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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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September 18
1939 John M. Carmody, Administrator of the new Federal Works Agency, discusses the PRA's future in a Washington Star Radio Forum broadcast. PRA, he said, is "one of the greatest clearing houses in the world for information on highway construction [and] will continue to have important responsibilities in the planning and aiding in the development of our road system, as well as carrying on a program of rural roads."
1975 In an FHWA Bulletin, W. J. Wilkes, Director, Office of Engineering, indicates that despite the 55 m.p.h. national speed limit, FHWA fully endorses an AASHTO policy statement "that even though operational traffic speeds and speed limits have been reduced, design speeds and other design standards not be reduced."
1990 The USDOT Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, MA, is renamed the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in honor of the only person to serve as Federal Highway Administrator and Secretary of Transportation, John A. Volpe, a former Massachusetts Governor and Ambassador to Italy.
2008 The new I-35W bridge opens across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, MN, replacing a bridge that collapsed the previous year. (See August 1, 2007) The $234 million twin-span bridge was completed 3 months ahead of a fast-track schedule. During the opening ceremony, Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters says, "This is kind of a bittersweet day. It's a day that we remember those who tragically lost their lives and those who were injured here, but also a day of a new beginning, as we see this new crossing bring the community back together again."
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