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Columbus: I-70/I-71 Split Project

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It's amazing how the 50+ year-old engineering crowd tends to still be locked in 1960-70s-era thinking. I've been to meetings in Cincinnati where you can tell these guys simply don't understand why there is opposition.

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It's amazing how the 50+ year-old engineering crowd tends to still be locked in 1960-70s-era thinking. I've been to meetings in Cincinnati where you can tell these guys simply don't understand why there is opposition.

 

Highway engineers for too long have been---highway engineers! They were educated to think in terms of moving as many vehicles as quickly as possible. All else was secondary. The highway culture they worked in did not allow for open or innovative thought and that culture is still present. When confronted by community activists and concerned citizens, they probably feel threatened and yet superior at the same time, because they think that only they have the professional training. "Who are THEY to question me?" To be sure, there a lot of engineers who are more open-minded, but too many of them are still stuck in the past. This attitude is only reinforced by the trogolodyte "thinking" at too many state DOTs, especially ODOT.

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That and they actually are happy with driving to every destination in their respective McSprawlvilleMart: they aren't exactly cultured folk. To them, it's bewildering that you city folk can't just be happy with shopping at Walmart and spending the night out on the town at Applebee's.  I should include some form of that in a Dispatch LTTE... I've also never seen a single ODOT rep patronizing anyplace Downtown or in the Short North, let alone Carabar which they want to tear down on Parsons, a full 33% of the only good-to-great bars to be found on over two miles of Parsons Ave. On the other hand, I've occasionally seen a few city government officials at local establishments.

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Really, their training isn't even unimodal -- it's just culture. A bridge engineer can design any type of bridge, be it pedestrian, rail, bike path, highway or city street. A road engineer can do roads, train tracks, streets and trails. Traffic engineers can apply their skills to any kind of flow, be it road traffic, pedestrian, a supermarket, water, electricity or even money.

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The part of this project that hasn't been pushed into infinity by ODOT is moving ahead quickly.  Bridges containing Long Street and Spring Street over I-71 are scheduled to be removed this spring and rebuilt as part of this project.  More about it from the Columbus Dispatch below:

 

More I-71/670 work to come, but fewer traffic headaches

 

According to the article, traffic over the bridges will be maintained while the demolition and construction is occurring.  Half of the new bridge will be built, after which traffic will be shifted onto the new structure.  Then the remaining half of the old bridge will be demolished, and the second half of the new bridge will be built.

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It is time for Ohio to find other sources of funding our transportation projects.  Maybe implementing a sales tax(1.5% for both road and rail). The Seattle area done it. That's one way they are financing their 20 billion in transportation costs.

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According to the article, traffic over the bridges will be maintained while the demolition and construction is occurring.  Half of the new bridge will be built, after which traffic will be shifted onto the new structure.  Then the remaining half of the old bridge will be demolished, and the second half of the new bridge will be built.

 

That's only true for the Long Street bridge carrying east-bound traffic. The Spring Street bridge (west-bound) is completely closing next next Friday (May 4th) and will be completely closed for six months for demolition and reconstruction.

 

The west-bound detour is routing cars (and COTA) down to Broad Street to cross back over into Downtown. Not a huge detour, but a bit of a pain, as there are several one-way streets and residential streets that will be used for detours, and turns off/on to eight-lane Broad Street on the Near East Side are hectic when there's no stop lights.

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The innerbelt is a legitimate problem. Not sure about the proposed solution, but the fact that so much of the highway dollars likely to be allocated to Columbus over the next 2-3 decades is headed to this project is really going to hamstring the city's ability to invest in critical regional infrastructure.

 

I know some of you don't like new roads but in growing regions they are needed. The Outerbelt needs major upgrades to meet long term needs, and there are outside the beltway arterials that require it as well.

 

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The innerbelt is a legitimate problem. Not sure about the proposed solution, but the fact that so much of the highway dollars likely to be allocated to Columbus over the next 2-3 decades is headed to this project is really going to hamstring the city's ability to invest in critical regional infrastructure.

 

I know some of you don't like new roads but in growing regions they are needed. The Outerbelt needs major upgrades to meet long term needs, and there are outside the beltway arterials that require it as well.

 

I generally agree with you about the innerbelt needing to be addressed.  The best part of the innerbelt project is the removal of the many on-off ramps to I-71 and I-70 in the downtown.  That alone will help downtown better connect with surrounding neighborhoods like Olde Towne East and King-Lincoln to the east and German Village and the Brewery District to the south.  Much like the I-670 reconstruction of a decade ago helped downtown's connectivity with the Short North.  Removing the on-off ramps is also the same strategy ODOT did with I-71 in downtown Cincinnati.  Only in Columbus there's twice as much to do because it's on two sides of our downtown.

