to the second mistress that exists in every household right alongside the wife--the motor car."
1966 President Lyndon Johnson signs the Highway Safety Act, providing new support for Federal-State safety programs, and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.
After signing the Highway Safety Act of 1966, President Lyndon Johnson talks with Representative George H. Fallon (MD), Chairman, House Committee on Public Works (left), and Senator Jenning Randolph (WV), Chairman, Subcommittee on Public Roads.
After signing the Highway Safety Act of 1966, President Lyndon Johnson talks with Representative George H. Fallon (MD), Chairman, House Committee on Public Works (left), and Senator Jenning Randolph (WV), Chairman, Subcommittee on Public Roads.

September 10

1941 After Congress appropriated $35 million for construction of the "War Department Building," the War Department asks the Federal Works Agency to lay out, design, and supervise construction of the highway network servicing what is now called the Pentagon. PRA establishes a special design section, staffed by engineers assembled from its field offices, for the largest single design project undertaken by PRA up to that time. With the Virginia Department of Highways planning a highway from Woodbridge to the Potomac River Bridges (the Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway), an agreement was reached in September 1942 calling for PRA to build the portion from Virginia Route 7 to the connection with the Pentagon network as a defense access road project.
Photo: The Pentagon Network, 1954.
The Pentagon Network, 1954.

September 11

1922 BPR and the Connecticut State Highway Commission begin a 1-year highway transportation survey, the most intensive and carefully planned census of highway traffic yet attempted. The purpose of this and similar studies in California, Maine, and Pennsylvania and Cook County, IL, is to provide an authentic basis for the solution of many of the problems of highway construction, maintenance, and transportation, and to develop sound policies for the highway transportation of freight and passengers.
1935 Construction of the first section of the Blue Ridge Parkway begins on a 12.5-mile section near the North Carolina-Virginia border at a cost of $363,847.50.
1947 In Washington, DC, Commissioner Thomas MacDonald addresses the Business Men's Conference on Urban Problems on "The Federal-Aid Highway Program and Its Relation to Cities."
"There is altogether too much fear of the so-called decentralizing effect of expressways. The type of decentralization now in progress is inevitable, expressways or no expressways. Our cities are expanding, de-densifying, to use the action word."
Thomas H. MacDonald
Commissioner of Public Roads, PRA
September 11, 1947
1985 At Cumberland Knob on the North Carolina/Virginia State line, a celebration marks the 50th anniversary of the first Blue Ridge Parkway project. Over 5,000 people attend the day-long event. During one event, the American Society of Landscape Architects and the American Society of Civil Engineers recognize the architectural and engineering achievements of the parkway. Retirees and employees of BPR/PRA/FHWA who worked on the project are honored during the ceremony.
1987 After a brief delay because of a bomb threat, the final link in the Blue Ridge Parkway is dedicated in ceremonies at Grandfather Mountain, NC. The final section includes the Linn Cove Viaduct (the object of the bomb threat), which had been completed in 1983. Several scheduled speakers, including Governor James G. Martin, could not attend because a light drizzle and low clouds prevented their helicopters from landing in the nearby meadow. The Linn Cove Viaduct has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors since its completion, including the FHWA's 1984 Biennial Excellence in Highway Design Award competition. (The project was "Judged Exceptional" in the Highway Improvements in Federally-Owned Lands category.) Other awards include: The Presidential Award for Design Excellence given by the National Endowment for the Arts; the American Consulting Engineers' Council Grand Award for Transportation; the Post-Tensioning Institute's Award for Excellence; the Prestressed Concrete Institute's Award of Excellence; the American Society of Civil Engineers' Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement; the National Society of Professional Engineers Top Ten Engineering Projects. President Ronald Reagan, on presenting the First Presidential Awards for Design Excellence in 1985 said, "The Linn Cove Viaduct is not just a roadway on North Carolina's Grandfather Mountain; the viaduct has been designed so that it belongs to, and is part of the mountain."

