The Roads that Built America: The Incredible Story of the U.S. Interstate System

Overview

The U.S. Interstate System changed the face of our nation.

Fifty years ago, the only links between America’s cities were simple two-lane roads. Most of them were filled with stop signs, traffic lights, and railroad and cattle crossings.

Today, the Interstate System connects our coasts and our borders, our cities and small towns. It is an asphalt-and-concrete network that keeps the United States . . . united.

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Overview

The U.S. Interstate System changed the face of our nation.

Fifty years ago, the only links between America’s cities were simple two-lane roads. Most of them were filled with stop signs, traffic lights, and railroad and cattle crossings.

Today, the Interstate System connects our coasts and our borders, our cities and small towns. It is an asphalt-and-concrete network that keeps the United States . . . united.

The roots of the System lie with the military. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during World War II, was stunned by the efficiency and strategic importance of Germany’s Autobahn. As President, Eisenhower was determined to build a superhighway in the U.S. for military transport and evacuation of cities in wartime. Construction began in 1956. Today, hundreds of billion dollars later, the System is 99 percent complete.

The Roads That Built America tells the amazing story of this intricate highway system. From its origins in a primitive road conceived by George Washington, to the 42,795 miles that bind the country together today, the Interstate is the backbone of our military transportation and our economy. It is used during times of war to carry troops and supplies to air- and seaports. And although it’s a myth that every fifth mile is straight so planes can land, many aircraft have made emergency landings along its flat stretches.

The Interstates made our suburban lifestyle possible and caused the vast proliferation of businesses like HoJos, McDonald’s and Holiday Inns. And if you buy something online, most likely it’s a truck barreling along an Interstate that gets the product to your door. Whatever you think of those ribbons of roadway and their sometimes maddening traffic, they have changed the way we live.

Written by the bestselling author of The Big Dig, The Roads that Built America is the fascinating story of the largest engineering project the world has ever known.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760733707
  • Publisher: Silver Lining
  • Publication date: 10/3/2003
  • Pages: 256

Table of Contents

Map of the United States Interstate System

Chapter One
The Roads that Built America

Chapter Two
America's First Interstate

Chapter Three
Roads of Iron and Mud

Chapter Four
The Great American Partnership

Chapter Five
A Radical Idea: Numbered Highways

Chapter Six
Ike's Grand Plan

Chapter Seven
The Interstate Decade:1956-1966

Chapter Eight
The Interstate Goes Downtown

Chapter Nine
54,663 Bridges

Chapter Ten
104 Tunnels

Chapter Eleven
The Road Ahead

Sources
Index
Bibliograhpy
Acknowledgements
Picture Credits

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2011

    Fascinating

    This is a fascinating look at the history of the interstate road system! Wonderfully interesting with an abundance of facts and photos it gives a real sense of what it has taken to build the roads, tunnels and bridges that link us all! Loved it!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    The book offers a broad insight into the history of roads in the United States from the National Road to the Interstate System. Many pictures. The author did a great job in describing the evolution of road construction 'not too technical' to the heightened recognition for roadways 'military and commerce' to the politics between the federal, state, and local governments during the planning of the Interstate System. Many interesting details for anyone- what's the difference between a federal highway and an interstate highway? What gave Eisenhower the motivation to push the Intersatate System? Why was a section of interstate built and then immediately 'and permanently' road blocked? These are just a few of the many fun facts depicted.

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