One in Five Miles of Interstate Has to Be Straight to Land a Plane—True or False?
If you ask most Americans if the interstate system throughout the United States was built with the regulation that for every 5 miles of winding road there had to be 1 mile of straight highway in order to land a military plane if need be, they will more than likely say "oh yeah, that's true". One historian has something to say to every American about the One Mile in Five claims.
Richard F. Weingroff, who worked for the Federal Highway Administration Office of Infrastructure and "unofficial" highway historian, posted a scathing note about the One Mile in Five idea on highways.dot.gov back in 2000. He was so passionate about getting the truth out that the website posted a disclaimer.
Editor's Note: In the following article, we let the Federal Highway Administration's "unofficial historian" get something off his chest. He needed to vent. -highways.dot.gov
According to Weingroff, under the Defense Highway Act of 1941, the Army Air Force and the Public Roads Administration (PRA) operated flight strips. These flight strips were very close to the interstate system that was commissioned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Locating the airstrips near the interstate allowed fuel to be transported to the airstrips easily. Weingroff believes that may be how the One in Five claims started.
As with Dracula, it is very difficult to put a stake through the heart of this 'fact.' It's like the 'urban myths' we have all heard — untrue things that people nevertheless believe. For example, that alligators thrive in our sewer systems. Now there are 'Internet myths' — untrue claims that bounce around the Internet like juicy gossip with reality never having a hope of catching up with them. That's what happened with the one-out-of-five claim about airplane use of the Interstate Highway System. -Richard Weingroff
Mr. Weingroff speaks in the article, very passionately about getting the facts out about the One Mile in Five claims. Are you ready for the truth? The One Mile in Five myth is just that—a myth.
...NO LAW, REGULATION, POLICY, OR SLIVER OF RED TAPE REQUIRES THAT ONE OUT OF FIVE MILES OF THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM MUST BE STRAIGHT. -Richard F. Weingroff