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aboutmetro

New Interstates for the Southeast

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Rardy    0

^The discussion isn't about the need or use of interstates. They do serve us quite well in transportation needs and in keeping the cost of goods low.

But it's fallacious to say that, because a route between Birmingham and Columbus needs upgrading, we should just build highways out the wazoo. This map posted earlier is ridiculous, full of redundant routes, and deservedly will not happen in our lifetimes:

I_DOTS.gif

And as far as economic development goes, I think current studies indicate freeways were a major boon in the '60's and '70's, back when manufacturing jobs accounted for most jobs and the most-pursued projects. For the past 20 years, though, that has not been the case. Interstates, their construction, and their proposals are no longer a guarantee of wholesale economic growth anymore because our jobs and their needs have changed. Economic growth is very complex and due to many, many factors beyond the presence of a freeway.

We need to develop routes that are needed, as they're needed, and in the process we leave ourselves open to the possibility that America may not always be this car-dependent, and our need for interstates may actually decrease.

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kayman    0

Interstates vs. Rail - the conversation shouldn't be an either/or. Rail travel does depend on private companies to offer the service, much like airlines. Right now, there is no private company that is profitable, or one that has offered to provide service if the infrastructure was built. That said, I think some rail could be co-located along with Interstate highways. There would be no better marketing for rail travel and a train passing you everyday while you're stuck in traffic. Still, that's most effective intra-market (like withing Greater Atlanta) than inter-market (like between Birmingham and Atlanta).

Interstates vs. 4-lanes -

Part A - several comments have been expressed regarding converting 4-lanes to Interstates. The image doesn't make it apparant, but many of the Interstates do suggest use of existing rural 4-lanes as Interstate segements. As these 4-lanes get closer to major markets, the land cost along these 4-lanes gets cost prohibitive. Too, these 4-lanes are actually more effective as service routes within the markets because you can have curb cuts for shopping, retail, neighborhoods and industry near population centers where they are needed.

Part B - Interstates are most effective as unobstructed routes between population centers. The thing is to use the right road type in the right location. Interestates were originally designed to go around cities. Politics brought them through cities. Using 4-lanes for for inter-city travel eventually leads to congestion and start-and-stop traffic which wastes more gas and causes more pollution. Look at U.S. 280 between Columbus, GA and Birmingham. Traffic signalization along 280 have moved out from each metro area a total of 16 miles in two years. That's 10% of the total travel distance "door to door". That's not including towns like Sylacauga, Alex City, etc. or the church in Westover that was able to lobby for speed control.

Interstates offer large-scale economic development opportunities that 4-lanes do not. Industry that needs to move product regionally will locate near or along Interestates.

I'll chime in here about U.S. 280. Aboutmetro, I appreciate your wishes to see more economic development in the rural South, but interstates aren't the answer.

In the particular situation of U.S. 280, it basically needs to be limited in access (i.e. become an urban freeeway) altogether in the Greater Birmingham area only. I don't really see the point of this all the way to Columbus, Georgia. IMO, I see more sprawl tied to more interstates than actual sustainable economic development.

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ATLman1    0

I'll chime in here about U.S. 280. Aboutmetro, I appreciate your wishes to see more economic development in the rural South, but interstates aren't the answer.

In the particular situation of U.S. 280, it basically needs to be limited in access (i.e. become an urban freeeway) altogether in the Greater Birmingham area only. I don't really see the point of this all the way to Columbus, Georgia. IMO, I see more sprawl tied to more interstates than actual sustainable economic development.

Stretching this to Columbus makes perfect sense. Columbus and East Alabama are one of the fastest growing regions in the SE. Columbus deserves this as well as all of the communities it will pass through.

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aboutmetro    5

Interstate 22 between Jasper and Birmingham, AL opened as reported in this Birmingham News Article. Now if we could just go ahead and get the AL & GA legislators to get funding for the extension to the Georgia coast the south would have a great new freeway from Atlantic ports to almost the midwest.

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cityboi    237

I-73/I-74 will connect Michigan with Myrtle Beach, SC. I-73 will merge with I-40 and I-85 in Greensboro, NC. another interstate I-785 will run from Greensboro to Danville, VA. Then there is the I-840 beltway around Greensboro.

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Wow... the year 2030, I will be 54 years old. :huh: Dont want to think about that... lol.

