Skip to contentU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Home > About FHWA > Highway History > FHWA By Day


A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
Table of Contents - Previous Day - Next Day
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."
previous next

Return to FHWA By Day