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Friday, June 25, 2010

The Orange Route is Dead - now a numbers retrospective

After reading today how the proposed I-475 second Knoxville by-pass has been cancelled, one can't but help wonder about the economics or lack thereof involved. For those not familiar with the now cancelled project, back in the 1990s (talk about time passing quickly!) there were three proposals for a new interstate going from west Knox county past Oak Ridge to north Knox County. The idea was that the main interstate through town (I-40/I-75) was getting too crowded, and that through traffic should bypass Knoxville. One can read about the details at Anyway, the price tag for the project now runs around $1 Billion, money which we might not have. Part of the reason why the project was cancelled was that it was felt it wouldn't really relieve I-40/I-75 traffic based on new projections.

Doing some rough number crunching, I find it interesting how if hypothetically we spent $1 billion on sidewalks and bike lanes here in Knox County we would probably have a cycling and walking paradise. Here's the math - divide 1 billion into $500,000/mi for completed streets, and we'll have 2000 mi of completed streets. We might not have that many streets in the entire county. Now, imagine if Knoxville/Knox County were truly a cycling and walking paradise. Would we still have the congestion along I-40/I-75?

1 comment:

  1. Nelson,
    Back in the 1980's US News and Word Report devoted an issue to the congestion crisis of our big cities. All the experts agreed it was impossible to build our way out of it.

    It is interesting you said the main reason was not the expense but that it would not relieve congestion on the through routes. This fits with my observation that most of the license plates you see on an interstate are from the county you are in. All those people using the interstate to make that 2 mile trip. That sounds ridiculous but I bet each of us can immediately name three instances where one must get in an automobile and drive several miles to a make a trip of less than one because there is no safe way to walk or bike the one mile. It would be nice if the money were diverted to bike ped facilities. Maybe someday. Per the prior post and link it seems someone is doing that.