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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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October 17
1973 In Lebanon, 11 Middle East nations proclaim a progressively increasing monthly cut in exports of oil to the United States and other nations perceived as unfriendly to Arab goals. The cut soon becomes a boycott, touching off the first of two energy crises in the 1970s, this one lasting until the spring. (See January 2, 1974.)
1979 Administrator Karl Bowers presents 110 paintings by BPR's Carl Rakeman to the Boston Museum of Transportation. The paintings depict scenes from highway history. (See March 31, 1976.) The paintings are also the centerpiece of Historic American Roads: Frontier Trails to Superhighways by BPR's Albert C. Rose (Crown Publishers, Inc., 1976). "The birth and growth of America," Bowers says, "has been and continues to be 'The Greatest Show on Earth,' and the Rakeman paintings tell the story of how that show was put on the road." (The paintings are now at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center and Museum in Fremont, OH, an organization that Rakeman was closely associated with.)
1989 The Loma Prieta Earthquake, 7.1 on the Richter scale, causes the double-decked Nimitz Freeway (I-880) in Oakland, CA, to collapse, killing 42, and damages the Embarcadero Freeway, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and other roads in the Bay Area. The death toll is less than at first expected--although the earthquake occurred during evening rush hour, many residents had gone home early to watch the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
PHOTO: Cypress Street Viaduct (I-880) damaged by Loma Prieta Earthquake.
Cypress Street Viaduct (I-880) damaged by Loma Prieta Earthquake.
2006 Former Administrator Mary E. Peters takes the oath of office as the 15th Secretary of Transportation. She becomes the third Secretary, after John A. Volpe (1969-1972) and Rodney E. Slater (1997-2001), who also served as FHWA Administrator. In an address, the new Secretary refers to DOT employees as "the soul of American Transportation Network" and promises to work with them "to tackle today's most pressing transportation challenges."
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