September 12

1910 OPR joins with Cornell University for an additional nine test experiments in Ithaca, NY, to determine the value of different road binders applied by different methods (15 experiments were completed in FY 1910). The experiments, on the university's East and South Avenue, are concluded August 12, 1911.
1975 FHWA releases a report on Citizen Participation and the Role of the Public Hearing, prepared by the Virginia Highway and Transportation Research Council. It discusses techniques and organizational structures used by the Nation's State highway agencies for administering public hearings and otherwise involving the public in the highway development process.
"Transportation officials and citizens have been discussing the pros and cons of citizen participation in transportation planning for a long time. Today, people seldom ask if citizens should be involved. Now they ask how citizens can be involved most effectively."
"Introduction and Guide to the Report"
Effective Citizen Participation in Transportation Planning
September 12, 1975
1991 A $40-million I-90 viaduct bypass of Wallace, ID, officially opens today, diverting interstate traffic from the town, where motorists had for many years been delayed by the widely publicized "last stoplight on I-90" (at Seventh and Bank Streets). The Interstate highway, originally set to go through downtown Wallace, had been delayed by years of controversy before plans for the viaduct on the edge of town were approved. On September 14, the town holds a Last Stoplight Celebration, during which City Councilman Mike Aldredge tells a throng of over 1,000, "Like the whippet and the buttonhook, the iceman and the lamp lighter, the livery stable and the company store, cruel progress has eliminated the need for the services of our old friend."
Photo: Funeral for the last stoplight on I-90 held by citizens of Wallace, ID.
Funeral for the "last stoplight" on I-90 held by citizens of Wallace, ID.
1993 The Lacey V. Murrow Bridge, a 6,500-foot floating bridge over Lake Washington, opens as part of I-90 in Seattle, WA. Emergency relief funds had been used to replace the original bridge, the world's first floating concrete bridge, which had opened in 1940 and been destroyed by flooding on November 25, 1990. The bridge had been closed for reconstruction at the time of the flood. The National Society of Professional Engineers includes the new bridge among the 10 Outstanding Engineering Achievements of 1993.
Photo: Lake Washington Floating Bridge opening ceremony -- west approach plaza -- on July 2, 1940.
Lake Washington Floating Bridge opening ceremony -- west approach plaza -- on July 2, 1940.

September 13

1915 Light attendance, especially among expected speakers and participants from the East, mars the Pan-American Road Congress at Municipal Auditorium in Oakland, CA, sponsored by ARBA and the American Highway Association. The attendance problem is blamed on the time of year--officials and contractors are too busy on construction projects to take time for the conference. In the absence of Director Logan Page, his paper on "The History and Future of Highway Improvement" is read by Major W. W. Crosby, Maryland's Chief Engineer.
1946 President Harry Truman awards the Medal of Merit to Thomas H. MacDonald for outstanding service during World War II.
1966 President Lyndon Johnson signs the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which authorizes $5.2 billion for the Interstate System (FYs 1968-1972) in view of the increased cost of the System as shown in the 1965 Interstate Cost Estimate. The total cost will be $46.8 billion (Federal share: $42 billion), up from $41 billion ($37 billion) shown in the previous estimate (1961). The increase is attributed to a change to a 20-year design period, system adjustments, and increases in right-of-way and construction costs.
1974 Administrator Norbert Tiemann announces that a new training program for American Indians in the field of highway construction and related areas would go into effect on September 30. Under a May 20 agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, FHWA will provide on-the-job training, supervision of road construction projects, and certification.

September 14

1962 President John F. Kennedy signs the Public Works Acceleration Act, intended to help areas burdened by high rates of unemployment by providing immediate jobs and enhancing economic growth. BPR is responsible to the Area Redevelopment Administration for the Act's $15-million program of highway improvements. (The funds go to 431 miles of forest highways in 28 States and Puerto Rico, 3.4 miles of defense access highway in Michigan, and 12.5 miles of public lands highways in Maine and New Mexico.)
1977 FHWA publishes a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments on revision of standards for information signs within the right-of-way of FAP highways. The proposed rule, published in response to a provision of the 1976 Federal-Aid Highway Act, would provide for signs, displays, and devices that give specific information, such as goods and services available near the highway, in the interest of the traveling public.

