Records of the Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis, ca. 1960-1978

Records of the Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis, ca. 1960-1978

Finding Aid

Collection No. 36 (42.5 Linear ft.)
D.C. Community Archives


From the 1950s through the 1970s, various plans were devised by local and federal agencies to build a comprehensive urban expressway system to link D.C. to the national interstate highway system. The Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis (ECTC) grew out of the efforts of residents in northeast Washington, D.C. and Maryland who in the 1960s began working to prevent government confiscation of homes in their neighborhoods in the path of the freeway.

ECTC was particularly active in lobbying public officials and testifying at hearings to prevent the building of the North Central Freeway through the District and before Congress to curtail funding for highway construction. Through its local organizing efforts, ECTC eventually spurred the formation of the National Coalition on the Transportation Crisis, which coordinated similar grassroots movements throughout the nation. 

As a grassroots organization, ECTC relied heavily on public demonstrations, rallies and meetings to gain support for its cause in the late 1960s. In particular, ECTC was involved in a prolonged demonstration and sit-in at the construction site of the Three Sisters Bridge, held rallies to protest confiscation of homes in Brookland, and picketed Mayor Walter Washington's home in opposition to support of freeway construction. ECTC was interested in a number of related issues such as urban planning, environmental issues, home rule, D.C. statehood, and good race relations.  It also strongly supported a metrorail system as an alternative to freeways.

Eventually the Southwest/Southeast Freeway, the 14th Street Bridge, and Anacostia Freeway were the only highways built in D.C. that directly linked to I-95. The Capital Beltway and Metrorail rather than freeways have became the primary mode of transportation for most D.C. metro area residents.        


Angela Rooney donated the records to the D.C. Community Archives in the 1990s. Mrs. Rooney along with her husband, Thomas Rooney, were key leaders in ECTC in the late 1960s.  

Processing Procedures

General processing procedures consisted of discarding unnecessary binders and routine transmittals. Duplicates of more than three have been removed. Oversized documents and photographs were removed from the original location in their assigned series and placed in separate containers. A list of oversized documents appears separately in the finding aid. Separation sheets were inserted in the original location within the folder to indicate the new location of any records placed elsewhere.

Preservation copying of newspaper clippings was performed whenever feasible (photocopying of clippings is still in progress). Records in folders were arranged, unless otherwise indicated, in forward chronological order, with undated records appearing at the end of the folder.

Scope and Content Note

The records consists of 42.5 linear feet of correspondence, clippings, government reports, legislative testimony, hearing transcripts, litigation, flyers, posters, cartographic materials, picket signs, press releases, and printed matter. Significant topics covered in the records include the fight to stop the construction of the Seven Sisters Bridge, I-66, I-95, the North Central Freeway, and the fight to save 69 government-confiscated homes in Northeast Washington, D.C.

The records contain a substantial volume of cartographic materials and because of the activist nature of ECTC, the records also include a large quantity of picket signs and flyers created by its members, particularly the artistic Sam Abbott. Information about or from other local and national grassroots organizations involved in efforts to halt freeway construction appears in the records. A sample of these organizations include: the National Committee on the Transportation Crisis, the Upper North East Coordinating Council, Brookland Civic Association, and the Catholic Interracial Council. 

Clippings cover D.C. and other urban areas working to block the constructions of freeways.  Articles and other writings in the records are about not only the interstate highway system and urban transportation but also such issues as civil rights, urban renewal, and the environment. 

Series Descriptions

Series I: Alphabetical Files, 8 linear ft. (1960-1978)

