dubone

Cap over Belk Freeway (277)

Recommended Posts

I don't know what buyers at ghazi are going to want to walk out of their front door facing uptown cabaret every morning.

Edited by nibletodell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I think uptownliving was talking about a smaller park, just between College and Tryon, whereas the mod was talking about the full park.

By no means am I saying $90-100M is the exact cost--just a 5 minute rough calculation based on current estimates of unit structure cost and my guess at park design/construction costs. Yes, I did roughly account for the lengh from the transit line to Church St with an approximate 350ft width of "bridge" over 277. Maybe it's a little less if you subtract the existing bridges--but not by much.

I imagine the only way you'd get this funded would be through a TIF + some major developer contribution + a big corporate fundraising drive. I can't imagine there are many residents of the city/county that would spend $70-100M on a park/bridge... they'd probably want to spend it on roads or schools first.

If you could get $50M from a TIF, $20M from fundraising, $5M from developers, maybe a smaller $20M bond could cover the rest if it was packaged with other items such as parks, greenways, roads, schools, in other areas of the county.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone else have feedback on the potential cost based on similar projects in the country?

The latest estimates for the Woodall Rodgers Freeway cap/park that would link downtown and uptown Dallas are between $87 - $97 million. It is planned to be four blocks in length covering 8 lanes of traffic, believe that is the same as the Belk minus the separated merging lanes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that the synergy between Trump and Ghazi at least begins to make it thinkable.

Perhaps what could happen, is widening the Tryon or College bridges 40 feet or so. That's not such a daunting feat, and developers might be persuaded to foot a portion of that.

Yeah, it's thinking small. But we did start with the trolley before building light rail. Stir up some support, and maybe in another generation a city leader will champion really doing the cap.

Edited by MZT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So here is the picture of the "Phase I" that people are talking about.

483327659_2ee4db9539_o.jpg

But it is less than 3 acres. While the price for those 3 acres might be able to fit under a $30m threshold, $10m/acre of parkland might be too much, even for the 2012 version of uptown.

I gotta say, you've lost me as a propopent if that is truly the cost. It is a true shame. I'm shocked, actually, that the structural cost of supporting a second story above a freeway is still signicantly more than the cost of land uptown.

It still seems like too perfect a solution to many problems with the area. The erase-277 crowd should be happy with a cap park, the connectivity crowd should be happy with a cap park, the pro- park crowd should obviously be happy with it. But it is still 'futuristic' if it is truly $10m per acre.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, part of the justification is that the city/county plan to eventually cap it. This is the best opportunity to possibly get a portion of it subsidized by the private sector.....if not now, the city/county will pay full price within the next 25 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will the cloverleaf reallignment affect this at all? The changing of the cloverleaf ramps into diamond pattern to fit in the NASCAR HOF? Or is that the intersection that's just out of camera view on the left side of the picture with half a leaf showing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One other thought, since the weight is mostly "dead load" this may not cost as much per square foot as a vehicle bridge, when tossing guesstimates around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One other thought, since the weight is mostly "dead load" this may not cost as much per square foot as a vehicle bridge, when tossing guesstimates around.

I think it will have to actually carry more weight. Dirt weighs a ton, literally. I've seen several different numbers on the weight of dirt but I'll go with the one that's easy to do the math on. Topsoil weighs about 2,500 lbs per cubic yard. This works out to 1,000,000 pounds per acre. Going with the smaller of the projects which is 3 acres gives us 3 million pounds of dirt alone, not counting any trees, bushes, sidewalks, etc. that will be there as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love the plan. Don't know if it's feasible but I like being a town that dreams big.

Did the Grand Canyon visitor's center really need water fountains hand-carved from stone? Hell no, but we were once a country that dreamed big and it made us great. Large civic projects can make a city great to.

I say we do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The latest estimates for the Woodall Rodgers Freeway cap/park that would link downtown and uptown Dallas are between $87 - $97 million. It is planned to be four blocks in length covering 8 lanes of traffic, believe that is the same as the Belk minus the separated merging lanes.

Interesting. :shades:

I think it will have to actually carry more weight. Dirt weighs a ton, literally. I've seen several different numbers on the weight of dirt but I'll go with the one that's easy to do the math on. Topsoil weighs about 2,500 lbs per cubic yard. This works out to 1,000,000 pounds per acre. Going with the smaller of the projects which is 3 acres gives us 3 million pounds of dirt alone, not counting any trees, bushes, sidewalks, etc. that will be there as well.

Yeah. I'm not a structural engineer but I did take some structural courses... in a cap/park you'd almost completely remove the live loads from the equation with no traffic, but the increased weight of soil (dead load) more than makes up for that. I'm surely not an arborist, but I imagine for a significant tree root systems, you'd need a soil depth of at least 5-6 feet. What you have is a combination green roof and mega-highway bridge, and from what I've been told, the large dead loads from the weight of the soil is what prevents most from being built.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. :shades:

but I imagine for a significant tree root systems, you'd need a soil depth of at least 5-6 feet.

