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Old January 28th, 2009, 09:21 PM   #3821
ChrisZwolle
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I'm just gonna say it... I know many are not gonna like it... But they should increase the fuel tax in the U.S.

The era of cheap construction is over. If we don't invest in urban freeways now, it will be harder and more expensive in the future once the entire area is urbanized. (look at the big dig for instance.)

Anyhow.

I calculated what the U.S. government is collecting in fuel taxes per year.

Please correct me if I used the wrong figures.
Finished Motor Gasoline.

[IMG]http://i40.************/2iu9a3a.jpg[/IMG]

So, if my figures are correct, the US federal + state government would collect about 76 billion dollars per year in fuel tax revenue.

To meet the 2200 billion dollar investment needed in 5 years, that means there is a gap of 364 billion dollar per year. Hence, there are other sources of income needed.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 09:55 PM   #3822
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You'll get no argument from me. It's time Americans were introduced to the TRUE cost of our highway and roads system. We've been doing it on the cheap for far too long. And if we don't start rebuilding (and paying for it properly) soon, we'll be forced to shut down some major highways because they'll be unsafe. Imagine that, a rich country like this willing to spend billions and billions on Iraq but not wanting to fix up the infrastructure at home.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 10:01 PM   #3823
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billpa View Post
If the choice is between making sure bridges don't fall into rivers while people are driving across them or building a brand new highway to make Johnny SUV's ride a bit easier to his Sam's Club I know what choice I would make. That report card is the reason why. We are no longer in a position (we really haven't been for years) to debate whether we in America should fix the old highways or put up new ones. The choice has been made for us.
With the way stores like Circuit City are dying, and auto companies that made their money on SUVs like GM near death, I think your argument wins.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 11:38 PM   #3824
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Meanwhile, I'm still trying to confirm if U.S. daily traffic is really as bad as advertised on sources like Wikipedia.. Atlanta was in the top 10 most congested metros. Well, this doesn't look so bad at all. Only some minor congestion along I-285 northside and I-75 southbound.. but only for a couple of miles.
[IMG]http://i40.************/2z580ug.jpg[/IMG]
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Old January 29th, 2009, 03:05 AM   #3825
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
There was once a proposal for such an outer ring around Atlanta, but it was NIMBYed to death years ago.



Mike
And I hay-ulped (old Shake 'n bake commercial).

To my amazement, anti-northern arc sentiments were strong even in heavily Republican suburban areas that weren't directly affected by the road, and ultraconservative Republican officeholders gave us more backup than I ever would've imagined. The thing was to be built with borrowed money at the behest of a Democratic governor, and suburban Atlantans hate taxes even more than they hate traffic.

So, "NIMBYed to death" is a rather gross mischaracterization of what actually happened.

Chris: Traffic here in Atlanta is scarily light since the recession started.

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Old January 29th, 2009, 03:28 AM   #3826
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How is that possible? So many people lost their jobs or they transferred to non-existing PT? Or maybe whole neighbourhoods started to carpool?
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Old January 29th, 2009, 04:15 AM   #3827
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How is that possible? So many people lost their jobs or they transferred to non-existing PT? Or maybe whole neighbourhoods started to carpool?
People losing their jobs, mainly. In one recent month-- November, IIRC, I read that Georgia lost more jobs than any state but Michigan. Plus, construction has a bigger portion of the economy here than in most places, and it had been hard hit by the real estate downturn, even before the crisis fully hit.

People can drive less, too. I've seen it before when the price of gas spikes, as it did after Katrina. Much of our driving is for nonessential purposes, so people can and will cut back if they think they need to.

According to our MPO, 70% of the cars on the road during PM rush hour are engaged in something other than commuting.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 02:51 PM   #3828
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Couple of accidents happened on I-85 near Atlanta.

About 10 miles of traffic jam.

