Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Ohio Moments

State has miles to go in converting to metric

One of the first of the miles/kilometers signs went up on Interstate 71 in 1973.

On Feb. 12, 1973, four metric road signs, the first in the United States, were erected along Interstate 71 in Ohio. The new signs showed the distance in both miles and kilometers between Columbus and Cincinnati, and Columbus and Cleveland. As early as 1790, Thomas Jefferson had proposed a decimal-based measurement system, similar to the metric system. Nothing was done. In 1968 a study was ordered by Congress. And in 1971, a report recommended a switch to the metric system and established a 10-year target time to accomplish it. The recommendation led to a National Metric Conference in 1973 - and prompted Ohio to begin converting highway signs the same year. The Metric Conversion Act, passed by Congress in 1975, planned a voluntary conversion to the metric system. Progress since then can be measured in, well, inches.

Rebecca Goodman

Ohio Moments will appear here daily during 2003. Have a suggestion? Contact Rebecca Goodman at or (513) 768-8361.

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