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jthrasher

131/196 interchange

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Let's talk about this interchange.  Can anything ever be done to fix it or are we stuck with it because the headaches and cost it would cause to redo it?  It's just one big giant mess and it's only going to get worse as the city grows. 

 

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I've thought about this quite a bit, and I can see no way that it can ever be redone and still not be the tangled mess in the middle of town that it is. We wont be able to bury it, and removing it is also not an option without some serious money.

The only hope would be to possibly find some way to integrate buildings into parts of it to try to break up the monotonous look of it like these examples in Japan

 

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XktDdrdXvAA/UFdkfEbhCgI/AAAAAAAAbGQ/-fY47Vq7oy0/s640/Umeda+Exit+Ikeda+Route+Hanshin+Expressway+Osaka+Japan+building+with+a+highway+through+it+3.jpg

Post+office+1.jpg

 

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I know it would cost a fortune but I think we have other options than integrating buildings.  There is a lot of space to work with if you straighten 131 so it doesn't cross itself twice.    

 

I think a tighter version of these might be possible.   I just would love to see 131 not cross itself and also get rid of the left lane entrances.  The left lane entrances is what slows everything down because there are right lane entrances at the same point so nobody can change lanes to let incoming traffic merge.  

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Edited by jthrasher
adding text and photo

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What I notice in the morning is that heading east on 196, the ramp on the left gets its own lane for a mile or so while everyone has to quickly merge from the right ramp before they get forced onto the Ottawa ramp.

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What I notice in the morning is that heading east on 196, the ramp on the left gets its own lane for a mile or so while everyone has to quickly merge from the right ramp before they get forced onto the Ottawa ramp.

It was designed when speed limits were probably 55. Plus, that ramp on the left has a solid black line for about a mile because you're not supposed to cut all the way across to get off at Ottawa, even though people do it anyway. 

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I've always thought that 196 between college (to a greater extent Ottawa/Ionia) and 131 was not a particularly useful stretch of freeway. Most of the people going to and from downtown can get there without that stretch. People who are passing through the metro area would just take M6 or 96. Certainly there is a lot of land there that could be sold to offset the cost of removal and extension of surface streets.  That would definitely solve the large exchange problem. 

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I've always thought that 196 between college (to a greater extent Ottawa/Ionia) and 131 was not a particularly useful stretch of freeway. Most of the people going to and from downtown can get there without that stretch. People who are passing through the metro area would just take M6 or 96. Certainly there is a lot of land there that could be sold to offset the cost of removal and extension of surface streets.  That would definitely solve the large exchange problem. 

My wife and I use that stretch all the time to go to work, woodland, medical mile, doctor visits, cascade side of 28th, the airport, etc. It is very useful to us and others who live or work on the near west side. 

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The freeway could still be accessible. You would just have to drive a mile or so to get to it. 196 doesn't really go by woodland mall. You could very easily take 131 to 28thbstreet and it would be about the same distance. Presumable you would still have an Exit at the 131/196 interchange which is only about a half mile from the medical mile. I think the need for the connection between college and 131 is necessary for very few.  Between Ottawa and 131, even fewer. That land is very valuable though and the freeway reperesnts a large obstacle to integrating Monroe north and downtown. 

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The freeway could still be accessible. You would just have to drive a mile or so to get to it. 196 doesn't really go by woodland mall. You could very easily take 131 to 28thbstreet and it would be about the same distance. Presumable you would still have an Exit at the 131/196 interchange which is only about a half mile from the medical mile. I think the need for the connection between college and 131 is necessary for very few.  Between Ottawa and 131, even fewer. That land is very valuable though and the freeway reperesnts a large obstacle to integrating Monroe north and downtown. 

 

Perhaps I am misinterpreting what you mean by "very few", but that stretch of freeway between College and 131 has a volume of 84,000 cars on average in 2013.  I can guarantee that it's even busier now as downtowns daytime and fulltime population continues to surge.  That makes it busier than almost any freeway section in the state outside of Metro Detroit.  I think cutting it out and forcing people down already overloaded 28th St would be a terrible solution.  Not to mention the burden of forcing 20-30k more cars through the S-curve and downtowns other interchanges, especially as traffic in the area only continues to compound. 

2013 Average daily traffic MDOT

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Edited by MJLO
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The way the interchange itself is designed is about the best possible solution.  There are relatively few of these designs built anywhere because of the cost of the bridgework.  Even today, it would still be considered a fairly advanced design, with a number of variants of it recently coming back into vogue.  131 crosses over itself in order to facilitate having on/off ramps for local streets along with a complete interchange in the smallest amount of space possible. It does not need to be "fixed".  For the traffic volume and the available space, it works remarkably well.

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The way the interchange itself is designed is about the best possible solution.  There are relatively few of these designs built anywhere because of the cost of the bridgework.  Even today, it would still be considered a fairly advanced design, with a number of variants of it recently coming back into vogue.  131 crosses over itself in order to facilitate having on/off ramps for local streets along with a complete interchange in the smallest amount of space possible. It does not need to be "fixed".  For the traffic volume and the available space, it works remarkably well.

Agreed, I think the criss-cross is what allows it be as narrow as it is.

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  I believe this is really the only option isn't it?.  A standard 4 level stack interchange would never fit.

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  I believe this is really the only option isn't it?.  A standard 4 level stack interchange would never fit.

It is.  It is essentially the separated grade version of a double crossing diamond (or diverging diamond) interchange which is the hottest new thing for on/off ramp interchanges.  Everything old is new again...  While some of the lanes are a bit narrow, from a technical perspective, this design even at grade with stoplights uses the least possible space with the highest possible carrying capacity and the lowest number of accidents and problems.  Probably why they are installing one at Cascade/196.

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I still feel the area of 131 south of the interchange is best done by elevating both directions above Scribner & Mount Vernon, opening up the space between for development to mitigate the distance between active areas within the city.

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