Anyway, on the map posted I do see an omission. I-26 already runs all the way from coastal South Carolina all the up to the Tennessee-Virginia state line, near Kingsport..... on this map, it shows the I-26 freeway ending in Asheville. Not sure how old this map is, but that part of I-26 (between the TN-NC state line down to Asheville was completed about 3 years ago. The part from the NC-TN state line up to the VA-TN state line has been completed for years.

I_DOTS.gif

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aboutmetro    5

^The discussion isn't about the need or use of interstates. They do serve us quite well in transportation needs and in keeping the cost of goods low.

But it's fallacious to say that, because a route between Birmingham and Columbus needs upgrading, we should just build highways out the wazoo. This map posted earlier is ridiculous, full of redundant routes, and deservedly will not happen in our lifetimes:

I_DOTS.gif

And as far as economic development goes, I think current studies indicate freeways were a major boon in the '60's and '70's, back when manufacturing jobs accounted for most jobs and the most-pursued projects. For the past 20 years, though, that has not been the case. Interstates, their construction, and their proposals are no longer a guarantee of wholesale economic growth anymore because our jobs and their needs have changed. Economic growth is very complex and due to many, many factors beyond the presence of a freeway.

We need to develop routes that are needed, as they're needed, and in the process we leave ourselves open to the possibility that America may not always be this car-dependent, and our need for interstates may actually decrease.

Points taken. I'm not sure where you live, but in East Alabama, Middle and West Ga, most of the economic development has occured along Interstates 85 and 75. I think the point of extending I-22 isn't just to have an Interstate between Columbus and B'ham, but to extend a northwest to southeast corridor to Atlantic ports in Georgia at Brunswick and near Savannah. Further more, look at south GA, there is no east-west Interstate. 4-lane highways allow curbcuts that slow and stop traffic. US 280 between Columbus and Opelika will be riddled with traffic lights over the next 10 years as Lee County continues it's population boom. The 60's - 70's met the demands of expected populations. Those populations are prediced to move South in the next 30-50 years when the South's is expected to be home to 40% of the nation's population. That's 40% of the population living in 25% of the nation.

Maybe all of those interstates are overkill, or maybe they just look that way because the lines are obviously not to scale. I think if you compare those lines to lines in the northeast, for example, the south will still be under served by Interstates.

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US 71    0

Well, I can see one problem already: if I-30 is rerouted, "old" 30 becomes 130, which is already proposed for use around Texarkana.

Do we really NEED more Interstates? Where will the money come from?

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Hankster    6

The high speed rail map was from federal plan to designate high speed rail corridors in the United States. It was mostly developed during the Clinton/Gore years.

In any case, you can read about the South East High Speed Rail effort here.

If Gore had anything to do with it, you'd think there would be at least one line in Tennessee, wouldn't you?

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aboutmetro    5

The Georgia DOT is holding regional meetings in Southwest Georgia to determine necessity, feasibility and desire for 'access' to Interstates. This area along with Southeast Alabama was like the land that the Interstates forgot. I would think that, since the very definition of an Interstate involves more than one state, Alabama and Florida would be brought into the discussion... Anyway, here's a link to the dedicated website. There will be a stakeholders meeting (presentation link) in Columbus, GA on April 15th. Other area meetings have already occured. Southwest Georgia Interstate Study website.

The study area map:

studyarea.jpg

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teshadoh    0

I'm as pro-transit / smart growth / anti-sprawl as most on this forum, but interstate access for the rural areas & urbanized areas further than 50 miles is a necessity. I agree too that discussing interstate highways is not comparable to making a stance against rail, both passenger & freight. Passenger rail best serves centrally populated areas & freight rail best serves inter-modal & long distance shipments. That leaves a large enough room for the necessity of expanding the interstate highway system (& modernizing).

The main issue really is land use.

Regarding economic impact - compare any small town that is 10 miles from a freeway & any small town that is not, it is a huge difference. I was reminded that driving through western Texas through Amarillo to Dallas, even though it was a major 4 lane highway, most of the towns were economically depressed due to being isolated. And let's be honest - the places nationwide that we typically consider to be the most isolated are usually those towns that are far removed from interstate access. Compare Tifton, GA & Waycross, GA for that matter - both the same size but Tifton's economy has boomed in the past couple of decades as Waycross has been comparatively dormant.

