From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2001
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

Fraser Bill Designating FM 604 as ICBM Highway Clears Committee

AUSTIN -- A bill authored by Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, designating a stretch of FM 604 as the Atlas ICBM Highway won unanimous approval today by the Senate Committee on State Affairs.

"Texas has not commemorated the significant contribution of the Convair Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, and its important role during the Cold War as an awesome deterrent weapon system," Fraser said in testimony before the committee. "Hopefully this will help boost tourism in the area, and help preserve the historical value of these sites."

Senate Bill 183 specifically designates the portion of FM 604 that stretches from State Highway 351 in Shackelford County to State Highway 83 in Taylor County, as the Atlas ICBM Highway, and provides for the Texas Department of Transportation to erect signs in accordance with the designation.

Fraser noted that Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene was home to the Strategic Air Command's 578th Strategic Missile Squadron, which operated the region's 12 Atlas launch sites during the height of the Cold War with the former Soviet Union. The sites operated from 1961 to 1965.

FM 604 connects five of the Atlas launch sites, located near Clyde, Denton Valley, Oplin, Law and Bradshaw.

"This is the first time Texas has officially recognized a specific Cold War mission executed in our state," said Larry Sanders, founder of the Atlas ICBM Historical Society.

Fraser noted that the bill also has the backing of the Taylor County Historical Commission, and the commissioner's courts in Callahan, Shackelford and Taylor counties.