September 15

1923 The Oregon State Highway Department surveys statewide traffic today (6 a.m. to 10 p.m.). BPR uses the data to prepare a map of Oregon traffic observed, represented by width of lines, on that date. The heaviest traffic is on the Pacific Highway between Aurora and Oregon City (2,239 cars passing a given point). Traffic in the central, eastern, and southern parts of Oregon is so light that it cannot be shown by width of line. Numbers are used instead (e.g., "3T" means "3 trucks" and "44A" means "44 automobiles").
1955 BPR designates 2,300 miles of urban area routes as part of the National System of Interstate Highways (as it is officially called until 1956), completing designation of the 40,000 miles authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1940 (See August 2, 1947). The Yellow Book, so-called because of its yellow cover, is published to show urban sections of the Interstate System and is distributed to each Member of Congress.
1971 The structural aerodynamic research facility at the Fairbank Highway Research Station in McLean, VA, is officially named the George S. Vincent Memorial Aerodynamic Laboratory in honor of the eminent structural engineer who served with BPR from 1919 to 1963 and was in charge of the lab from its opening. Vincent died of a heart attack in 1968 while in route to Washington, DC, for a technical meeting in his capacity as special consultant to FHWA on collapse of the Silver Bridge (See December 15, 1967.)
"Named in honor of the man whose tireless efforts brought to ultimate fruition a program of research leading to significant improvements in the aero-dynamic design of suspension bridges, this facility stands in tribute to George S. Vincent . . . . All who worked with him respected his integrity, treasured his friendship, and enjoyed his never-failing sense of humor."
Commemorative Plaque
George S. Vincent Memorial Aerodynamic Laboratory
September 15, 1971

September 16

1921 While on a 2-week Northeast tour, State Highway Engineer A. R. Hirst of Wisconsin is joined in New York City by Chief Thomas MacDonald and Dr. L. I. Hewes, Chief of BPR's Western Headquarters. They take Riverside Drive through Yonkers to Danville, CT. Over the next week, they travel to Massachusetts, up the Ocean Road to Maine, then west to New Hampshire and Vermont, before turning south to Albany, NY, observing road conditions and meeting with highway officials along the way.
Photo: Laurence I. Hewes
Laurence I. Hewes
Bureau of Public Roads
Western Headquarters
1956 BPR Commissioner Cap Curtiss establishes a Division Office in Juneau, AK. (PRA/BPR formerly had a Division Office in Juneau from 1948-1954.)
1958 BPR's Dan O'Flaherty returns from a 3-month assignment in Istanbul, Turkey, where he helped launch the first home interview type of traffic study in Asia or Europe (Istanbul is part of both).
1987 Administrator Ray A. Barnhart and UMTA Administrator Alfred A. Dellibovi announce revised environmental regulations designed to streamline requirements and related legal procedures for highway and mass transit projects. In a joint statement, the two Administrators say, "Under the new rule, the federal government will be able to eliminate some of the red-tape and time-consuming legal processes that often added years to the construction time of much-needed transportation projects."

September 17

1970 Administrator Frank Turner and former Administrator Bert Tallamy join in the dedication of the completed Keystone Shortway, a $324-million, 313-mile section of I-80 across Pennsylvania. When Governor Raymond Shafer fires a flare gun, an electronic signal in the Goodyear blimp overhead is activated, officially opening the Milesburg interchange and the highway. Pennsylvania's Name Designation Act of 1984 designates I-80/Keystone Highway the "Z. V. Confair Memorial Highway." It was named after a State Senator who had served as President of the Keystone Shortway Association.
In State College, PA, for "Highway Week," the Goodyear airship "America" signaled the the completion of the 313-mile Keystone Shortway (I-80).
In State College, PA, for "Highway Week," the Goodyear airship "America" signaled the the completion of the 313-mile Keystone Shortway (I-80).

September 18

1939 John M. Carmody, Administrator of the new Federal Works Agency, discusses the PRA's future in a Washington Star Radio Forum broadcast. PRA, he said, is "one of the greatest clearing houses in the world for information on highway construction [and] will continue to have important responsibilities in the planning and aiding in the development of our road system, as well as carrying on a program of rural roads."
1975 In an FHWA Bulletin, W. J. Wilkes, Director, Office of Engineering, indicates that despite the 55 m.p.h. national speed limit, FHWA fully endorses an AASHTO policy statement "that even though operational traffic speeds and speed limits have been reduced, design speeds and other design standards not be reduced."
1990 The USDOT Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, MA, is renamed the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in honor of the only person to serve as Federal Highway Administrator and Secretary of Transportation, John A. Volpe, a former Massachusetts Governor and Ambassador to Italy.
2008 The new I-35W bridge opens across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, MN, replacing a bridge that collapsed the previous year. (See August 1, 2007) The $234 million twin-span bridge was completed 3 months ahead of a fast-track schedule. During the opening ceremony, Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters says, "This is kind of a bittersweet day. It's a day that we remember those who tragically lost their lives and those who were injured here, but also a day of a new beginning, as we see this new crossing bring the community back together again."

