Interstate Highways Quiz

HISTORY

By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

This vast web of interconnected roads helps to power America's economic and military might. How much do you know about the interstate highway system?

In 1919, it took a test Army expedition how long to drive from Washington to San Francisco?

A young military man named Dwight D. Eisenhower witnessed the sluggish pace, and it stuck in his mind for many years.

Advertisement

During World War II, Eisenhower was impressed by the speed of movement executed by which army?

The German highway system, called the autobahn, gave the Nazis a tremendous advantage in mobility during conflicts.

Advertisement

True or false: Defense was the primary purpose driving construction of the interstates.

Although defense was important, civilian and economic purposes were what made the dream a reality.

Advertisement

What year did a federal act authorize the development of the interstate system?

The Federal Highway Act of 1944 granted permission but did not specify funding.

Advertisement

What year were funds set aside to begin construction of the highways?

It took more than a decade before the government committed real money to the projects.

Advertisement

In 1944, what was the original recommended length of the interstate system?

As America grew, so too did the size of the system.

Advertisement

It cost how much to finish the originally conceived interstate system?

As of 2015, the total expenditures were at more than half a trillion dollars.

Advertisement

About how many miles is the current interstate highway system?

The originally planned routes (sans a few that were altered or omitted) were completed in 1991.

Advertisement

What country has the world's longest interstate system?

China's area and population mean it needs an even bigger set of highways than the U.S.

Advertisement

True or false: Standards dictate that at least 1 of every 5 miles of the interstate must be straight so that planes can land during emergencies.

Planes can and do land on these roads, but there's no standard specifying construction for this reason.

Advertisement

How has the interstate system affected mass transit systems?

Interstates spurred American dependence on cars, in many places stalling mass transit like bus or rail.

Advertisement

What was NOT one of the stated purposes of the interstate system?

In some areas, people revolted as the government pushed aside neighborhoods for the new highways.

Advertisement

Which entity decides maximum speed limits for the highways?

However, in the 1970s, states had identical maximum speed limits that lasted for years.

Advertisement

What was the maximum speed limit that states agreed upon in the 1970s?

As time went by, more and more states opted to tweak (or even overhaul) the speed limits within their borders.

Advertisement

What happened to many neighborhoods that the new interstate highways sliced apart?

In many cities, the construction became a public relations nightmare as locals fought to stop construction through their homes.

Advertisement

Which state has the highest allowable speeds on highways?

In some stretches, you can hit 85 miles per hour (137 kilometers per hour).

Advertisement

The federal government paid for what percentage of the highway system?

A gasoline tax helped the federal government fund the project.

Advertisement

Major north-south interstate highways end in which number?

Major east-west routes (such as Interstate 80) end with zero.

Advertisement

Which state was the first to complete construction of its main interstate highways?

The state finished its major interstate projects in 1974.

Advertisement

Which entity is responsible for paying for maintenance of the highway in each state?

States with budget problems sometimes neglect their interstates, which can lead to safety and traffic issues.

Advertisement

Where is the highest point of the interstate system?

It's the Eisenhower Tunnel, which is 11,192 feet (3,411 meters) above sea level.

Advertisement

The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 envisioned a project that would take how long to complete?

Given the scale of the project, a decade was probably a bit too ambitious, even for the power of postwar American industry.

Advertisement

Outside of mountainous regions, what's the maximum standard grade for the interstate highways?

Lower grades mean easier travel, particularly for larger and heavier vehicles.

Advertisement

Which interstate highway stretches from San Francisco to New Jersey?

I-80 runs through the heart of America, linking the East and West coasts to one another.

Advertisement

How many bridges and tunnels are there on the Glenwood Canyon stretch of I-70 in Colorado?

It took until 1992 to complete this segment, which is one of the most expensive bits of highway in the country.

Advertisement

Higher-numbered interstate routes are typically located in which parts of the country?

That means most of the lower numbered roads are in the West and South.

Advertisement

True or false: Bicycles are permitted on the shoulders of some interstate highways.

In some areas with low traffic (or where other low-cost transportation is rare) bikes may be allowed on the shoulders.

Advertisement

Construction standards dictated that urban interstate interchanges must be at least how far apart?

Any closer than 1 mile and congestion would be even worse than what it is now.

Advertisement

Under the 1956 act, in which state did the first interstate highway project begin?

It was the I-70 Mark Twain Expressway in St. Charles County.

Advertisement

In what year was I-80 finally completed?

The final segment was built near Salt Lake City, making it the first highway running from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

Advertisement

Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!