You learn something every day

In this case, about the history of the LA freeways. Recently I mentioned the I-10 / I-405 interchange in west Los Angeles, familiar to many headed to LAX --especially before the completion of the Century Freeway, I-105, in the 1990s.

From reader BF, now living in Pennsylvania, this recollection of that very interchange:

I wanted to pass on two things. First, that during the decade I was navigating the freeways in LA, the soaring transition from the Santa Monica Freeway west to the San Diego Freeway south was always the high point. The designer of that interchange launched your car into the sky, banked it over 8 (10?) lanes and landed it full speed in the southbound lane.

Second, is that the designer, Marilyn Jorgenson Reece, was the first female civil engineer licensed in California. This link describes the dedication ceremony when CalTrans named the interchange for her. [Link is here.]

Here, from the linked CalTrans website, is Marilyn Reese as she looked during construction; below, a clearer sense of the design she had in mind.

The designer:

Her work:

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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