This series contains alphabetically arranged topical files that document ECTC's activities as well as those of other related organizations. The records were primarily maintained by Anne and Fred Huette -- Corresponding Secretary, and Vice Chair of ECTC, respectively; and Angela and Thomas Rooney -- Executive Secretary, and Associate Executive Secretary of ECTC, respectively. In order to maintain the original order, this series has been further arranged into subseries by the persons who maintained the records.    
  • Subseries 1:  Rooney Files, 2.5 linear ft. (1965-1975)  The files contain address lists, correspondence, publications, flyers, notes, and correspondence related to civic organizations in northeast Washington such as the Brookland Civic Association, Brookland Area Coordinating Council, and the Catholic Interracial Council.  Reports from various governmental agencies, including the D.C. Office of Planning and Management, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the D.C. Department of Transportation appear in the files.  Other file topics include parking in D.C., pollution, D.C. buses, home rule, housing, and zoning.  Interfiled among the records are also a number of news clippings on the topics.
  • Subseries 2: Huette Files, 5.5 linear ft. (1968-1978)  This series includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, meeting minutes, clippings, and press releases related to the activities of ECTC and similar local organizations throughout the country. Of particular significance are records of the National Committee on the Transportation Crisis, the national organization that grew out of local freeway fights. Files cover the work of organizations in cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Phoenix.  Other topics and organizations found in the series include the Citizens Planning Coalition of D.C., the Brookland Area Coordinating Council, the Washington Planning Council, the Washington Lay Association, and the Upper Northeast Coordinating Council.     

Series II: Correspondence, 1 linear ft. (1964-1980)

Much of the correspondence in this series is between members of ECTC and local politicians about highway legislation.   Correspondents include public officials such as Walter Washington, Sen. Joe Tydings, President Lyndon Johnson, Sen. Paul Sarbanes, and Walter Tobriner, President of the Board of D.C. Commissioners (1964). The series also contains some reports, clippings, and legislative materials related to the correspondence. The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Series III:  Chronological, 1.25 linear ft. (1965-1974)

This series consists of a group of items that had no apparent arrangement nor fit in other series before processing. The materials were arranged chronologically to form this series. The series includes correspondence, reports, clippings, legislative testimony and bills, handwritten notes, newsletters, articles, and flyers.    

Series IV: Legislative Materials, 4 linear ft. (1965-1975)

This series consists of testimony, statements, witness lists, and other background materials regarding hearings on highway construction before the D.C. City Council, D.C. Department of Highways and Traffic (DCDH), and U.S. Congressional Committees. Of particular significance are materials regarding hearings before the City Council on the Interstate Highway System (1967-1968), the DCDH (1965) on the North Central Freeway, and the House Committee on D.C. in the late 1960s on such issues as federal payment for highway funding and rapid rail transit. Copies of federal highway legislation in the Federal Register and Congressional Record are also included. Folders are arranged alphabetically by title.  

Series V: Printed Matter, 2 linear ft. (1967-1981)

Printed matter including pamphlets, journal articles, government publications, newsletters, and legislative materials on topics of interest to ECTC is contained in this series. Samples of journals represented include: Argus, Commonweal Papers, Engineering Opportunities, Environmental Science & Technology, and the New Republic.  Publications of the National Capital Planning Commission, D.C. Government, Federal Water Pollution Control Administration, and the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission are organizations prominently represented. Materials are arranged alphabetically first by journal title (if applicable), otherwise by author (if known), or title of article.

Series VI:  Clippings and Press Materials, 1 linear ft. (1968-1979)

This series contains clippings, press releases, and related legislative items which focus primarily on freeway construction and transportation issues in the nation. Clippings are not arranged. Press releases and related materials are arranged chronologically after the clippings.  

Series VII:  Flyers, .50 linear ft. (1969-1973; 1987-89)

This series contains flyers about rallies, demonstrations, meetings, and lobbying activities sponsored by ECTC and other organizations involved in the Washington metro area freeway fight. Of significance are flyers about the fight to save the Three Sisters Bridge, rallies to protest government-confiscated homes on 10th and Franklin streets, NE, and public events expressing opposition to the North-Central Freeway. Other flyers cover issues about which ECTC was interested, including the environment, statehood, home rule, poverty, and racial discrimination.

Series VIII: Membership, .75 linear ft. (1967; n.d.)

Included in this series is a guest book of signatures from an unidentified ECTC event, blank membership cards for the Brookland Neighborhood Association (1967), and 3x5 cards with handwritten information on activist organizations of interest to ECTC.

Series IX: Photographs and Memorabilia, .50 linear ft. (1968-1979)

The few photographs appearing in this collection are contained in this series. The series also contains ECTC's bumper sticker "Save Don't Pave," a statehood flag, and other memorabilia.

