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Federal Laws, Regulations,

and Other Material
Relating to Highways

Through August 1960

Compiled by

Bureau of Public Roads

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office

Washington 25, D.C. • Price $1




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The Bureau of Public Roads was created as the Office of Road Inquiry under authority of the Agricultural Appropriation Act of 1894. The Federal-Aid Road Act of July 11, 1916 (39 Stat. 355) initiated Federal aid for highways to be administered by the Secretary of Agriculture who functioned through the Office of Public Roads and Rural Engineering, and after July 1, 1918, as the Bureau of Public Roads. This authority was continued by the Federal Highway Act of November 9, 1921 (42 Stat. 212). Under the reorganization effected July 1, 1939, the Bureau was transferred to the Federal Works Agency and the name changed to Public Roads Administration. On August 20, 1949, Reorganization Plan VII of 1949 transferred the organization to the Department of Commerce and changed its name back to the Bureau of Public Roads.

The Bureau, at the direction of the Secretary of Commerce, carries out the responsibilities and authority of the Secretary with respect to Federal and Federal-aid highway construction, administration and research, more specifically described in

provisions of title 23, United States Code, entitled “Highways.

The Bureau is under the direction of the Federal Highway Administrator, assisted by the Commissioner of Public Roads. The headquarters office in Washington, D.C., is composed of an Office of Engineering, Office of Operations, Office of Administration, Office of Research, and the Office of the General Counsel. In the field, regional and division offices discharge the responsibilities of Public Roads at local level. Division offices are located in all States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These divisions are grouped into eleven regions. The State of Alaska comprises an entire region.

The Bureau administers Federal legislation providing for the improvement, in cooperation with the several States, of roads on the Federal-aid primary, secondary, and interstate highway systems and urban extensions thereof; for the survey and construction, in cooperation with the Forest Service, of roads on the forest highway system; for the survey and construction, in cooperation with the Central American Republics, of the InterAmerican Highway and for other programs as authorized.

As the principal road-building agency of the Federal Government, Public Roads cooperates with the United States Forest Service, the National Park Service, and other Federal agencies in the construction of roads in national forests, parks, and other Federal areas. In cooperation with the Department of State and other Federal agencies, the Bureau provides assistance and advice to foreign governments in various phases of highway engineering and administration.

Public Roads conducts a program of research on all phases of highway improvement and highway transport as a basis for the development of progressive highway engineering and administrative practices.

Table of Contents





Public Law 85-767, To revise, codify, and enact into law, title 23

of the United States Code, entitled “Highways”.

Federal highway laws not repealed in the enactment of 23 U.S.C.,

including the Highway Revenue Act, and authorization acts

and subsequent enactments..

Other highway legislation (reference list).


Regulations for the Administration of Federal-Aid for Highways.

Rules and Regulations for Administering Forest Highways...

Regulations for Administering National Park Roads and Trails -

Rules and Regulations for Administering Indian Roads.

Geometric Design Standards for the Interstate and Defense


National Standards for Regulation by States of Outdoor Adver-

tising for the Interstate System.-


General Bridge Act of 1906, 33 U.S.C. 491-498.--.

Alteration of Bridges (Truman-Hobbs Act), 33 U.S.C. 511-524.

The General Bridge Act of 1946, 33 U.S.C. 525–533.

Selected legislation relating to specific bridges (reference list) -


18 U.S.C., Crimes and Criminal Procedure:

Sec. 874, “Anti-Kickback Act”.

31 U.S.C., Money and Finance:

Sec. 203, Assignment of claims; set-off against assignee..

Sec. 665, Appropriations—Expenditures or contract obliga-

tions in excess of funds prohibited.-

Sec. 686, Authorization for Federal agencies to perform cer-

tain services and furnish supplies and materials for other

Federal agencies.---

40 U.S.C., Public Buildings, Property, and Works:

Sec. 270 a-d, Act providing for contracts to be accom-

panied by a performance bond.

Sec. 276a 1-5, Davis-Bacon Act”.

Sec. 276c, Regulating “Anti-Kickback Act”.

Sec. 321-326, "Eight-Hour Law".

41 U.S.C., Public Contracts:

Sec. 5, Advertisements for proposals for purchases and con-

tracts for supplies or services for Government Depart-


Sec. 8, Opening bids -

Sec. 10 a-d, "Buy-American Act”, and Executive Order

10582 which deals with the Administration of the Act----

Sec. 11, No contracts or purchases unless authorized under

adequate appropriation --

Sec. 12, No contract to exceed appropriation.

Sec. 14, Restriction on purchase of land.--

Sec. 15, Transfers of contracts; assignment of claims, set-off

against assignee.---

Sec. 23, Orders or contracts for material placed with Govern-

ment-owned establishments deemed obligations.--

Secs. 35–45, “Walsh-Healey Act”.

Sec. 119, Fraudulent claims, vouchers, statements, etc.;


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