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Thread: History of Interstates on NPR

  1. #1
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    History of Interstates on NPR

    Ira Flatow's "Science Friday" had a good segment on the history of US Highways and Interstate Highways today. Apparently the plans for the limited-access superhighways that we now know as Interstates pre-dated the Eisenhowere era by more than a decade, and the laws were already on the books.

    Also, the author said it's an urban myth that the Interstates were designed for Military purposes, and a myth that there are sections of highway designed for emergency aircraft landing. This puts lied, once and for all, the misinformation that Mike used to give here.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/09/02/140146...-the-big-roads

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    Senior Member BrentP's Avatar
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    The limited access highway concept goes WAY back... it was old when the PA turnpike was built (~1939)

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentP View Post
    The limited access highway concept goes WAY back... it was old when the PA turnpike was built (~1939)
    I'm from PA. I remeber back in 1955 - the PA turnpike and tunnels were way ahead of their time.

    Unfortunately the state has gone to sh1t (especially Philly, overrun by porch monkeys and the like).

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    I didn't listen to the program, but one thing I've heard is that the original design had the Interstates going near, but not in, the cities. The idea was that you'd use feeder roads so that the Interstates would be even more limited access (no exits every half mile downtown, with people using them as just another road).

    But, that design feature was lost by a congressional compromise.

    Chip H.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiph View Post
    (no exits every half mile downtown, with people using them as just another road).

    But, that design feature was lost by a congressional compromise.

    Chip H.
    What they do here in Minneapolis is to cripple the innercity main roads by making them one lane each way, with a center turn lane. Once direct, 4 lane, innercity roads are turned into 20 mph cow paths, dominated by clovers and buses. Once you get behind a bus (with maybe 5 riders) you are stuck - no way to pass.

    To me it seems like 'they' are forcing us to use the freeways.

  6. #6
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentP View Post
    The limited access highway concept goes WAY back... it was old when the PA turnpike was built (~1939)


    It goes back farther than you might think. While the immediate inspiration for the interstate system was the German Autobahns, Germany didn't originate the concept. Hitler took credit for the Autobahn but Otto Von Bismark is the one who got them built. Eisenhower was part of an experimental convoy from California to the east coast in 1919. It took over two months.

    Bismark got the idea from Napoleon. The original idea came from the Romans. They built roads everywhere and that helped them to move men and equipment fast to squelch trouble spots. So the idea isn't 55 years old, it's more like 2300 years old.
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