Question: In reference to the interstate, is it true that one out of five miles is straight so airplanes can land on there if needed?
Answer: No, this is a myth that is so widespread that it is difficult to dispel. The myth typically states the requirement came from President Dwight D. Eisenhower or the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. However, no legislation, regulation or policy has ever imposed such a requirement. Airplanes do land on interstates in an emergency, but the highways are not designed for that purpose.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration, the interstate system was first described in 1939 in a Bureau of Public Roads report to Congress, Toll Roads and Free Roads. It was authorized for designation by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944, with the initial designations in 1947 and completed in 1955 under the 40,000-mile limitation imposed by the 1944 Act.
Eisenhower didn’t conceive the interstate system, but his support led to enactment of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which established the program for funding and building it.
Any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, 2900 48th St., NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848; or send an email to: Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.