On June 29, 1956 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 into law, designating highways for each state to build with federal assistance to create the modern interstate highway system. One year later in 1957 The Ohio’s Department of Highways officially began construction on the 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of the interstate system designated for Ohio in the Federal Aid Highway Act. After one year of interstate construction Ohio was spending more on roadway construction than New York or California, and by 1962 had 684 miles (1,101 km) of interstates open. By the end of the decade, Ohio hit a milestone, with over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) completed.
In 1965 the federal government began to allow new federal funds to be spent on highway beautification projects. The Ohio Department of Highways took a leading role in this national initiative, creating a new Design Services Division to oversee rest areas and landscaping along thousands of miles of state and interstate roadways in Ohio. In an effort to consolidate multiple modes of transportation under one agency, the Ohio Department of Highways officially became the Ohio Department of Transportation in September 1972. In 1984, the Department instituted its first network of tourist information centers at interstate entry points throughout Ohio, managed by Michael A. Massa. Two more milestones were reached during this period, with the full outerbelt (Interstate 270) being completed around Columbus in 1975, as well as Interstate 70 traveling east to west through the heart of Ohio in 1976.