November 16, 2019
  • 2:34 pm Committee Leadership Comes into Focus for 116th Congress
  • 2:22 pm Interstate System Report Calls for More Funding, Tolling, VMT Fees, and Cybersecurity
  • 2:15 pm In Memoriam: President George H. W. Bush, ISTEA, and Transportation
  • 1:56 pm Growth Projected for Transportation Projects, but Costs a Challenge
  • 1:35 pm FAA Reshuffles Executives, Plans Drone Identification Rulemaking in Spring 2019
  • 1:28 pm Predictive Technology Helps Reduce Crashes on I-15 Corridor in Las Vegas
  • 1:14 pm Video Report: MoDOT Produces Multi-Lingual Safety Message
  • 1:11 pm PennDOT Nears Completion of Rapid Bridge Replacement Project
  • 1:08 pm Infrastructure Grants Awarded to “Smaller” South Dakota Communities
  • 12:42 pm State DOTs Reiterate Benefits of TIM Training at Safety Summit
  • 12:37 pm AASHTO Issues Second Coalition Rescission Repeal Letter
  • 12:36 pm Tariff Report Highlights Raw Material Cost Concerns
  • 12:23 pm USDOT Releases $900M in BUILD Grants
  • 12:19 pm House T&I Amtrak Hearing Airs State-Level Rail Concerns

One hundred years ago this month, a U.S. Army convoy consisting of 81 vehicles, 24 officers, and 258 enlisted men set out on a 3,251-mile transcontinental journey, primarily as a way to test the ability of the military to move great distances over roads under wartime conditions.

The convoy took 62 days to complete the trip from Washington, D.C., to Oakland, CA, with nine vehicles and 21 men unable to finish the journey due to breakdowns and injuries, respectively. Few of the roads were paved at the time, forcing the convoy to creep along at an average speed of just over 5 miles per hour.

As a result of the poor conditions, then Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower – who joined the convoy at the last minute “almost on a lark” in his words – reported that “extended trips by trucks through the middle western part of the United States are impracticable until roads are improved.”

His experience with convoy also informed his decision years later as president to create the national highway system that bears his name.

The 46,000-mile interstate system – which had been on Bureau of Public Roads drawing boards since the late 1930s and approved, in theory, by Congress in the 1940s – lacked funding for construction.

As president, Eisenhower helped push that funding through Congress so a road trip that once took him and his companions over two months to finish can be completed in two or three days.

editor@aashto.org

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