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Rust Never Sleeps: Road Trip in Search of Solutions to America’s Infrastructure Crisis

September 22, 2016, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Opening night lecture for the exhibition, Ribbons Across the Land: Building the U.S. Interstate Highway System.

The lecture

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways is marked by its iconic red-white-and-blue shields—the same ones marking I-70 in Missouri and Kansas. The Interstate System, as it is known to most, was the world’s largest civil planning, engineering, and construction endeavor when it was launched in 1956. The engineering marvel modernized the United States more than any civil project before or since.

Join best-selling author and award winning journalist Dan McNichol in a lively discourse on how the superhighway network has been transforming the nation since its inception. McNichol contemplates how “Ike’s Grand Plan” continues as a model for planning, delivering, and financing mega infrastructure projects. McNichol walks us through the false starts, the high hopes, and the reality of President Eisenhower’s vision. Having authored The Big Dig, McNichol shares his insights into the “last mile” of the original construction of the roughly 47,000 mile system built in Boston. The Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel Project delivered what is arguably the world’s most complex tunneling system.

In closing, McNichol shares how President Eisenhower’s vision may lead us to building a network of high-speed trains.

The speaker

Best-selling author and award-winning journalist Dan McNichol is a nationally-recognized expert on the U.S. Interstate System. His published books, articles, and thought-leadership work focus on mega construction projects in the U.S. and around the world. His writing and work have appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, and Engineering News Record, and he is a frequent contributor to ABC World News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, BBC, China Central Television, TV Tokyo, MSNBC, PBS’s The NewsHour, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, History Channel, and NPR.

Admission tickets

The event is free and open to the public; however, e-tickets are required.


Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd streets. The main entrance to the Library grounds is on Cherry Street. The Linda Hall Library is not affiliated with UMKC. Parking in all UMKC lots is by permit or meter. Door open at 6:00 p.m.

Further reading

Dan McNichol, The Roads That Built America: The Incredible Story of the U.S. Interstate System (New York: Sterling Publishing, 2006)

Dan McNichol, Paving the Way: Asphalt in America (Lanham, MD: National Asphalt Pavement Association, 2005)




September 22, 2016
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Eric Ward
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Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry
Kansas City, MO 64110 United States
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Questions? Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information about these events.

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