Series X: Architectural Drawings and Maps, 13.50 linear ft. (1967-1974)

This series contains 64 maps, scaled drawings, sketches, and site plans of the Washington area. In particular, a number of draft and final site plans and sketches of the Brookland, Takoma, Ft. Totten, and Rhode Island Avenue Metro stations are in this series. Other items of interest include a D.C. Department of Highways major highways project map, preliminary master plans, and various maps of the North Central Freeway. The drawings and maps are numbered sequentially. An index attached to this finding aid lists the sequentially numbered items in alphabetical order for reference.

Series XI: Picket Signs and Posters, 10 linear ft. (n.d.)

This series contains primarily picket signs created by ECTC members and others to protest freeway construction in the Washington metro area. Sam Abbott was the creator of many of the more clever and artistic cartoons and caricatures on the signs. Also included are a few posters and what appear to be handwritten flip chart sheets from workshops and meetings.

Series XII:  Charts and Graphs, 4 containers and 1 oversized folder (ca. 1960s)

Contains tables, charts, and graphs drawn on oversized tablets what appear to be from flip charts used for workshops or educational sessions on freeway issues in D.C.   

Box Inventory

Series I: Alphabetical Files

Subseries 1: Rooney Files

Box 1       

  • Address Lists, 1966-1968 through Capitol East Gazette Newsnotes, 1969

Box 2

  • Catholic Interracial Council, Addresses, n.d. through D.C. Government, Buses, 1968

Box 3

  • D.C. Highway Department, Transportation Plan, Nov. 25, 1968 through Freeways Correspondence, 1964-1969

Box 4

  • Freeway literature, 1965 through National TB and Respiratory Diseases Association, 1971

Box 5

  • Nader, Ralph, Playboy Interview through Scientists Committee for Public Information, 1968

Box 6

  • Sister's College Property, July 14, 1960 through Zoning, 1975

Subseries 2:  Fred Huette Files

Box 7

  • Air Quality (3 folders), 1968-1975 through Brookland, 12th Street

Box 8

  • Brookland, 69 vacant homes through Brookland metro station, parking, 1969-1971

Box 9

  • Brookland Urban Design, May 1981 through Conference, June 1968

Box 10

  • Citizens for City Living, Article 75, 1973 through Environmental, 1969-1970

Box 11

  • Environmental education, 1978 through Freeway fight, 1968-1970

Box 12

  • Hamburger Verkehsverbund, 1971 through Metro, General, 1969-1971

Box 13

  • Metro, General, 1972 through National Committee on the Transportation Crisis, Boston Area, 1969

Box 14

  • National Committee on the Transportation Crisis (NCTC), Clippings, 1969-1971 (3 folders) through NCTC, 1970

Box 15

  • NCTC, 1971-1972 through Newsletter, August 1968

Box 16

  • New York, 1968-1975 through Pittsburgh, October 1968

Box 17

  • Planning (2 folders), 1969-1975 through Statehood Party

Box 18

  • Testimony, 1967-1970 through Upper Northeast Coordinating Council, (UNECC), urban design study, ca. 1981

Box 19

  • UNECC, 1973 through Washington, D.C., 1968

Box 20

  • Washington, D.C., 1970 through Zoning, 1970

Series II: Correspondence

Box 21

  • Correspondence, 1964 through 1970

Box 22

  • Correspondence 1971 through 1980

Series III: Chronological

Box 23

  • 1965 through February 1969

Box 24

  • March 1969 through December 1971 

Box 25

  • January 1972 through 1974

Series IV:  Legislative Materials

Box 26

  • Congressional Record, 1968 through 1973 (4 folders)
  • D.C. Freeway hearings, 1967 through 1968 (3 folders)
  • Federal highway legislation, 1965 through 1970  (2 folders)
  • Federal Register, Federal Highway Administration Public Hearings Notice, Oct. 23, 1968

Box 27

  • Hearings, House Committee on D.C., 1965 through 1971 (4 folders)

Box 28

  • Hearings, House Committee on Public Works, "Major Highway Problems in D.C.", Dec. 5-6, 1967
  • Hearing Report, House Subcommittee on Appropriations for Highways, 1970
  • Hearings, Senate Committee on D.C., 1965-1969 (3 folders)
  • Hearings, Senate Committee on the Interior, Alternative Long-
  • Range Energy Strategies, 1976