 

Although I share your concern about the innerbelt's costs and its future percentage of overall regional infrastructure dollars, I don't believe that other road projects are getting deferred in Central Ohio.  If you ask most Columbus residents, they would probably tell you there's too much road work being done.  The I-270 Outerbelt is a perfect example.  Starting probably 10 years ago (don't know the exact date) I-270 has been systematically reconstructed.  Starting on the northeast/north side and working counter-clockwise, I-270 has been getting a to-the-dirt type of reconstruction.  They are currently working on the west and southwest side of I-270.

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^ A lot of people complain about the section between 71 and 23 on the South Side and its interchanges. That was the first stretch of 270 completed in the mid '60s and the interchanges are of relatively ancient design. For example, when you travel from 71 S to 270 E, the ramp goes from five lanes down to two very quickly once you've merged onto 270. People wipe out on the short cloverleaf ramps at 23 when it's wet all the time. The whole stretch of 270 trough there is only two lanes.

 

Nonetheless, I don't really care if anything gets done.

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Lots and lots of photos showing the current construction phase of the I-70/I-71 Split Project (aka the 71-670 phase) from multiple sources linked below.  Also, current construction info and updates are posted at ODOT's 71-670 Facebook Page:

 

ODOT: 71-670 Facebook Photo Page

 

Business First: Slideshow: I-71/670 project construction, updated from up close

 

Columbus Underground: Long Street Bridge Demolition

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More photos showing the current construction phase of the I-70/I-71 Split Project (aka the 71-670 phase) from the Columbus Underground Construction Roundup — July 2012.  Below are two sample photos from the thread that show the Spring Street Bridge being rebuilt over I-71 and show the Long Street Bridge being replaced one half at a time over I-71.

 

construction-july-01.jpg

 

construction-july-04.jpg

 

Current construction info and updates also posted at ODOT's 71-670 Facebook Page.

 

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Lots and lots of photos showing the current construction phase of the I-70/I-71 Split Project (aka the 71-670 phase) from multiple sources linked below.  Also, current construction info and updates are posted at ODOT's 71-670 Facebook Page:

 

ODOT: 71-670 Facebook Photo Page

 

Business First: Slideshow: I-71/670 project construction, updated from up close

 

Columbus Underground: Long Street Bridge Demolition

 

Thanks Columbo!  That Facebook page is actually one of the projects I'm working on and most of the photos are mine.  It's been pretty amazing to see this project move along as fast as it has. 

 

That said... I would still much rather see light rail and streetcars pursued more aggressively in Columbus.  We need more options for intracity travel.

 

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Thanks to noozer for the facebook photos!  That ODOT facebook site is pretty darn good for updates and information.  And with all the construction photos there, I can see why you've been so busy!

 

Although it's a topic for the Columbus light rail and streetcar thread, I too agree with your sentiment about the need for more intracity travel options, FWIW. 

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I first got pointed to noozer's facebook photos by Columbus Underground.  And CU has some more construction photos of their own at Construction Roundup: September 2012 Part 2.

 

Here's one of the CU photos.  It looks like we're getting a new lake as part of the Split Project!  Okay, we're really not, but it kind of looks that it doesn't it?

 

construction-september-2012-54.jpg

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Thanks noozer.  Always up for a good aerial. :-)

 

Though, I have to admit that, with all the new construction, it's a bit disorienting.  Was the aerial taken from downtown looking northeast?  I think I can make out part of the Columbus State campus at the bottom.

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With the roads in screwy places we don't know which way we're facing all of a sudden. I mourn for the warp zone that you could use on 71N if you acted like you were getting on 670W but just stayed in the right lane on the road to the 670 ramp. You could floor it and pass tons of cars who instantly turned to rubes in your mind.

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Posting an older Dispatch article about Kasich's Ohio Turnpike bond leverage idea that promises to generate additional revenue for ODOT.  The bond leverage idea has already been discussed in the Ohio Turnpike thread.  So I'm not looking to restart that discussion in this thread.  But the article talked about the potential impact the promised revenue might have on the I-70/I-71 reconstruction project.

