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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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August 1
1945 AASHO concurs in the initial "Design Standards for the National System of Interstate Highways," designed to "set the values or controls, the use of which is intended to produce highway facilities that represent the best practice in the light of present knowledge." The standards accommodate the 30th highest hourly traffic density and, in most but not all cases, require access control, separation at rail crossings, and elimination of cross traffic at grade. The standards were developed by AASHO Special Committee on Planning and Design Policies during a June meeting in Washington, DC.
1956 With Commissioner Charles Curtiss looking on, Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks signs the apportionment document for $2.55 billion in FY 1958 funds authorized by the 1956 Federal-Aid Highway Act, the largest amount ever provided for roads to date. The first apportionment under the 1956 Act, totalling $1.125 billion, took place the day it was signed, June 29, 1956.
1965 In an interview with The New York Times, Robert O. Swain, president of the International Road Federation, says that his organization has joined with BPR in a $150,000 project to send 17 road experts to Europe, the Far East, and South America. "Despite great advances here, United States road builders are a long way from knowing everything there is to know about their art," commented Swain.
2007 The I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, MN, collapses into the Mississippi River during the evening peak period. Thirteen people die and hundreds are injured. At the request of President George W. Bush, Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters is on the scene within hours of the collapse. She taps Administrator J. Richard Capka to manage a team of experts assigned to replace the bridge. (See September 18, 2008)
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