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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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October 24
1918 A devastating national Spanish flu epidemic takes a grim toll on an OPR/Forest Service project on the Silverton-Durango Highway in southwestern Colorado. OPR Engineer-in-Charge Jo Kingsley, who was stricken last month, dies at Silverton today. John Corlie, OPR's Engineer-in-Charge of the north camp, also comes down with the flu (and died a few days later). As a result, panic grips the 115 laborers on the job. Almost overnight, the camp is practically deserted. Senior Engineer A. E. Palen is on the way to investigate, but the project may have to be postponed.
PHOTO: A.E. Palen, OPR Senior Engineer
A.E. Palen, OPR Senior Engineer, on the job.
1923 In Olympia, WA, Deputy Chief Engineer L.I. Hewes represents BPR at the dedication of the Pacific Highway in a series of ceremonies marking the hard-surfacing of the highway from Canada to California. After the ceremonies, participants drive to the Interstate Bridge at Vancouver where "Old Man Detour" was hung in effigy amidst the acclaim of thousands of spectators.
1945 PRA Materials Engineers Harry Rex and C. A. Bergey join C. M. Hartsock of the Raleigh office in North Carolina to inspect sand-asphalt roads that had shown evidence, during a 1943 inspection, of slipping on the underlying pavements. Today, they inspect several roads, including a three-lane section of U.S. 17 (Folkstone to Wilmington). The road had been resurfaced with sand-asphalt in 1942 and carried considerable traffic because of wartime activities at nearby military bases. However, the PRA team found the road in excellent condition.
PHOTO: Looking south on U.S. 17 between Folkstone and Wilmington, NC.
Looking south on U.S. 17 between Folkstone and Wilmington, NC. Photo from report of inspection tour by Harry Rex, C.A. Gergey, and C.M. Hartsock of PRA's Raliegh office.
1963 The Federal-Aid Highway Amendments, signed today by President John F. Kennedy, makes adjustments and technical corrections, notably revising Interstate standards to provide that design should be such as to accommodate traffic forecast 20 years ahead, rather than the fixed year, 1975, cited in previous legislation.
1965 Under Public Law 89-205, Federal employees who retire between today and December 30 will receive increased annuity payments (6.1 percent higher in addition to a 2-percent increase in effect for 1965). In BPR, 125 employees retire under the Act (33 from Headquarters, 85 from field offices, and 7 from missions abroad).
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