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aboutmetro    5

I'm as pro-transit / smart growth / anti-sprawl as most on this forum, but interstate access for the rural areas & urbanized areas further than 50 miles is a necessity. I agree too that discussing interstate highways is not comparable to making a stance against rail, both passenger & freight. Passenger rail best serves centrally populated areas & freight rail best serves inter-modal & long distance shipments. That leaves a large enough room for the necessity of expanding the interstate highway system (& modernizing).

The main issue really is land use.

Regarding economic impact - compare any small town that is 10 miles from a freeway & any small town that is not, it is a huge difference. I was reminded that driving through western Texas through Amarillo to Dallas, even though it was a major 4 lane highway, most of the towns were economically depressed due to being isolated. And let's be honest - the places nationwide that we typically consider to be the most isolated are usually those towns that are far removed from interstate access. Compare Tifton, GA & Waycross, GA for that matter - both the same size but Tifton's economy has boomed in the past couple of decades as Waycross has been comparatively dormant.

That sounds like a very reasoned comment. I too am pro-mass transit in areas that make it work economically. I'm definately smart growth, not necessarily anti-sprawl, but I wish it didn't happen at the expense of other styles of residential development like mixed use and higher density vertical residential. The south in particular was very rural 50 years ago and by end of the next 50 years is expected to be home to half the nation's population. So all forms of transportation need to be on the table, in my opinion.

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pinetree221    0

Good grief! It is hard enough to find the money to maintain the interstate system we have now. How on earth are we going to maintain a system that is so much bigger?

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aboutmetro    5

Good grief! It is hard enough to find the money to maintain the interstate system we have now. How on earth are we going to maintain a system that is so much bigger?

I think a combination of revenue sources might include 1) a conversion of some heavily traveled interstates to toll roads, 2) a regional sales tax, and 3) a regional gas tax. Some of these revenues might also be used to support companion mass transit options. A source of revenue for maintaining existing roads is the existing fuel taxes. Many of these taxes are diverted and used for things like sidewalks, riverwalks and all kinds of low use 'transportation' projects.

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Southron    14

Good grief! It is hard enough to find the money to maintain the interstate system we have now. How on earth are we going to maintain a system that is so much bigger?

Yeah, it makes no sense to continue throwing billions of dollars down this drain. We'd be better off investing in rail projects for inter-state travel and mass transit within our metro areas. The interstate highway system became a huge boondoggle when hard-headed politicians decided to misuse it as a commuter highway system, rather than what it was intended for.

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aboutmetro    5

GA DOT Commissioner Evans said this morning at a Chamber breakfast in Lagrange that the limited access highway (aka I-14) between Augusta and Columbus was a high priority for her administration.

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Memphis will be the future southeastern juggernaut when it comes to interstate highways. Already in the region are I-55 (St.Louis-Jackson), I-40 (Little Rock-Nashville), I-240 (Inner Loop), I-155 (Dyersburg Spur) & I-69 (Houston-Indianapolis [existing/under development). Soon to come are I-555 (Memphis-Jonesboro), I-22 (Memphis-Birmingham) & I-269 (outer Loop). Also in long term development is High Priority Corridor 7 (Memphis-Atlanta) which mostly follows the route of U.S. Hwy 72.

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aboutmetro    5

The FHA has a great series of maps showing population density along Interstates since 1950. Follow this link to the page.

Of course, this one is one of my favorites - One of the original planning maps for the Eisenhower Interstate System.

intreg6.jpg

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Since the Baton Rouge metro has few north-south arteries, and I-55 is outside of the metro, I drew this up. It's been in my head for some time now, figured I'd post it here.

The major cities it traverses through would be (from south to north) Houma, Baton Rouge, roughly following Hwy 61 (Airline Hwy) to Natchez, Monroe, possibly El Dorado, Pine Bluff, and using I-530 to connect to Little Rock/Conway.

The route could continue north to Springfield, MO using U.S. 65's route.

The stretch of I-XX that would pass through our beloved Baton Rouge would be in the eastern part of the parish, giving the north side (Zachary, NBR, St. Francisville, etc) a faster connection to the city.

What do you all think about it? Do we need it? This could permanently replace the I-410 proposals that come up, while being cheaper for the city itself (not sure) and not encouraging sprawl like the loop would have done.

Keeping up with numbering rules, it would have to be either I-51 or I-53.

LA-AK stretch, each blue dot is representative of each of the major cities.

5910946987_b2304cc063.jpg

LA/MS stretch

wol_error.gifThis image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 1024$sx531$s.5911539672_91cbc55815_b.jpg

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