The Interstate

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Here is another post from my Dad! Thank you, Dad!

I really enjoyed reading all of the comments on my last post! Thank you! Yes, we do go through Columbus Ohio. On Thursday morning around 7:00AM and then again Friday afternoon around 4:00PM. I will be happy to answer any other questions you have. For now I thought I would write about the Interstate.

Most people have driven the Interstate system at one time or another, but I wonder how many people really understand the Interstate system? To be a successful truck driver, understanding the Interstate system is a requirement.

When I worked for a year at our Fontana (California) Terminal, I was privileged to conduct a Map class as part of the two-day Orientation program. Even though I had driven a truck for more than ten years before that, I found I didn’t fully understand the Interstate system. There were several things I learned when I taught the Map class for the first time.

The Interstate as we know it today was built during the 1960’s, but the planning started with the Eisenhower administration during the 1950’s. However, the need for a nationwide road system was realized as far back as World War I, when then-Lieutenant Dwight D. Eisenhower was assigned to lead a convoy of war machinery and supplies from New York to San Francisco in 1919.

Eisenhower was embarrassed to find that the powerful United States of America had no road system in place to move military equipment from one side of our country to the other. Sure, there were roads linking one city to another but that was the extent of the planning! No one had considered the need to build a single road from one side of the country to the other.

Can you imagine the frustration Eisenhower felt when he looked at the zigzag route he would have to take just to get from one city to another? In 1919 there was probably little in the way of road signs, or even printed maps showing where roads would lead. The cross-country trip took over a month! Eisenhower saw this as a serious national security issue and vowed if he was ever in a position of influence, he would do something about it.

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