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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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November 30
1955 William A. Grant, who may have been the Agency's first African-American employee, retires at the mandatory age of 70 after 51 years, 9 months, and 6 days of service. A Washington, DC, native, he had been hired as a student assistant to test cement and aggregates for concrete under Dr. A. B. Cushman. Soon, Director Logan Page arranged for Grant to receive special training in the Office of Geological Survey, where he learned to make, polish, and mount thin sections of mineral and rock specimens for petrographic study and classification. He performed this work for the remainder of his career. According to The News in Public Roads, "Mr. Grant holds a unique place in the respect and affection of his associates. The importance of doing his work conscientiously and with pride in the result has always been his principal concern." Mr. Grant died on August 20, 1966, at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, DC, after a brief illness.
Photo: William A. Grant
William A. Grant
Engineering Aid (Civil)
Bureau of Public Roads

1970 The comment period closes on proposed new bridge inspection standards covering the 236,000 bridges on the Federal-aid systems. FHWA developed the proposed standards in accordance with a requirement of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968 enacted in response to concerns about bridge safety after collapse of the Silver Bridge. (See December 15, 1967.) Section 124 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978 expanded coverage of the National Bridge Inspection Standards to all highway bridges on public roads, including those off the Federal-aid highway systems.
1983 Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole snips a ribbon in ceremonies dedicating the Dulles Access Road extension in northern Virginia. Describing the road as "wonderful, wonderful," she says it "should assist the further growth" of Dulles International Airport. Designed and built under the supervision of FHWA's Office of Direct Federal Programs (Region 15) for the FAA, the $25-million highway will cut driving time between Washington, DC, and Dulles International Airport in half. The extension, which is intended to assist the growth of the underused airport, includes room for future construction of a Metrorail line.
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