The Dreamers Behind the Interstate Highway System

Josh Stephens reviews <a>Big Roads</a> by Earl Swift, which profiles Thomas MacDonald and Frank Turner, the civil engineers who made the Interstate Highway System a reality.
December 12, 2011, 9am PST | Tim Halbur
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Recently chosen as a Top 10 Urban Planning Book of 2012 by Planetizen, Earl Swift's The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways explains that the Interstate Highway System didn't just magically appear after Eisenhower proposed it.

Stephens writes:

"Though the Interstate Highway System bears Eisenhower's name and is generally credited to him, Swift gives credit to the forgotten engineers who envisioned a national road system while Ike was scarcely out of Basic Training."

Stephens says the book takes a fairly neutral tone to the project, explaining all sides of the story, including how the new highways divided cities along racial lines:

"All told, the government committed 750,000 eminent domain takings in the construction of the interstates."

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Published on Thursday, December 8, 2011 in California Planning & Development Report
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