Francis Turner
Francis Turner was a worker for the U.S. government to whom the creation of the Interstate Highway System
Interstate Highway System
The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, , is a network of limited-access roads including freeways, highways, and expressways forming part of the National Highway System of the United States of America...

 is attributed.

Background and education

Frank was born on December 28, 1908, in Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

, and spent his childhood in Texas. He graduated twice from Texas A&M
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University is a coeducational public research university located in College Station, Texas . It is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. The sixth-largest university in the United States, A&M's enrollment for Fall 2011 was over 50,000 for the first time in school...

, once in 1928, the second time in 1940.

Pre-Interstate career

Turner's career began in earnest with an assignment to oversee Federal-aid
Federal-aid highway program
The U.S. federal-aid highway program was commenced in 1916, with milestones of Federal Aid Highway Act of 1944 and Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956.The federal-aid highway system consists of three parts:*The Interstate Highway System...

 road projects in Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

. Afterwards, he was asked to work on the Alaska Highway
Alaska Highway
The Alaska Highway was constructed during World War II for the purpose of connecting the contiguous U.S. to Alaska through Canada. It begins at the junction with several Canadian highways in Dawson Creek, British Columbia and runs to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon...

, where he is credited with implementing the milepost system. Post WWII
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, he was asked to oversee repairs of the road system in the Philippines
Transportation in the Philippines
This article describes the various forms of transportation in the Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands.-Vehicles:During this period, there were 50,000 automobiles in the region. The carabao was used as a primary transportation source...


Interstate Highway work

Turner was appointed by President Eisenhower to be the Executive Secretary of the Clay Commission President's Advisory Committee on the National Highway Program in 1954. He then worked as the deputy commissioner, chief engineer, and Federal Highway Administrator. As the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 newspaper The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

noted in Turner's 1999 obituary, Turner's resume can be read in the landscape: When the young area engineer began his career in Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, "most American roads were dirt and gravel." As of 1999, America offered 42,000 miles of Interstate; these miles had been developed at a cost of $130 billion, much of that capital "personally superintended by Turner."

The magazine American Heritage
American Heritage (magazine)
American Heritage is a quarterly magazine dedicated to covering the history of the United States for a mainstream readership. Until 2007, the magazine was published by Forbes. Since that time, Edwin S...

 noted that these paved roads "changed the country subtly as much as the transcontinental railroad did overtly".

Honors and Retirement

The Federal Highway Research Center, in McLean, Virginia
McLean, Virginia
McLean is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia. The community had a total population of 48,115 as of the 2010 census....

, was named in Mr. Turner's honor. He died on October 6, 1999, at the age 90, at a hospice in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
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