Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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2006 Convoy Reenactment

By far, one of the most exciting events of the Golden Anniversary celebration will be Illinois’ participation in the AASHTO led 2006 Convoy Reenactment, which will be a return trip of Eisenhower’s 1919 military cross country caravan that went from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, California. During the 1919 trip, it was only possible to travel 58 miles per day! To complete their trip, it took 62 long, arduous days fighting heat, breakdowns, mud, bridgeless river-crossings, and rough roads. The June 2006 convoy will take the reverse route and go from San Francisco to Washington, D. C. traveling across Interstate 80; convoy states will include California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, DC, and Kansas. It will take the 2006 convoy approximately one hour to cover the same amount of miles it took the 1919 convoy to cover in one day! Illinois will join the caravan at the Iowa-Illinois border at Interstate 80. For more information, see the website that AASHTO has dedicated to the anniversary ( The re-enactment of the military convoy is significant in the celebration, because this event planted the seed that finally blossomed--bringing Eisenhower’s dream to reality--a National Interstate Highway System when the federal legislation was signed on June 29, 1956.

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The National Convoy reenactment will travel Interstate 80 across the United States, which is the closest route to the actual 1919 convoy that traveled across the states by way of the Lincoln Highway. On June 24, 2006, the convoy will enter Illinois. The Illinois State Police will coordinate a special escort through Illinois, but first the convoy will travel to Ottawa for a press event to be held at the AASHO Test Road Site. A final convoy press event will be held in Tinley Park at the Holiday Inn Select Convention Center on June 26th as the National Convoy leaves Illinois to continue its trip by way of Indiana.

Illinois Traveling Exhibits

The 50th Anniversary of the Interstate Highway System is a celebration of accomplishment. This is a legacy that defines the strength and spirit of America. President Eisenhower is acknowledged as the Father of the system. His vision and leadership were the catalyst needed to begin the process. However, it was the combined efforts of the American citizens that brought this vision to reality. With these exhibits, Illinois wishes to recognize the accomplishments of its citizens in the greatest engineering and construction achievement in the world. Airstream Exhibit: Roadside Conversations An interactive exhibit has been designed to inform and document the observations of the citizens of Illinois. Produced jointly by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Department of Transportation, this commemorative work of art will be contained in an Airstream trailer and will be used for two purposes. First, to send a positive message about the benefits of the interstate system and second, to document the experiences of the citizens of the state of Illinois as they relate their knowledge and experience with the last 50 years of interstate highway construction. It will also capture the vision of the future of the interstate system as seen by the people who use it every day. The designers of this piece were chosen during a Design Competition held by the University in early 2006. The exhibit piece is titled “Roadside Conversations: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Stories.” On March 29, 2006 a press conference was held at the University in front of the Krannert Museum announcing the winners of the Design Competition. Two entries tied for the winners spot. One entry was submitted by Steve Kostell and Rick Valentin and the other was submitted by Rose Marshack.

After the trailer joins the AASHTO Convoy in Illinois it will continue to complete the trip to Washington, D.C. As the public enters the Airstream trailer, they will be able to see a video of people sharing their experiences in the building of and traveling on the interstate and view a 3D imagery show. If a guest wants to add their own experience, they can go to the back of the trailer where a recording studio will be housed to capture their account; this will be added to the original video show.

One of the goals of the Illinois Committee is to increase awareness of the general public about the history of our great Interstate System. A major part of the IDOT led activities will be the unveiling of “Roadside Conversations” on June 24th when the 2006 AASHTO Convoy enters Illinois. The commemorative piece will be scheduled to tour several places of public interest throughout the state. Locations will be added to this website once confirmed.

Celebrate the Interstate!
Another exhibit will tour Illinois this summer. Targeted locations will be shopping malls, conventions, museums, etc.

The exhibit was created and produced by the Illinois Department of Transportation and will be a display of photographs capturing moments in Illinois highway transportation history; images from the 20th century, rural dirt roads to modern expressways will place in focus the progress, freedom, and safety we experience today. Display cases will show mementos of the past alongside technology of the future. Computer monitors placed in kiosks will show video clips of information on the interstate system past, present and future and will have words from people that actually worked on building the interstate in Illinois.

The exhibit will include displays of historical artifacts, panels with vintage photos of the interstate and interactive kiosks with information about the history and future of the interstate system. The tour locations for this exhibit, once confirmed, will be posted on this website. This website was also a project completed by the Illinois Committee (see list of Committee members).

Fifty years ago no one could have imagined the high tech engineering that goes into the design, building, and maintenance of the interstate today. The future holds tremendous promise for continually making travel in the United States safer and more efficient giving greater access to citizens while increasing economic prosperity for the nation.

ITS Mobility Showcase
The future is now! On Sunday, June 25, 2006 a special “road show” will be demonstrated outside the Holiday Inn Select Convention Center-Tinley Park (north parking lot). The Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) has developed a mock intersection that will stage a potential hazard in the road. A special demonstration will show onlookers how the road will talk to the vehicle and the vehicle will respond to avoid a crash. The road show will be open for viewing to the general public.

From Left to Right-Steve Kostell, Rick Valentin, Design Team; Issa Lozada, National Convoy Coordinator for Illinois; Bruce Peebles, Jr., Chair, Display Coordination for the Illinois 50th Anniversary Committee
Bruce Peebles, Jr., Chair, Display Coordination for the Illinois 50th Anniversary Committee (photo is of the Airstream as it sits in front of the Krannert Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Bruce Peebles, Jr; David Lange, UIUC, Associate Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Steve Kostell


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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