September 19

1949 Having opened August 23, the United Nations Conference on Road and Motor Transportation in Geneva, Switzerland, concludes with 20 nations, including the United States, signing a "Convention on Road Traffic" that establishes a basis for reciprocal worldwide recognition in such areas as motor vehicle registration, drivers' permits, equipment requirements, and rules for safe driving. H. H. Kelly of the State Department heads the United States delegation, with BPR's H. S. Fairbank as Vice-Chairman.
1963 In anticipation of BPR's 70th anniversary on October 3, President John F. Kennedy extends his heartiest congratulations in a letter to Administrator Rex Whitton: "All Americans can be proud of [its] accomplishments . . . in contributing to safe and comfortable highway travel and in stimulating economic growth and development."
Letter from President John F. Kennedy
"Happy 10th Anniversary"
1991 President George Bush visits a construction site on I-105 (the Glenn Anderson Freeway/Transitway) in Los Angeles, CA, to renew his challenge to Congress to pass the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1991, which became ISTEA. He declares, "We want a bill that works . . . that spends our money effectively and truly addresses national needs."

September 20

1909 Farmers and good roads advocates from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, on a tour to learn about road building in the East, visit Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson and are entertained at lunch by OPR officials. The tour, which covered the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern States, had been suggested by B. F. Yoakum of the Rock Island-Frisco Railway because "no work [is] more important than to build public roads in such a manner that they will be permanent and economical in maintenance." The group travels in his private rail car, the "Signet."
1922 M.O. Eldridgew, ORI's third employee, is named Executive Chairman of AAA by a special committee, meeting in Cleveland, OH. Eldridge had been Director of Roads for AAA since leaving ORI 3 years ago.
1971 Administrator Frank Turner administers the oath of office to Emmett H. Karrer, first Director of FHWA's National Highway Institute, authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970.

September 21

1901 The International Good Roads Congress at Buffalo, NY, which began on September 16, concludes. Director Martin Dodge addressed the conference on opening day while on September 18, General Roy Stone spoke on "Good Roads Work for the New Century." He said that if all the forces that have worked for good roads and their "powerful automobile allies" join rank, "the early days of the century will mark the inception of the greatest peaceful work the great Republic has ever undertaken or the world has ever witnessed." The proceedings are published as OPRI Bulletin No. 21. The first edition of 10,000 was soon distributed and a second edition of 10,000 needed before the end of FY 1902.
1948 In Salt Lake City, UT, at AASHO's 34th Annual Meeting, Commissioner Thomas MacDonald speaks on "State-Federal Relations in Highway Development": "Highway development for the nation is no over-night job. It is a continuing undertaking with mammoth dimensions, and its importance is rapidly accelerating. The only guidance the highway official has under present-day conditions to determine current administrative policies [is] the back sights that are fixed by yesterday's experience, and the collection and analysis of factual data to determine the future course that appears to offer great promise."

September 22

1909 At AAA's 2nd annual good roads convention in Cleveland, OH, Director Logan Page compares the road situation in the United States with other countries and OPR's Prevost Hubbard discusses bituminous road materials. Road building in the United States, Page says, is "at the same point at which it stood thirty years ago, and the seventeen hundred and odd million dollars [spent] have produced few appreciable results."
1947 In New York City to address AASHO's Annual Meeting, Commissioner Thomas MacDonald speaks on "The Progress of the National Highway Program." Referring to "the inevitable outward trend of urban home location," he says that whatever is done to promote mass transit "and reverse the past trend toward the preferential use of private automobiles will be a contribution of great benefit in the solution of urban traffic problems. Unless this reversal can be accomplished, indeed, the traffic problems of the larger cities may become well nigh insoluble."
"Highway transportation is the common denominator in the over-all transportation field, in that the performance of this service correlates, assists, and implements all other types of movement. It would seem necessary, therefore, that a better understanding and spirit of cooperation among the selected representatives of highway, rail, water, and air transport be encouraged and developed . . . to the end that the public as a whole may be best served and that this nation shall have an efficient transportation system adequate for its commerce and the national defense."
Thomas H. MacDonald
Commissioner of Public Roads, PRA
September 22, 1947
1971 Former Commissioner Cap Curtiss and his wife are honored at a surprise luncheon by former BPR associates. Administrator Frank Turner designates today as "'CAP' CURTISS DAY" in recognition of the former commissioner's leadership, dedicated service, and devotion to highway transportation.

