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January 21, 2006


Marisa Kollias 312-814-4693 (IDOT)

IDOT Participates in the National Celebration
50th Anniversary of the Interstate Highway System

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta to Kick-off the Nation’s Celebration

SPRINGFIELD- The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is taking part in the National Celebration of the Interstate Highway System. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the federal law that brought this nation its Interstate Highway System. Illinois will be commemorating this event in June 2006. The Interstate system has transformed our nation and our economy by allowing Americans to travel within a few days' drive of practically everyone else in our nation, altering our willingness to travel and the way we schedule our time. It has also changed the way we move people and freight, has facilitated international trade, and turned trucks into rolling warehouses.

IDOT has formed a 50th Anniversary of Interstates Committee and will participate in the convoy and national celebration. The convoy will enter Illinois on Interstate 80 from Iowa and proceed across Illinois stopping at the American Association of State Highway Officials (ASSHO) Test Road Site adjacent to Interstate 80 in Ottawa, Illinois on June 24. The site is also referred to as The National Test Road. Tests at this site from 1958 to November of 1960 played a significant role in Interstate development and produced surface formulas that were used for years to come in the construction of the Interstate System. The convoy will then travel to Chicago where a celebration will take place on June 26. The Illinois committee is also producing a website and exhibits pertaining to the 50th Anniversary of the Interstate System.

“Since the Eisenhower Interstate System will celebrate its Golden Anniversary, it is exciting and very important that Illinois recognizes this significant anniversary,” said IDOT Secretary Timothy W. Martin. The Interstate has provided 50 years of freedom, safety and progress in transportation and we are proud to be celebrating such an important part of the past, present, and future.”

IDOT is joining forces with The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), which represents the state departments of transportation in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. IDOT will sponsor press events and activities commemorating this important anniversary.

The coast-to-coast convoy will begin in San Francisco on June 15 and cross the Interstate 80 corridor to end in Washington, D.C. on June 29. This route is similar to the one taken in 1919 by Dwight D. Eisenhower as a young soldier with a cross-country military convoy. Eisenhower’s muddy and difficult trip took months and he became a good-roads advocate. Eisenhower prompted the approval of the Interstate System by Congress. President Eisenhower signed the legislation that provided funding for the Interstates on June 29, 1956.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta will launch the Nation’s celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Interstate Highway System on Monday, January 23, at Noon during the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in Washington, D.C.

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