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In 1919, Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower volunteered for the U.S. Army’s Transcontinental Motor Convoy that traveled from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. On that trip, he saw for the poor condition of our nation’s roads. The convoy traveled nearly 3,200 miles and averaged only six mph.
Eisenhower had seen Germany’s modern highways before World War II, and was convinced that America needed the ability to efficiently mobilize the military should there be a war in the U.S.
As president, Eisenhower urged Congress to create the U.S. Interstate Highway System in 1956. Over the next 40 years, nearly 43,000 miles of modern roads were built.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is coordinating the restaging of that convoy this summer. It will travel the route in reverse and arrive in Washington, D.C., on June 29, 2006. More information is available here.