September 23

1920 BPR, Forest Service, and Colorado State Highway Department officials sign a co-operative agreement providing for construction of an automobile road across Cumbres Pass near New Mexico. Initial survey work is done in 1920, and the road across the pass opens in the fall of 1924. C. F. Capes of BPR's Denver office is resident engineer in charge of the project. Marshall Sprague's 1964 book The Great Gates (Little, Brown, and Company) describes the road as "a splendid, thrilling, twisty gravel road, ignored by average tourist . . . ."
1975 In Paris, France, at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, Administrator Norbert Tiemann suggests automobiles may soon have to be restricted from the central business districts of large cities. A federally funded demonstration program to test this technique will be launched in 1976. "I do not make this suggestion naively; I am well aware of the opposition such action would generate. Certainly it would be unpopular politically. But I think it is an idea whose time must soon come."
1977 At the International Club in Washington, DC, to address Citizens for Highway Safety, Administrator William Cox quotes from FHWA's 1976 Statement of National Highway Transportation Policy: "No value is greater than that of the human life and no transportation responsibility more important than the safety of people."

September 24

1907 At a good roads convention in Springfield, MA, OPR Assistant Director A. S. Cushman says, "When I go out into the country I don't want to ride in an alley of signboards, and it is our business to protest against these sore spots along the thoroughfares."
"I have noticed that where the roads are good the children in that vicinity look tidy and clean, and where the roads are bad the children are unkempt and dirty. The condition of the families reflects on the roads and vice versa."
A. S. Cushman
Assistant Director, OPR
September 24, 1907
1967 Secretary of Transportation Alan Boyd announces a $4.8 million contract with the city of Baltimore, MD, to finance a team of engineers, architects, city planners, sociologists, economists, and others who will work jointly on routing and design of a section of Interstate highway--the first such combined approach, which he says "may well set a pattern for designing urban highways across the nation."
1968 Secretary of Transportation John Volpe, Administrator Lowell Bridwell, and invited guests view the premiere of FHWA's film, "Highways Are For People," in the New Senate Office Building. The film stresses the beneficial role of highways in the development of the United States.
1971 Secretary of Transportation John Volpe is among the guests as the Duluth-Superior Bridge (Minnesota-Wisconsin) is renamed "The John A. Blatnik Bridge" (I-535). Representative Blatnik, says Volpe, "played a key role in establishing and fostering the foundation for this magnificent program back during the Eisenhower Administration." (See September 4, 1959.) The 7,975-foot bridge and its 2,800-foot approaches had been dedicated on December 2, 1961, with Administrator Rex Whitton and Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges among those present.
"Through sponsorship of the Interstate highway program, [Representative John A. Blatnik] has bridged not only section or region or state, but the entire nation."
Senator Hubert H. Humphrey
Dedication Ceremony, The John A. Blatnik Bridge
September 24, 1971
"[The John A Blatnik Bridge] will long stand not so much as a memorial to me but as a reminder of what this bridge means to our area, both in substance and in symbol . . . . We shall build on our present achievements, with this bridge as the symbol of what is yet to come for each other, for our States, and our Nation."
US Representative John A. Blatnik
Dedication Ceremony
September 24, 1971

September 25

1900 The State Good Roads Convention gets underway at Topeka, KS (through September 28). The goal is to awaken and promote a general interest in improvement of public roads and discuss ways of securing funds for this purpose as well as the best methods of constructing and maintaining good roads. The citizens of Shawnee County had raised funds for 1.5 miles of macadamized road, a section of which is constructed under the supervision of OPRI's E. G. Harrison. He and Director Martin Dodge explain the details of practical and theoretical road building. Two carloads of machinery for this work, on loan from the Port of Huron Engine and Thresher Company, were carried to Topeka by the railroads without cost to OPRI.
1951 District Engineer J. Clarke Williams completes an initial assignment as advisor to the American Ambassador in Liberia under an agreement reached on December 22, 1950, with the Liberian government. During the assignment, which began in June, Williams surveyed the country's transportation problems and laid the groundwork for highway construction work by organizing a survey party instructed in United States methods. Williams will return in January 1952 to begin organizing the country's first national highway organization, called the Division of Highways.
Photo: J. Clarke Williams (left) observes Liberians operating Ozalid reproduction equipment.
J. Clarke Williams (left) observes Liberians operating Ozalid reproduction equipment.
1978 Community Planner Mary Beard and Planning Engineer Don Ashcroft both of the California Division Office are among 142 people who lose their lives in a mid-air collision of the Pacific Southwest Airlines plane they were traveling in and a small craft over San Diego.

