The Last Great American Highway

Monday, September 06, 2010

The history of economic development in the United States has always been connected to the messy business of opening up trade routes. Whether it was the Erie Canal, which for many threatened to cut through their quaint home towns, or the thousands of miles of railroad track and highways strewn across the country, the same has been true: new transportation routes brought development, shipping and a lot of change.

The familiar battle lines have been drawn for another struggle for existence by a major interstate highway in America. I-69 is meant to be a 1,400-mile road that crosses the United States, north to south, connecting the Canadian and Mexican borders.   

But the way this route is being built is altogether different from the iconic giants that came before it, like I-95 or highway 66. Matt Dellinger says the difference may be an indicator of the future transportation in America. His new book is called "Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway."

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