August 17, 2010
Contact:
Emerson Brown, NPR


   

NPR NEWS EXPLORES HOW ONE INTERSTATE HAS SHAPED
A U.S. SEABOARD IN "I-95: THE ROAD MOST TRAVELED"

SIX-PART SERIES AIRING ON "WEEKEND EDITION," BEGINNING SATURDAY, AUGUST 21

EXCLUSIVE ONLINE MATERIAL, INCLUDING MUSIC STREAM FOR I-95 ROAD TRIP

Before millions of travelers cruise up and down I-95 this Labor Day weekend, NPR News launches an exploration of the high-volume interstate – and its impact beyond the hours people spend driving it. The six-part series "I-95: The Road Most Traveled" looks at how the nearly 2,000-mile long stretch of pavement has reshaped entire regions along the East Coast in the past half-century, and what the future may hold as long-delayed work on the road's last link begins. The series begins Saturday-Sunday, August 21-22 on Weekend Edition, and will continue in weekend installments through Labor Day. All of the reports will also be available at www.NPR.org along with informational graphics, tips, maps and a playlist of 95 road trip songs.

Led by NPR's National Desk, "I-95: The Road Most Traveled" will examine the history, economic impact and future of this busy automotive vein – all with the intent of illustrating how one highway has driven development of the eastern seaboard. The series begins by investigating why the last 12 miles of 1-95 are just now being completed north of Philadelphia. It travels through Maine, Georgia and South Florida to understand the road's impact on the environment, neighborhoods and commerce; and concludes with visions of what the interstate might look like in 50 years. A tentative schedule of each series piece is below.

In addition to these reports, first-hand insights into I-95 will be offered through interviews with travelers at a newly-constructed welcome center in Delaware and a husband and wife who have written a guide about the interstate.

The radio stories in "I-95: The Road Most Traveled" will be archived at NPR.org, along with photos; an interactive map showing how the interstate and its nearby communities have grown over time; a guide to "worth-visiting" places near I-95 but off the beaten path; and a streaming mix of 95 road-worthy songs from NPR Member station WXPN Philadelphia.

NOTE: The following broadcast dates are tentative. All pieces air on Weekend Edition; for location stations and broadcast times, visit www.npr.org/stations All material will be available at NPR.org.

Saturday, Aug. 21
The Missing Link
Interstate 95 stretches nearly 2,000 miles – an unbroken ribbon of highway from the top of Maine to the tip of Florida, with one big exception. Mysteriously, I-95 disappears for a few miles near the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, forcing travelers to divert onto other roads. Finally, after 25 years in bureaucratic limbo, work on the final 12-mile stretch of I-95 is set to begin within weeks. Reporter Joel Rose looks for the missing link.

Sunday, Aug. 22
The Global Link
For millions of Americans, I-95 is just a dreary, crowded road that gets them from home to office. But the interstate highway actually is part of the global transportation system. It serves as a pipeline for goods entering the United States through the Savannah port, which has been greatly expanded in recent years. Once the goods get to Savannah, many get transferred to trucks, which haul them up I-95 towards the District of Columbia, New York and beyond, or down into Florida. Distributions centers have grown up where I-95 and I-16 intersect, just outside of Savannah. Only a small portion of I-95 passes through Georgia, but its economic impact on the state is enormous. NPR's Kathy Lohr reports.

Saturday, Aug. 28
South Florida
Although interstates were designed for long-distance travel, they are also handy for going from home to work, or maybe just a few blocks. Interstates helped create the suburbs and the ninety minute commute. And they helped decide how communities would grow. NPR’s Greg Allen reports on how the road shaped development in South Florida, bringing lots of commerce to Port St. Lucie while tearing apart the heart of Miami's black business district – the Overtown neighborhood.

Sunday, Aug. 29
Maine's Lifeline
The traffic of I-95 has benefited Maine. But what about parts of the state where the road doesn't go? NPR’s Andrea de Leon looks at how the state’s troubled economy has been greatly helped by the tourism that the interstate brings in and also the relative dearth of economic activity and traffic in the northern part of the state where the road does not go.

Saturday, Sept. 4
The Migrant's Commute
Many people use I-95 to get to the beach for vacations, while others use it to commute to offices. But I-95 is filled with migrant laborers who work their way up and down I-95, following crops. They pick the peaches in New Jersey, the sweet potatoes in the Carolinas and the strawberries in Florida. Many agribusinesses, as well as our dinner plates, are affected by the laborers who are toiling this Labor Day along I-95. Joel Rose reports.

Sunday, Sept. 5
The Future
What will the road most traveled look like in 50 years? NPR's Tovia Smith investigates what directions the nation's interstates might take in the future - more lanes, double decks, giant conveyor belts moving freight?