 


Road legislation won’t be quick

By Joe Vardon, The Columbus Dispatch

Saturday, December 15, 2012 - 6:18 AM

 

Gov. John Kasich’s plan to generate $3 billion for state road projects, including $1.5 billion by new issuances of debt against the Ohio Turnpike, requires legislation that might not be introduced at the Statehouse until late January or later.  The required legislative action goes beyond changing Ohio law to enable turnpike revenue to be spent more than a mile from the toll road, and approval would be needed before the soon-to-be-revamped Ohio Turnpike Commission issues the new debt, said Kasich’s legislative director, Matt Carle, yesterday.

 

“In terms of legislation, we’ve identified bill sponsors already,” Carle said at a news conference with Kasich and others at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, near where construction of the I-70/71 interchange could be accelerated by Kasich’s turnpike-leverage plan.

(. . .)

Reconstruction of the I-70/71 interchange is, as of now, delayed until 2020 because of a $1.6 billion deficit for state road projects identified by the Ohio Department of Transportation.  Kasich’s plan is expected to dramatically accelerate reconstruction — possibly back to the project’s original start date of 2014.  But when interchange construction begins is tied to when funding is available — which might not be until the turnpike commission’s transactions in the bond market are complete.

 

READ MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/12/15/road-legislation-wont-be-quick.html

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Check out this Historic Aerial of I-70/71 and OH 315 and see why that interchange is such a mess - and why it's going to be so expensive to reconstruct: http://www.historicaerials.com/aerials.php?scale=2.42031396519242E-5&lat=39.9512014198079&lon=-83.0156204843206&year=T1967

 

The Mound Street bridge, which is I-70EB /71 NB dates to 1956-58 and was twinned circa 1975. SR 315's ramps were rebuilt in 1999 but not improved otherwise.

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Thank god phase 1 is finally finished. The 10pm to 8am work schedule on weeknights was pretty killer for people who live immediately adjacent to this work site (me). :P

 

Photos of the grant opening of The Long Street Bridge: http://www.columbusunderground.com/long-street-cultural-wall-unveiled

 

<img src="http://www.columbusunderground.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/long-street-cultural-wall-03.jpg">

 

<img src="http://www.columbusunderground.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/long-street-cultural-wall-07.jpg">

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Very cool. Not quite "The Cap" but MUCH better than what used to be there.


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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I was driving on 70 Westbound heading into downtown today and there is a new exit right at Nationwide Children's that is simply signed "Downtown" with no street name. I thought it was bizarre so I decided to get off and see where it led me. It is the Mound Street connector as seen a few posts above in the dispatch graphic. Just a very strange choice of signage.

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New Grant Avenue Bridge Coming this Summer as 70/71 Work Starts Up Again

 

The Ohio Department of Transportation has announced a new timeline for the next five phases of its multi-year Interstate 70/71 split project.

 

Work will begin this summer on the first phase, which will include improvements to a stretch of Mound Street between High Street and Fourth Street (an extension of the Mound Street Connector that was completed in 2014), and a new bridge over I-70 at Grant Avenue.

 

More below:

http://www.columbusunderground.com/new-grant-avenue-bridge-coming-this-summer-as-7071-work-starts-up-again-bw1

 

timthumb.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.columbusunderground.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F04%2Fgrant-avenue-01.jpg&q=90&w=650&zc=1&


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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http://nbc4i.com/2017/07/16/major-construction-on-downtown-i-7071-corridor-begins-this-week/

 

According to ODOT, “The project will construct a new wider and longer bridge at Grant Avenue as well as improve Mound Street and Fulton Avenue.  The improvements to Mound Street will occur between 4th Street and High Street and includes granite curbs, brick crosswalks, decorative signals, lighting and landscaping.  Fulton Street will be one-way eastbound from 4th to Washington.”

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The Grant Avenue Bridge closed yesterday to begin prep work for its replacement.  According to the below linked article, demolition of the existing bridge should begin near the end of January and the new Grant Avenue Bridge is expected to be completed by this Fall:

 

http://www.dispatch.com/news/20180105/grant-avenue-bridge-over-i-7071-closing-tuesday-for-demolition

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The Grant Avenue Bridge closed yesterday to begin prep work for its replacement.  According to the below linked article, demolition of the existing bridge should begin near the end of January and the new Grant Avenue Bridge is expected to be completed by this Fall:

 

http://www.dispatch.com/news/20180105/grant-avenue-bridge-over-i-7071-closing-tuesday-for-demolition

 

Photo of the Grant Avenue Bridge after demolition from https://www.columbusunderground.com/construction-roundup-march-2018-pt1-we1