Pleasant Hill Road
[IMG]http://i41.************/2ykkxhh.jpg[/IMG]

Steve Reynolds Blvd.
[IMG]http://i40.************/35jay42.jpg[/IMG]

Indian Trail:
[IMG]http://i39.************/20jjymg.jpg[/IMG]

Jimmy Carter Blvd.
[IMG]http://i43.************/1zdc8w2.jpg[/IMG]

VMS at Jimmy Carter Blvd.
[IMG]http://i40.************/ftzq5j.jpg[/IMG]

Seems to be flowing again at the I-285.
[IMG]http://i44.************/2ag87yw.jpg[/IMG]

This seems to be one of those minor-lane-closures-causes-massive traffic jam situations. 2 lanes closed on the left, traffic can't exit and becomes stationary, blocking all other traffic.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 09:32 PM   #3829
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ChrisZwolle... here's the wikipedia page on the Outer Perimeter around Atlanta.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Perimeter

Interestingly enough, if you look at satellite images, you can see that most of the require right-of-way for the Northern Arc of the ring road still exists. My guess is that the project is not really dead, but that it will have to be built as a toll road, and that while traffic is pretty bad in the northern suburbs and exurbs, the potential toll revenue from traffic isn't high enough to justify building the road yet. My guess on this is from what I know about another US tollway system: The Illinois Tollway.

I can tell you that the only parts of the Illinois Tollway system that make money are the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/294), and part of I-90 between O'Hare Airport and Schaumburg (see map below). The rest of the system is subsidized by the Tri-State, and the reason for that is that the Tri-State sees the bulk of truck traffic, and thus, the bulk of toll revenue. I-90 and I-88 go for another 50 miles west of the map that's shown. The parts of the Tollway that actually make money are those that have a high amount of truck traffic and see an average of at least 150,000 vehicles per day. The link is to a map of traffic counts in the Chicago area.



The Northern Arc (and indeed the entire outer perimeter) was sold as a way for truckers to bypass Atlanta, but as it turns out, truck traffic wouldn't be high enough to justify building the road on that premise alone. To justify building an Outer Perimeter would require traffic levels that approach 150,000 vehicles per day, and a substantial percentage of them would have to be trucks. I very much doubt that even the Northern Arc, if built today, would generate traffic counts of 100,000 vehicles per day. But with the way Atlanta is sprawling, I think eventually an outer ring road will have to be built.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 09:43 PM   #3830
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Quote:
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The Northern Arc (and indeed the entire outer perimeter) was sold as a way for truckers to bypass Atlanta, but as it turns out, truck traffic wouldn't be high enough to justify building the road on that premise alone. To justify building an Outer Perimeter would require traffic levels that approach 150,000 vehicles per day, and a substantial percentage of them would have to be trucks. I very much doubt that even the Northern Arc, if built today, would generate traffic counts of 100,000 vehicles per day. But with the way Atlanta is sprawling, I think eventually an outer ring road will have to be built.
For trucks, you'd be looking at tangents further afield - I-14 from Augusta to Meridian bypassing I-20 to the South (and I-85 if you also use I-77 from Charlotte)
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Old January 31st, 2009, 12:31 AM   #3831
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I think its time to Invest in Sluggish Cross Bronx Expressway , its a 21 Hour traffic Jam , except on Sundays for 7 hours. Over crowded , not safe, old , short merge lanes , signage peeling off, barley any shoulders, guard rails rusted out, Lights in the small tunnels are turned off during day light hours. Now u could say this about almost even NYC hwy , but this is different, taken by not just Commuters & Truckers , but the Millions of Plus People going to Connecticut or New England, there are Alt routes , but they can be a gamble ,mileage and traffic!
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Old January 31st, 2009, 08:08 PM   #3832
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis View Post
I think its time to Invest in Sluggish Cross Bronx Expressway , its a 21 Hour traffic Jam , except on Sundays for 7 hours. Over crowded , not safe, old , short merge lanes , signage peeling off, barley any shoulders, guard rails rusted out, Lights in the small tunnels are turned off during day light hours. Now u could say this about almost even NYC hwy , but this is different, taken by not just Commuters & Truckers , but the Millions of Plus People going to Connecticut or New England, there are Alt routes , but they can be a gamble ,mileage and traffic!
Thought exercise: If you could transform the Cross Bronx into anything within the range of feasibility, what would you do? That's bearing in mind the constraints of the adjacent highway network.
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Old January 31st, 2009, 08:11 PM   #3833
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A major problem in New York seems to be the geometry rather than capacity. 2x3 can handle as much as 160,000 - 180,000 if necessary, and most NY's expressways and parkways don't have such high loads. I think the geometry of interchanges reduces capacity very much. Look at the I-87 north to I-95 west connector for instance.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 02:53 AM   #3834
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Gravedig! Original post. I started writing this when it was first posted, but I got sidetracked and never finished-- until now.

