Century Class® S/T to Join Commemorative Convoy from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.
PORTLAND, OR. – June 16, 2006 – Freightliner Trucks announced that one of its heavy-duty tractors will take part in a convoy traveling across America in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United States Interstate Highway System. Freightliner's Run Smart Century Class S/T tractor will drive the entire 14-day journey across the country from June 16-29, 2006 in celebration of this special event.
The 50th anniversary convoy begins in San Francisco on June 16 and will travel 3,250 miles, ending on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. on June 29 with a ceremony and an outdoor picnic. Freightliner Trucks, American Association of Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and Highway Watch officials will be in attendance, among others. Also scheduled to appear is U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
June 29, 2006 is a historic milestone as it will mark the 50th anniversary of the day President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, leading to the construction of the Interstate Highway System we rely upon today, one of the biggest engineering projects ever undertaken in the U.S.
"The trucking industry hauls nearly 70 percent of all freight moved across America," said Jonathan Randall, director of product marketing, Freightliner Trucks. "More than 80 percent of our communities depend solely on our industry for delivery of their goods and products, and it's the Interstate Highway System that makes this possible."
In 1919, Eisenhower, then a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, accompanied a military convoy from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. Due to rough, muddy road conditions and bridgeless river crossings, the onerous journey took 62 days, clocking 58 miles per day at about 6 miles per hour.
This journey convinced Eisenhower the nation needed a much better road system, and his conviction was reinforced during World War II when his Allied troops made use of the well-developed German Autobahn system to quickly move soldiers throughout the country to help defeat the German army.
The commemorative convoy will retrace, in reverse, the route of the 1919 First Transcontinental Motor Train, which approximately follows route I-80 across the nation. The convoy will travel through thirteen states, stop in eighteen towns (including Abilene, Kansas, Eisenhower's birthplace) and end at the Zero Mile Marker on the Ellipse, where the 1919 convoy departed to the West.
"Freightliner Trucks, as the number one North American truck manufacturer, is proud to participate in this special event," Randall added. "As the most visible name on the road, our trucks have traversed every mile of these roads and our customers will continue bringing necessary goods and services to people across the United States."
The Interstate Highway System is comprised of 46,508 miles of superhighways connecting major cities, smaller towns and great expanses of open landscape across the United States. More notably, the Interstate Highway System has connected Americans to each other, putting them within only a few days' drive of each other, and has redefined the relationship between urban and rural America. Freightliner Trucks is a division of Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner LLC produces and markets Class 3-8 trucks and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.