Box 29

  • North-Central Freeway in D.C., and Montgomery and Prince Georges counties, Maryland, Feb. 4, 1965  (3 folders)
  • Testimony, Freeways, 1965-1967

Box 30

  • Testimony, Freeways, 1967 through 1973 (3 folders)
  • Testimony, Freeway, undated

Series V: Printed Matter

Box 31

  • Americans for Democratic Action, Greater Washington Chapter, "20th Annual Roosevelt Day Dinner," ca. 1970
  • "An Evening to Honor Julius Hobson," Nov. 14, 1972
  • Argus,"Freeway Pollution: Capital Punishment," May 1970
  • Army Corps of Engineers, "Metropolitan Washington Area Water Supply Study for the Potomac Water Users," August 1979
  • "Atlanta Votes Yes on Rapid Transit," 1972
  • Autofacts Publications, "People vs. Cars: The Rising Resentment of  Against the Automobile," 1970
  • Citizens' Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality, "Report to the President and to the Council on Environmental Quality," April 1972
  • Citizens' Advisory Committee on Transportation Quality, "A Report to the Secretary of Transportation," September 1970
  • Commonweal Papers 1, "God," Feb. 10, 1967
  • Commonweal Papers 2, "Jesus," 1967
  • Committee on Urban Transportation, "Freeways and Our City," ca. 1965
  • Committee to Save Long Island Council Petition, 1971
  • D.C. Government [publications], 1970 through 1981 (4 folders)        

Box 32

  • D.C. Government [publications], 6 folders, 1968 through 1981
  • Engineering Opportunities," Are we Beginning to End Pollution?" 1969
  • Environmental Action, "Freeways-Tearing Up Cities," October 1970
  • Environmental Science and Technology, "Environmental Problems Have Little Respect for Political Boundaries," May 2, 1968
  • Environmental Protection Agency, "Environmental Directory: Region III," 1970
  • Envoy, "Students Design for Community," September 1981
  • Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1966 (P.L. 89-574), September 13, 1966
  • Federal Water Pollution Control Administration, 1966 through 1969  (3 folders)
  • Greater Stockholm, 1972
  • GW Times, "Images of Brookland," by Libby Hoffman
  • Hard Times, "Screeching Halt: U.S. Pulls Out of Pollution War," by James Ridgway
  • Hobson, Julius, "The Damned Information," 1971

Box 33

  • Kennan, Robert, "A Brief History of the Freeway Crisis," June 12, 1967
  • Konstnarigutsmyckning i Stockholms, 1965
  • Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Preliminary and Master Plans of Highways," 1967 (2 folders)
  • Metromedia TV, "1985: A News Dramatization," 1985
  • Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments [publications], 1970-1974 (2     folders)
  • Muskegon County Wastewater Management System, 1971
  • National Air Pollution Control Administration, "Community Support Bulletins," 1970
  • National Capital Planning Commission [publications], 1967-1968 and 1975-1976 (5 folders)
  • National Capitol Redevelopment Agency, "Ft. Lincoln Urban Renewal Area," August 30, 1967
  • Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. Newsletters, Spring, 1971
  • National Sciences Foundation, "Information, Perception and Regional Policy," 1975
  • The New Republic, "Black Control of Cities," September 30, 1967
  • ----------------, "Washington: The Lost City"
  • ----------------, "Washington: The Lost Colony," April 1966
  • Penchey, Paul, et al, Catholic University, "Community Perceptions and Metropolitan Dynamics in an Urban Locality," 1971
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, "A New Highway is Born," n.d.
  • Preliminary Operating Assumptions and Design Criteria for the Downtown Design and Development Study," September, 1970
  • "Public Transportation in Highway Decisions," Congressional Record, May 25, 1972
  • Railroad Electrification, Vol. 3, 1970