So double my estimates to make it 6 million pounds if we go with about 6 feet of dirt. That is, if they want the trees to mature, which Charlotte is known for. Otherwise, they could just let the trees grow for a few years then pull them out and put saplings back in their place. Or find a tree that has a shallow root system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or we could not plant any trees on the cap surface and only plant them around the edges, not over 277. That would make a great big lawn and reduce the depth of soil!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The latest estimates for the Woodall Rodgers Freeway cap/park that would link downtown and uptown Dallas are between $87 - $97 million. It is planned to be four blocks in length covering 8 lanes of traffic, believe that is the same as the Belk minus the separated merging lanes.

This is a 4.7 acre cap.

--------------------

On the discussions on dead weight, it's not only the weight of the dirt, but also the amount of water this dirt will absorb during rain. Unlike a highway bridge the water will not run off and water is incredibly heavy. This is why the costs for building a highway bridge are way too low and as you make a larger span, the costs rise very fast. You can't put support columns in the middle of a lane so something as wide as I-277 is going to cost a great deal of money to cap with a park or smaller projects such as that in Dallas.

I stand by my estimate that a park over this freeway, which the public might actually use, will close in on 1/2 Billion dollars. It isn't going to happen and I know of no county plans to support such an endeavor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

would it be cheaper to dig a tunnel for 277 and then have the park actually be part of the land and not a weird above land thing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

would it be cheaper to dig a tunnel for 277 and then have the park actually be part of the land and not a weird above land thing

No. If they really want something like this, their best bet is to remove the Brookshire Freeway and put the park on the North side of town. All of the traffic could be diverted onto the John Belk Fwy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is an article in today's print CBJ about building additional pedetrian links between South End and uptown, with the advisory group mainly focusing on widening or adding bridges. There was a short blurb about the cap/park and it appears its in their mind, though they acknowledge it is unlikely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^Thanks for bringing that article up. It seems they are leaning towards a focus on improving the pedestrian connection along Tryon St. They also mentioned that as part of the South Blvd/Caldwell redo at the Nascar HoF they will be adding sidewalks across that bridge which don't exist today. I think this freeway cap is a great idea, but money is going to be the object. Just to improve the current pedestrian connections is estimated to cost $3M. As atlrvr suggested if they want to do a sTIF off of the Trump and Ghazi projects then there would be enough to pay for the +/- $30M "Phase I"

Without the Trump and/or Ghazi project then this would not be financially possible at this time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The discussions of erasing 277 can go to the thread specific to that topic here: http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=9431

The actual square area that is above the freeway in the 'phase I' plan is 1.4 acres, and in the total plan is 5.5 acres if built from Church to the Trolley bridge. The latter will obviously be very very expensive for our current society. I think the best hope would be be to pursue phase I using a combination of a synthetic TIF on adjacent projects, some transportation money, some Park and Rec money, and some corporate money.

So based on ChiefJoJo's highest dollar per square foot of cost, for the first phase between Tryon and College for the square footage that is actually above the freeway (61ksf) comes to $8.5m (rounded up). That accounted for dirt and drainage systems. I think they can get away with just using small trees in this actual square area, and they could also possibly get away with only a few feet depth of dirt, or even just pavers or brick in most of the section, with no dirt. The trees and grass part can be above the non-freeway section. The park itself would be a total of 3.3 acres, but the part that is a 'cap' is only 1.4 acres.

$8.5m for the structure of the cap, and maybe $5-10m for landscaping it to be a decent park ($2m per acre). $13-18m is fairly attainable when you consider the key transportation element of this cap park (for bikes and pedestrians) (NCDOT is paying for much of Little Sugar Creek Greenway for that reason). We can round up to $20m for fun.

If phase I can be done for under $20m (arguably), then it could easily be covered by a small STIF from adjacent land. $20m could also be lumped in with a larger county parks initiative and pass. Of course, if divied up among the different interests, NCDOT, Park and Rec, uptown corporations and developers, $20m could very much be workable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No. If they really want something like this, their best bet is to remove the Brookshire Freeway and put the park on the North side of town. All of the traffic could be diverted onto the John Belk Fwy.

Just curious, why divert all traffic down to the Belk? To me the Brookshire seems the more logical path as it allows for a more straight route, has the potential to be upgraded to interstate capacity all the way to I-85, and would no longer cut off uptown from SouthEnd.

More on topic... I am all for parks uptown, and I do dislike 277, but the price per acre for a capped park seems awfully high. Why not convert some of the surface lots that remain uptown into smaller parks? Sure we would lack a large, flagship park, but a couple of smaller ones may see as much, if not more, use due to their proximity to more places.

Edited by paholler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just curious, why divert all traffic down to the Belk? To me the Brookshire seems the more logical path as it allows for a more straight route, has the potential to be upgraded to interstate capacity all the way to I-85, and would no longer cut off uptown from SouthEnd.....

Because it is an old 60s-70s designed and built bridge system that is dangerous, especially in icy weather, has left hand and blind exits, and costs a lot to maintain. Plus it is much less expensive to remove a bridge than to fill in that hole created by the John Belk freeway. It's removal would go a long way to help with the north side's revival which is often neglected for much higher profile places that don't need any additional government investment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brookshire reminds me of old 85 in Richmond or old 40 in Winston-Salem. Not quite as bad... but still, it's unfriendly to use... with short ramps, blind spots, and "this is your lane" arrows dangling overhead on 12th street.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I know is that the two or three developers that could rejuvinate this cap park can build it cheaper and faster than any government related process, so, if they were to solicit a project-specific TIFF of some sort, the deferral would be less and over a shorter period of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.