 

construction-roundup-march-2018-01.jpg?resize=1024%2C630&ssl=1

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44115150181_b8380827fa_d.jpg

 

https://www.10tv.com/article/major-construction-downtown-columbus-impact-traffic-weekend

 

http://www.thisweeknews.com/news/20180817/i-71-south-to-i-70-west-to-be-closed-this-weekend-for-paving-work

 

I-71 south through Downtown to westbound I-70 will close from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.  ODOT is closing the lanes from I-71 southbound to I-70 westbound so crews can build pavement as work continues on $41.8 million worth of work on the two interstates through Downtown that includes four new retaining walls and a new Grant Avenue bridge over the combined interstates on the southern edge of Downtown.

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29743376527_6775ab0b64_z_d.jpg

 

http://www.dispatch.com/news/20180912/i-70-to-close-in-downtown-over-weekend

 

This weekend it's I-70's turn to close down for construction.  The Dispatch was non-specific as to what construction was requiring the weekend closure.  But the ODOT graphic included with the article shows the Grant Avenue bridge reconstruction featured prominently.  So maybe it's time for the steel to start spanning the split?

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This weekend it's I-70's turn to close down for construction.  The Dispatch was non-specific as to what construction was requiring the weekend closure.  But the ODOT graphic included with the article shows the Grant Avenue bridge reconstruction featured prominently.  So maybe it's time for the steel to start spanning the split?

 

Some of the steel for the Grant Ave bridge was installed. Drove through yesterday and it appears to completely span the WB lanes but does not fully span the EB lanes yet.

 

ODOT says the new bridge is due to be open by December 31 (weather permitting, of course).

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45268361122_fb4dbc4bf9_b_d.jpg

 

Above is a photo of the Grant Avenue bridge work from https://www.dispatch.com/news/20181014/torn-up-south-3rd-street-to-slow-downtown-traffic-through-holidays

 

The article also included these updates about the project:

  • South 3rd Street between Main and Mound streets: Two lanes are shifted to the left until Friday. Starting Saturday, two lanes will shift to the right for two weeks.
  • Mound and 3rd streets: The northwest corner of the intersection is closed until Friday.
  • Mound and High streets: The northeast corner of the intersection is closed until Friday.
  • Fulton Street: Traffic is one-way eastbound between South 5th Street and Grant Avenue, and reduced to one lane until Oct. 31. The street is closed between Grant and Washington Avenue until Oct. 31.
  • The Grant Avenue bridge over Interstates 70/71 is scheduled to be finished by Dec. 31.

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https://www.dispatch.com/news/20181215/odot-set-to-reopen-grant-avenue-bridge

 

After almost a year of construction, a new Grant Avenue bridge over Interstates 70/71 will open to drivers by the end of the year.  The bridge closed in January as part of the first phase of a multiyear ODOT project on the stretch of I-70/71 through Downtown.  ODOT initially expected the bridge to be completed by late fall 2018, but the record amount of rain this year affected how quickly crews could work on the project and as crews demolished the old bridge, they found pipes they weren’t expecting to find.

 

According to the above linked article, work crews will return in the spring to apply the bridge’s final layer of asphalt and to landscape the area.  The new bridge will feature wider sidewalks, a bike lane, improved lighting and decorative landscaping.

 

Along with the new bridge, the first phase included improvements to Mound Street between 4th and High streets, converting Fulton Street into an eastbound one-way thoroughfare from 4th to Washington Street and building a retaining wall along I-70.  Next year, ODOT will move to the project’s next phase, which will include connecting Fulton Avenue to I-70 east and creating a new ramp to Parsons Avenue.

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Here are a couple of photos of the new Grant Avenue bridge from https://www.dispatch.com/news/20181215/odot-set-to-reopen-grant-avenue-bridge

 

45648356644_8bac15c5a7_b_d.jpg

^This is an aerial view of the Grant Avenue bridge south of I-70/71 looking north toward downtown

 

 

46371293161_8729283a14_b_d.jpg

^ This is a street-level view of the Grant Avenue bridge north of I-70/71 looking south.  The buildings in the background are new medical offices and facilities for Children's Hospital, which is expanding along Livingston Avenue south of the new bridge.

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DeWine: Gas tax hike saved $255 million in I-70/I-71 improvements

 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine credits the recently passed state fuel tax increase with providing nearly $255 million to bail out the next three phases of the Columbus Crossroads project to improve the I-70/I-71 interchange.  Columbus-area residents, and those passing through, will benefit from less traffic congestion and a safer configuration of highways when work is complete, the first-year Republican governor said.

