In this episode, we’re continuing to explore the history of the State Highway System, focusing on the period as WWII was ending, the Interstate system was emerging, and the construction boom was starting. This is part of our first season of California Highways: Route by Route, where we are exploring the background needed for our route by route journey. In this episode, we see the birth of the Freeway System in California, starting with the Collier-Burns act increasing state funding for highways, and State and Federal recommendations for higher-capacity systems. We see the growth in cities and urban areas pushing demand for the same, leading to the definition of the Freeway and Expressway System. We cover the passage of the 1956 Interstate Highway Act, and the subsequent freeway conversion and construction boom. Our guest interview is with Dr. Jonathan L. Gifford of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is also the director of the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy. His doctoral dissertation examined the history and development of the interstate highway system from its origins in the 1930s through its design and deployment in the 1960s and beyond.
Here are some relevant links for the episode (I’ll likely edit this to add more links in later):
- California Highways: Chronology of California Highways – Phase IV: Building the Freeway System
- Gribblenation: Golden State Highways
- FHWA: History of the Interstate Highway System
Here’s the link to the show:
And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:
We welcome your comments on the episode. We’re also looking for someone to donate or provide more appropriate theme music. We’re also looking for interviews for future episodes; if you know a good person for us to talk to, drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. In particular, we’re looking for the folks to talk about the following:
- For 1.05: Someone familiar with the Pat Brown era of road construction, who is also familiar with the impact on the state of the Great Renumbering (ideally, someone who remembers it first hand). We have a lead, but don’t have the interview scheduled … yet. Hopefully in the next day or so.
- For 1.06: Someone familiar with the contracting and development process for highways today: How the CEQA has changed the process, and the increasing role of regional transportation agencies.
- For 1.07: Perhaps someone to talk about California’s Post Mile system and its history.
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