September 26

1956 Paving begins on an 8-mile section of U.S. 40 (I-70) between Valencia and Maple Hill Roads west of Topeka, Kansas. When the section opens on November 14, the State Highway Commission of Kansas posts a sign identifying the project as the first to be completed under provisions of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. At the start of paving, BPR's O. P. Shallenberger joins representatives of the State and Koss Construction Company in writing the historic date in the pavement. (See August 2, 1956.)
1957 O. K. Normann, recently appointed Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Research, is the first recipient of the Theodore M. Matson Memorial Award, named for the late director of Yale University's Bureau of Highway Traffic. The award is presented "in recognition of . . . the advancement of the Science . . . of Traffic Engineering."
1973 Speaking during National Highway Week before the Chicago Association of Commerce, Administrator Norbert Tiemann discusses "The Quiet Revolution" in the highway program. After discussing changes in environmental review to make the highway program a good neighbor, Tiemann summarizes by quoting Mark Twain: "Always do the right thing. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest."
"The Department of Transportation was given a mandate by President Nixon to develop a total transportation system for this Nation in which all of the travel modes--highways, rails, airways and waterways--are interconnected parts, each making its own distinctive contribution to the whole in an interrelated, cooperative way."
Norbert T. Tiemann
Federal Highway Administrator
September 26, 1973

September 27

1943 Under PRA supervision, construction begins on the Suitland Parkway in Maryland (9.5 miles from the South Capital Street Bridge in Washington, DC, to a junction with MD 4). The parkway, owned by the NPS, is opened on December 9, 1944, providing direct access between the city and what is now Andrews Air Force Base. An NPS history notes that it "is one of the parkways that make up the network of entryways into the capital. It has hosted both triumphal and mournful processions of public officials: from presidents returning from diplomatic achievements to the funeral procession of President John F. Kennedy."
Photo: The Suitland Parkway near Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
The Suitland Parkway near Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
1961 Headquarters employees and their families attend the first in a series of briefings on nuclear attack survival. Assistant Commissioner for Operations Paul F. Royster opens the briefing by describing the critical international situation and emphasizing the need for BPR employees to be informed on how to increase their chances of survival in a nuclear attack. Survival Officer Thomas P. Priolo introduces two films, "Operation Ivy" and "Operation Q," that show the effects of a nuclear explosion.

September 28

1950 Commissioner Thomas MacDonald advises Division Engineers that the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1950 has restored authority for access-road construction based on identified needs to serve military installations.
1959 As an aid to solving short-range financing problems of the Federal-aid program, the Mutual Security Appropriations Act, signed this date, provides for an advance of $359 million from the General Treasury to the Highway Trust Fund (full amount repaid by the end of FY 1960).
1993 In Washington, DC, FHWA, in conjunction with FTA and the Office of the Secretary, sponsors a 1-day symposium on "Bond Financing and Transportation Infrastructure: Exploring Concepts and Roles." The symposium focuses on the fundamentals of the tax-exempt bond market, intergovernmental perspectives, and bond financing mechanisms, such as credit enhancement and revolving funds. More than 80 people, representing every USDOT mode, Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, States, and other Federal agencies, as well as subject-matter experts, share their perspectives on the subject.

September 29

1913 At the Third American Road Congress, Detroit, MI, in addition to a speech by Director Logan Page on good roads and bonded indebtedness, OPR displays two exhibits--one featuring miniature models showing the development of road construction from early Roman roads to the highest type of road today. A second one shows types of road construction now being done.
"A mighty wave of sentiment for better roads is sweeping over the country, and already the American people have entered upon a road-building era which has no parallel in all history--not even the splendid era when Rome knit together, with massive military roads, the far-flung outposts of her empire, nor the century of constructive work, begun by Napoleon, which has given to France the most superb system of highways in the world."
Logan Page
Director, OPR
September 29, 1913
1968 At Rainy Pass, WA, Regional Administrator Ralph Phillips represents FHWA during the opening ceremony for the last link in State Highway 20 (North Cross-State Highway), famous for its spectacular scenic beauty. The State Legislature originally appropriated $20,000 to start the highway in 1893.
1968 Secretary Alan Boyd, Administrator Lowell Bridwell, and Safety Bureau Director William Haddon, Jr., participate in the Second Annual Conference of the National Association of Women Highway Safety Leaders in Washington, DC. The association includes 51 business women and housewives with a strong interest in highway safety, each selected by her State Governor.

