Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
Patrick J. Quinn, Governor
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Dear Interstate Anniversary Website Visitor:

June 29, 2006 marks the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the federal legislation that created the Interstate Highway System. President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s signature that day on the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 marked the end of a decades-long debate about how to develop and fund a modern national highway system and launched the largest public works project in American history.

A 1999 survey by the Fannie Mae Foundation found that historians and scholars ranked “the Interstate Highway System and the dominance of the automobile in transportation” as the “number one influence” on American cities during the last half of the 20th Century.

Go to official AASHTO Anniversary site

Indeed, the consequences of the Interstate system for the lives of both urban and rural Illinois residents have been far reaching and significant.

The Illinois Department of Transportation’s commemoration of this historic anniversary focuses on three of the most profound, positive impacts of the Interstate system on the lives of Illinois residents. These “Celebration Themes” are:

FREEDOM: The enhanced freedom of movement.
SAFETY: The important improvements in highway safety.
PROGRESS: The increased opportunities for a higher quality of life made possible by progress and economic growth.

Today, these and other dramatic benefits brought about by the Interstate system are often taken for granted.

This website is designed to take you on a journey to understanding the Interstates’ tremendous influences on our daily lives.

With over 2,000 miles of Interstate highway paved throughout the Land of Lincoln, the State of Illinois is a key transportation center within the United States for trucking and other commercial traffic flow. The Illinois Interstate system fuels economic growth as the motoring public is able to access and travel these Interstate roadways for business and pleasure.

The trip will involve taking you “back to the future” to understand what pre-Interstate era travel was like in Illinois and invite you to experience it now, in-person, by exploring the many historic roads and byways that exist in modern day Illinois and are often accessible from Interstate highways.

It will also trace the path of history and highlight the impacts of the development of the Interstate system and invite you to participate in various Illinois activities and events that will mark the 50th Anniversary of our Interstate highways.

We hope you will enjoy the ride!


Interstate 50th Anniversary

Friends of the Interstate
The Eisenhower Interstate System
Illinois Interstates
IL Celebration Theme
Photo Album
The First 50 Years Video Presentation
Illinois' Historic Lincoln Highway
Other Illinois Historic Roads
Eisenhower & The 1919 Convoy
The 2006 Convoy & Special Events
Interstate Stories
References & Resources
The Interstate Quiz
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