Friday, October 15, 2004

Mock-up of the Finished Project Truck (click pic to enlarge)

THE ORIGINAL PAINT SCHEME: Although this yellow was not a stock Dodge color offered in 1937, the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) custom ordered this color. It was no doubt selected for its high visibility (BPR research that led to the color of our current roadside warning signs fostered the selection of this unusual original truck color in 1937).

At that time, the BPR was surveying and building rural highways between major US cities. However, the BPR also built roads in our national parks in partnership with the US National Park Service; these were Depression era WPA projects. for example, in Yosemite National Park, the Wawona Tunnel project was completed in 1936 and the the Glacier Point road project was surveyed in 1937.

This Dodge Panel Truck was likely used for "location projects" by "levelers" and the field "materials lab" since they carried surveying equipment that needed to be protected from the weather. Other uses would include "traffic studies" and related types of R&D work. The BPR evolved into today's Federal Highway Administration under the Department of Transportaion (DOT). Today's DOT website refers to the BPR's use of mid-1930's Dodge trucks because of the truck's "dependability" in the rugged mountain terrain of the western Sierra Range.