September 30

1912 The American Road Congress gets underway at the Greek Temple on the Million Dollar Pier in Atlantic City, NJ (running through October 6). Director Logan Page, opening the congress with an address on the "Road Situation in the United States," says, "In their effect upon human welfare, in the difficult and complex problems lying within the province of almost every department of human endeavor, road improvement may well be said to touch the progress of civilization at every point." Page also introduces Governor Woodrow Wilson, who explains why he supports good roads. "I tell you very frankly that my interest in good roads is not merely an interest in the pleasure of riding in automobiles, it is not merely an interest in the very much more important matter of affording the farmers of this country and the residents in villages the means of ready access to such neighboring markets as they need for the economic benefit, but it is also the interest in weaving as complicated and elaborate a net of neighborhood and State and national opinions together as it is possible to weave."
"In their effect upon human welfare, in the difficult and complex problems lying within the province of almost every department of human endeavor, road improvement may well be said to touch the progress of civilization at every point."
Logan Page
Director, OPR
September 30, 1912
1930 Aboard the SS George Washington, British delegates to the International Road Congress in Washington, DC, send a letter to readers of England's Roads and Road Construction indicating that "we are making good progress over a calm and sunny sea." They are particularly enthusiastic about the daily morning lectures, illustrated by films, by BPR's T. Warren Allen on "The Highways of the U.S.A." The lectures cover such topics as finance and road types, surface treatment of gravel and other roads, roads mixed bituminous construction, cement concrete roads, and brick roads. The delegates' letter states that, "It was with some misgiving that we looked forward to the series of lectures on the subject of roadmaking, but Mr. Allen succeeded in making these so interesting that, together with the films, they provided quite an enjoyable interlude in the life aboard; not only were they attended by Congress members but by the ladies and non-Congress passengers." (See October 11, 1930.)
Photo: T. Warren Allen
T. Warren Allen
1985 Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole approves a request from Governor Mario Cuomo and Mayor Edward Koch to withdraw the 4.2-mile Westway (I-476) from the Interstate System in New York City. On September 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District had upheld Judge Thomas Griesa's August 7 decision voiding the Corps of Engineers' landfill permit, but revoked his permanent injunction against the nearly $2 billion project. However, faced with a statutory withdrawal deadline of September 30, New York State and New York City officials decided to end the project. After the withdrawal request was submitted by Governor Cuomo and Mayor Koch, an editorial in The New York Times asked, "Why did a project offering so much to so many finally fall as flat as the old elevated West Side Highway it was to replace?" The answer, the editorial concluded, is "horror of the automobile."
Photo: Elizabeth Dole
Elizabeth Dole
Secretary of Transportation
1994 Under the Federal Workforce Restructuring Act of 1994, which was signed on March 30 by President Clinton, 193 FHWA employees retire after accepting buyouts of up to $25,000. Retirees include Executive Director E. Dean Carlson, three Regional Administrators, seven Division Administrators, and other employees in all grades and a variety of assignments. The retirees averaged 33 years of service and collectively provided 6,317 years of service to FHWA.

Also in September

1935 Pennsylvania becomes the first State to begin Highway Planning Surveys, followed in October by Ohio. Surveys from the 46 participating States provide valuable information used in planning the Interstate System.
1947 PRA established the Secondary Road Division to help foster a more complete understanding and appreciation of county road problems. In February and April 1948, the new division holds meetings of the Board of Consultants on secondary road problems, established in January 1946 to assist and advise in formulating policies affecting the Federal-aid secondary program. The consultants agree with the AASHO standards adopted by PRA for secondary roads, noting that the more experienced county officials recognize the error of building weak and unstable surfaces and unsafe roads to keep costs down.
1970 Because of recent bus accidents and national concern for bus safety, Region 5's BMCS staff launches an all-out effort to check as many buses as possible on Interstate routes.

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