Box 34

  • Rooney, Angela, "Freeways Urban Invaders,” October 1971
  • Scientific American, Letters to the editor, September 1969
  • Smithsonian, To stop highways some citizens take to the streets, April 1972
  • Tekniska Hogskolan, 1973
  • Transportation Planning in D.C., 1955-1965, March 1966
  • Urban Design and Development Corporation, "Georgetown Waterfront Feasibility Study,"     December 1970
  • Urbanaction, "Urban Transportation Crisis," Spring, 1970
  • U.S. Catholic & Jubilee, January 1969
  • U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, "The Civil Rights Implications of Suburban Freeway     Construction," August, 1970
  • U.S. Comptroller General "Problems Associated With Location and Design of Segments of the     Interstate Highway System in Major Metropolitan Areas," August, 1967
  • U.S. Congress, "Our American Government," 1969
  • U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, "Report for Consultation on the D.C. National Capital Interstate Air Quality Control Region," July 1968
  • Victor Gruen Associates, "Anacostia Urban Code," October 1967
  • Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, "Metro Memo," 1971-1975 (3 folders)  
  • ------------, "Notice of Metrobus Public Hearing," Nos. 32-38, 1974-1975

Box 35

  • Printed Materials, General, 1960-1970 (2 folders)

Series VI:  Clippings

Box 36

  • Clippings (7 folders)

Box 37

  • Clippings (3 folders) 

Box 38

  • Clippings (4 folders) 

Box 39

  • Loose Clippings

Box 40

  • Press releases and legislative materials, 1965-1971 (14 folders)

Series VII: Flyers

Box 41

  • Flyers, 1969-1973 (6 folders)
  • Flyers, n.d.
  • Flyers, Statehood, 1987-1989

Series VIII: Membership

Box 42

  • Attendance lists, n.d.
  • Blank Brookland Neighborhood Association membership cards, 1967

Box 43

  • Organizational information cards [n.d.]

Series IX: Photographs and Memorabilia

Box 44

  • Negative for “White Men’s Roads Thru Black Man’s Homes” poster
  • Photographs, ca. 1968-1979 (5 folders)
  • Photographs, [n.d.]
  • Kenneth Kennedy memorial program, 1974
  • Bumper stickers, n.d.
  • Letterhead, n.d.
  • Martin Luther King Memorial Arts Festival pin, n.d.
  • Statehood flag, n.d.
  • Oversized documents (removed from other series)

Box 45

  • "Arlington Coalition on Transportation," February 1972
  • "Arlington Freeway and Parkway Routes, n.d.
  • "Initiative Measure No. 274 blank petition: Reduce [Washington] State Gas Tax," July 1972
  • "Transportation Alternative Study," n.d.
  • Fortune, "How the Interstate Changed The Fact of the Nation" by Juan Cameron," July 1971
  • National Capital Planning Commission, "Shoreline Acquisition and Development Policies and     Programs," February, 1976

