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EXIT 275, INTERSTATE 70, Kan. - There were no Wal-Marts in 1956, no Ramada Inns or Best Westerns. Cross-country travel most often meant the railroad and only about two-thirds of adult Americans had a driver's license.
But that America began to change on June 29, 1956, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the law launching a massive federal project that had been his dream for decades: the Interstate Highway System.
To mark the 50th birthday of one of the most ambitious and consequential engineering projects in human history, a caravan of highway figures led by Eisenhower's great-grandson has been traveling across the country by interstate and will arrive in the District of Columbia on Thursday. They have been celebrating a system that includes 47,000 miles of highway with 55,500 bridges, 104 tunnels, 14,750 interchanges and zero traffic lights....