 

Standing atop a parking garage at Nationwide Children’s Hospital overlooking the tangle of highways Monday, DeWine said the projects were in danger of being canceled until he and lawmakers agreed to generate more construction money through a fuel tax hike effective July 1. ... DeWine announced funding for the next three phases of the Columbus Crossroads project, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2024 and will consist of:

  • Rebuilding and widening I-71 from Broad Street to Long Street.  The $43.8 million project is projected to begin in about a year.  It also will widen part of I-71 north and replace the Broad Street bridge with a pedestrian-friendly span.
  • Rebuilding I-70 east and I-71 north, with the $103.6 million project expected to begin in about two years.  The project will result in two continuous I-71 lanes through Downtown.  It also will include a new ramp from 70 east to Fulton Street to create another eastbound entry into Downtown and replace the Front Street bridge.
  • Reconstructing I-70 west and I-71 south.  The $107.2 million project will begin in about three years and include a new ramp from Mound Street to I-70 west and a new ramp from Mound Street to I-71 south.

Construction will begin next week on an already funded $80 million phase to rebuild and widen I-70 east from Fourth Street to Miller Avenue.  Work will include a new exit from I-70 east to Parsons Avenue, providing easier access to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and surrounding neighborhoods. ... Recently completed work, which cost $43.5 million, replaced the Grant Avenue bridge, improved Mound Street between Fourth and High streets, switched Fulton Street into one way eastbound from Fourth to Washington streets and built a retaining wall along I-70/I-71 through Downtown.

 

MORE:  https://www.dispatch.com/news/20190415/dewine-gas-tax-hike-saved-255-million-in-i-70i-71-improvements

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This was the photo that went along with the DeWine article.  You gotta give credit to DeWine.  If you're going to trumpet your gas tax effort for saving the I-70/71 Split project - there's no better place to hold the press conference than on the top floor of the Children's Hospital parking garage overlooking the project location:

33740576488_d1d7e76ab9_o_d.png

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Next Phases of I-70/I71 Split

 

Curious about this............Are they still going to be building High Street bridge to be able to be a "cap" like they did in the Short North?

 

The only good thing about this project are the new bridges that will be more pedestrian friendly (I hope!!!!! We better see that improved Front Street bridge as well!!!). I can't believe they're going to widen it in an urban environment. Are they really going to widen it as it travels east and west in that trench? C-R-A-Z-Y.

 

Here's a link to all the new bridge designs.

Edited by Zyrokai

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Nuts.

 

overview-620x384.jpg

  • Dislike 1

"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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10 minutes ago, Zyrokai said:

Next Phases of I-70/I71 Split

 

Curious about this............Are they still going to be building High Street bridge to be able to be a "cap" like they did in the Short North?

 

The only good thing about this project are the new bridges that will be more pedestrian friendly (I hope!!!!! We better see that improved Front Street bridge as well!!!). I can't believe they're going to widen it in an urban environment. Are they really going to widen it as it travels east and west in that trench? C-R-A-Z-Y.

 

Here's a link to all the new bridge designs.

 

I guess?  At least based on the renderings, it'll be capped - except instead of restaurants it will be green space.

 

The rendering from the 1st article shows 4 lanes each way, whereas the second link (from the original announcement) showed 6 lanes each way.  There is *some* green space, unattended brush in the area, but I can't imagine it's enough to add 4 total lanes.


Very Stable Genius

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44 minutes ago, DarkandStormy said:

 

I guess?  At least based on the renderings, it'll be capped - except instead of restaurants it will be green space.

 

The rendering from the 1st article shows 4 lanes each way, whereas the second link (from the original announcement) showed 6 lanes each way.  There is *some* green space, unattended brush in the area, but I can't imagine it's enough to add 4 total lanes.

 

Well, I guess I meant "can you build a building on there?" I do remember at one point they said that it'll be built this way with the green space and future-proof it to have a restaurant or something on it someday if desired by a developer. I was just wondering if that was still the case and it can support a building on it like the SN cap or not. It would have to be built to have that option now if they want to do it in the future.

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On 4/16/2019 at 2:43 PM, ColDayMan said:

Nuts.

 

overview-620x384.jpg

 

I dub this the Jr.405. 

But seriously joking aside, this is a monstrosity. IF this must happen it should be capped at every bridge (like full high street cap) or just Big Dig the entire thing like Boston. 

 

The decision makers at ODOT are absolutely useless. 

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