Series X:  Architectural Drawings and Maps

Box 46, Map Case & Shelf

  • No. 36: Brookland Area Coordinating Council, 1985 proposal - 1967
  • No. 11: Brookland Station sketch (by WMATA) - 1972
  • No. 23: Brookland Station, scaled drawing - n.d.
  • No. 31: Brookland Station, General Plans, "Working Paper" (by H. Weese, et al.); Brookland Station, General Plans, Preliminary (by H. Weese, et al.)  - 1972
  • No. 17: Brookland & Ft. Totten Metro Area Site Plan (by Kronstadt, et al.) - n.d.       
  • No. 32: Brookland Station, Redesign Concept - 1972
  • No. 33: Brookland Station, Redesign Study-System 4 - n.d.
  • No. 37: Catholic University area scaled drawing - n.d.
  • No. 6: Comprehensive Plan for the National Capitol area, General Land Use Objectives: 1970/1985 - 1970
  • No. 65: Daily Traffic Flow on Selected Hwys. in Maryland & Washington Regional District map - 1965
  • No. 38: D.C. freeway parking routes - n.d
  • No. 29: D.C. Dept. of Hwys Major Hwy. projects map - 1967     
  • No. 52: D.C. Dept. of Hwys., Restudy of Freeway System - 1971
  • No. 63: Poster-Freeway Cancer Hits D.C. North Central Freeway - n.d.
  • No. 45: D.C. Hospital Center & Veterans Hospital, utility, water & sewer plans - n.d.
  • No. 51: D.C. Office of Planning, plat Map w/freeway construction outline - 1973
  • No. 7: Ft. Totten area drawing - n.d.
  • No. 10: Ft. Totten Metro sketch - n.d.
  • No. 61: Ft. Totten Metro scaled drawing - 1971
  • No. 63: “Freeway Cancer Hits D.C.” Poster - n.d.
  • No. 13: General Land Use Objectives Map 1967/1985 - 1967
  • No. 47: The Heights, Floor Plans - 1978    
  • No. 44: The Heights, Varnum & Taylor Streets - n.d.
  • No. 3: Major Transportation Plan - 1968
  • No. 55: Marist Seminary, Prelim. grading & topographic survey (2 drawings) - 1974
  • No. 1: Mass Transportation Plan - 1968
  • No. 8: Michigan Ave. Station sketch (by METRO) - n.d.
  • No. 24: Michigan Ave. Station scaled drawing (by D.C. DOT) - n.d.
  • No. 25: Michigan Ave. Station scaled drawing(by D.C. DOT) - n.d.
  • No. 9: Michigan Ave. Station, "Working Plan," (by Metro) - 1969   
  • No. 48: Michigan Avenue Metro depressed tracks (1 of 2) - 1971
  • No. 49: Michigan Avenue Metro depressed tracks (2 of 2) - 1971
  • No. 39: Metro system map - 1970
  • No. 15: "Metro minutes station to station" chart - n.d.
  • No. 59: NCPC freeway map - n.d.
  • No. 40: North central freeway plat map - n.d.
  • No. 30: North central freeway D.C. and Montgomery counties - 1967
  • No. 62: North central freeway Supp. Study, D.C. and Montgomery Counties - n.d.
  • No. 54: Preliminary Master Plan, Washington Metro Area - 1967
  • No. 60: Preliminary Master Plan of Hwys, Montgomery Cty. - 1967
  • No. 56: Preliminary Master Plan of Hwys., P.G. County - 1967
  • No. 12: Problem objectives diagram 1, 1967/1985, w/public involvement program priorities key - 1967
  • No. 27: Rapid rail transit map, modified (by NCTA, Office of Planning) - n.d.
  • No. 28: Rapid rail transit map, proposed (by WMATA) - 1967
  • No. 2: Recommended Freeway and Parkway - 1968
  • No. 49: R.I. Avenue Station - 1971
  • No. 26: R.I. Ave. Station, Central Freeway - n.d.  
  • No. 5: R.I. Ave. Station, scaled drawing - 1971   
  • No. 58: R.I. Ave. Station, scaled drawing - 1971
  • No. 35: R.I. Ave. Station diagram - 1971
  • No. 34: R.I. Ave. Station diagram - n.d.
  • No. 20: Scaled drawing of roads - n.d.
  • No. 41: Summary comparison of alternatives - 1971   
  • No. 42: Summary of Recommended Corridor Design Concepts - 1971
  • No. 22: Takoma Park Metro sketch - 1971
  • No. 22a: Takoma Park Metro sketch (with colored markings) - 1971
  • No. 53: Takoma Park Metro scaled drawing - 1971
  • No. 4: Takoma Park Metro area sketch - n.d.
  • No. 18: Taylor and Hawaii Sts. commercial study (for Horning Brothers) - 1978
  • No. 19: Taylor and Hawaii Sts. drawing of convenience stores (for Horning Brothers) - n.d.
  • No. 57: Taylor tract site plan - 1974
  • No. 14: Transportation diagram 2: 1967/1985 - 1967     
  • No. 43: Trinity College Plans - n.d.
  • No. 21: Trinity College Phasing Plan - 1978
  • No. 16: UNECC map of homes & road construction - n.d.
  • No. 66: White Men’s Roads Thru Black Men’s Homes Poster with map - 1969
  • No. 64: WMATA, regional metro system adopted - 1968

Series XI: Posters and Picket Signs

  • Map Case
  • Posters, 3 folders, n.d.
  • Picket signs, 8 folders, n.d.

Series XII:  Charts and graphs

  • #1 in map case
  • Shelf
  • Flip chart sheets and picket signs, 4 containers,  n.d.


Prepared by Faye Haskins in September 1998

DC Public Library, Special Collections
D.C. Community Archives

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