BISMARCK (Terri Wilhelm, NDDOT) – The North Dakota Highway Hall of Honor, which has inducted 48 North Dakota men and women since its establishment in 1974, will add two new members on May 11. Receiving the award posthumously this year are John Windish of Fingal, N.D. and Clifford Johnson of Bismarck, N.D.
The Highway Hall of Honor induction banquet will be held Friday, May 11, with 6:30 p.m. social and dinner at 7:00 p.m. at the Bismarck Municipal Country Club, 930 North Griffin Street, Bismarck. Tickets are $25 each and are available until Friday April 27, by calling Laurie Martin at the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), at 701-328-2584. Tickets available after April 27 based on availability ONLY.
The Highway Hall of Honor recognizes those who have improved the state highway system or a regional highway system or have used their influence as members of national or regional organizations to improve our highway system’s effectiveness or safety. The Highway Hall of Honor Committee is comprised of representatives for highway contractors, city and county organizations, motor carriers, and NDDOT. The 2018 inductees are John Windish and Clifford Johnson.
John Paul Windish — John first began working in the highway field in 1948, only 30 years from the official beginning of the Department of Transportation in North Dakota and still six years to completion of the Interstate System.
John’s career at Barnes County Highway Department encompassed an era of tremendous growth in the highway system for both Barnes County and the State of North Dakota. Through his tenure, he held many positions including laborer, equipment operator, mechanic, and snow plow operator to a list a few. There wasn’t a task, job, or assignment that needed to be done that John could not or would not complete. John was instrumental in the construction of roadways that would eventually become the paved farm to market roads throughout Barnes County. In 1970, John was appointed Barnes county Road superintendent, a position he held until his retirement in 1998. By the end of his career, the state and local highway systems were virtually complete, with little change occurring in the years since. John was proud to have served the public those many years. He always gave credit for his success to Charlene Windish, his office manager and wife.
Clifford Johnson — Clifford came to be known as “the first of the big bridge builders” in North Dakota. Clifford served as Bridge Engineer for the then North Dakota State Highway Department from 1924 to 1945. He resigned in 1945 to become chief design engineer with Crocker and Ryan Consulting Engineers in Denver, Colorado, and went on to start his own engineering consulting firm, Johnson and Associates, in Denver in 1950. His engineering consulting firm designed the Grant Marsh Bridge located on the Missouri River at Bismarck.
Clifford was credited with connecting North Dakota by designing bridges spanning the Missouri River, and connecting Minnesota and North Dakota by designing bridges spanning the Red River. Some of his unique design concepts are still incorporated in modern-day structures throughout North Dakota. Clifford Johnson was one of the Pioneers of the NDDOT. He led the Department in the development of bridges and underpasses that would make safer the movement of people and goods. Clifford’s life and career was exemplary.
The North Dakota Highway Hall of Honor was created to recognize those who have had a major role and made a lasting and valuable contribution to the development of the highway system on the state, county, or local level. It also honors those who work on vital functions our roads provide to our state and its citizens.