This is one of the most annoying interchange designs I know of. The configuration you see here is c. 1987, but originally the layout was a simple cloverdirectional, with loops in two opposing quadrants and left-off-the-mainline semidirect ramps in the other two, a common layout during the '60's. The abandoned bridge under the southbound roadway of I-285 north of I-20 spanned of of the semidirect ramps. So, why is this so irritating?
[img]http://i43.************/oldnk.jpg[/img]

Because... that now-removed ramp carried virtually no traffic! As you can see on a map, anybody who wanted to go from northbound 285 to westbound 20 would do better to cut across on Ga 155. The ramp was used almost exclusively by police and emergency vehicles, with the occasional non-map-reading motorist (and prolly the occasional roadgeek) thrown in. Meanwhile, loops carried the two heaviest turning movements.

An obvious alternative would have been to simply mirror the layout, as was done at 285 and GA 400:
[img]http://i39.************/2cnjnes.jpg[/img]

But topography made that a poor option. IMO, the best solution would've been to build a entering-from-the-left semidirect ramp for eastbound 20 to northbound 285 and put loop ramps where they are now. Doing this initially would have been slightly more expensive, but prolly would have eliminated the need for a configuration change when more capacity was needed, saving much money and reducing construction delays.

Another fun fact about this interchange: The 1987 rebuild moved the southbound 285 mainline adjacent to the existing northbound roadway, leaving the former southbound roadway for use by ramp traffic. For many years, there was no barrier between the ramps-- traffic could move as it might on a collector-distributor road. Which was OK because (a) not many people did it and (b) there were quite a few overturned truck accidents on the southbound 285 to eastbound 20 ramp due to a long downward grade on the former mainline. Truckers who realized they were going too fast could bail out by crossing painted lines to stay on the former mainline, at little risk to other motorists. The overturning truck problem was considered serious enough that plans were drawn to build a new, faster southbound 285 to eastbound 20 ramp at rather enormous expense.

Then... a few years ago, GDOT decided to build a jersey barrier separating the ramps, which I thought was very bad idea-- eliminating an escape option for overspeeding trucks in the interest of--what? However, I see no evidence that the jersey barrier has ever been hit. And i haven't heard anything about that expensive new ramp in a while.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 09:57 PM   #3835
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This is an amazing part of the Interstate system.

by Freewayjim
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Old February 1st, 2009, 10:45 PM   #3836
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Stunning drive and landscape! Interesting crashbarrier. Is it that rusty?
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Old February 1st, 2009, 11:43 PM   #3837
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Why is it so narrow in the second half of the video?
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 12:10 AM   #3838
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The barriers are brown on purpose because it's a parkway through that stretch. I think they've kept it narrow because of the park status- they didn't want a full interstate to run through the area.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 12:13 AM   #3839
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The barriers are supposed to give the parkway a rustic feel, sort of like the Garden State Parkway.

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Old February 5th, 2009, 04:04 PM   #3840
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Pasadena Freeway in Los Angeles, what a load of crap.
[IMG]http://i44.************/5lvxj9.jpg[/IMG]

The pavement is 69 years old now.
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