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Old October 14th, 2006, 04:36 AM   #21
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Hopefully, they will learn from the mistakes from the Big Dig...

They can also expect to pay more than expected.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 04:45 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Black Cat View Post
Eventually public transit will facilitate cross city connections for people. Its a hard choice, but may be more practical and sustainable in the longer term.
I wouldn't attribute adaptability to N Americans, plus the roads are the heart of the economic engine here. ''You'd think'', ''you'd think'', ''you'd think'' -- plain forget it. Predominantly low bus and train riderships over here.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 07:33 PM   #23
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The state legislature, the mayor, and most of the members of the city council agree that the replacement for the existing viaduct should not result in a reduction in the capacity to carry motor vehicle traffic. Based on this, they have not seriously considered the surface boulevard option. The fundamental issue that none of them have been willing to address is that the tunnel is expected to require a construction period of about six years. During that time, the corridor will be closed to traffic. If the city can survive for six years without any traffic in that corridor, the city could certainly survive with the reduced traffic flow that would result from the surface boulevard option. This is particularly true if the surface boulevard option is coupled with a transit line between downtown and West Seattle.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 02:48 AM   #24
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Personally, I think it's outrageous that road projects take so long to finish. IMHO, if they're going to close a road, they should have a veritable army of construction workers, materials, and heavy equipment ready to go on day one, each team of which is tasked with building a single overpass, bridge, mile of pavement, or some other small piece that can be built in parallel with everything else.

If a road crew builds one ramp, then another, then another, then another... they've likely burned 2 or more years just building four ramps. If four crews build four ramps simultaneously, they could be done in 6 months (with time to spare). The problem is, states don't want to hire 10,000 construction workers from 40 out-of-state companies at premium contractor salaries to come build the road as fast as they can and leave. They feel like job market stability is more important than sparing 2 million people per day the misery of endless construction.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 02:02 PM   #25
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http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/transp...viaduct18.html

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tunnel option off table
Gregoire vows fight if city blocks elevated viaduct

By CHRIS McGANN, MELISSA SANTOS AND LARRY LANGE
P-I REPORTERS

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Chris Gregoire and leading lawmakers have buried Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' hope of replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a scaled-back waterfront tunnel.

And with it, they appeared to put the contentious tunnel idea to rest for good.

"There are two remaining options. Move forward with an elevated viaduct replacement or reprogram funding to the 520 replacement project," Gregoire said Wednesday in a short statement after a 2 1/2-hour meeting with Nickels and legislative leaders.

A disappointed Nickels, however, said later that he thinks his new, four-lane, hybrid tunnel concept should be put to an advisory vote and hopes it can stay alive. He has promised to block state attempts to build a new elevated highway, but said Wednesday he wants to find a solution and give city voters a say.

Gregoire said the state would thwart any efforts by the city to delay an elevated viaduct replacement. In a nutshell, the Legislature would have to pass laws that would block the city from blocking the project, she said.

"What this battle is, is the mayor and the City Council versus (Speaker of the House) Frank Chopp and the leadership and the Legislature," Gregoire said in an interview earlier this week. "If I had said we are going to do this, both parties would have done their level best to kill it and they both had that capacity."

The protracted battle has bogged down a decision about how to replace state Route 99.

Last month, Gregoire attempted to break what she called a stalemate by calling for a public vote on the tunnel option and a finance plan to pay for it. She wanted the vote before the Legislature adjourns or said the state would proceed with the much cheaper elevated highway.

Nickels responded Wednesday in Olympia by proposing a truncated version of the tunnel plan Gregoire had evaluated and an April 24 ballot measure.

But Chopp went into the meeting as opposed as ever to the mayor's plan: "No. It's that simple."

And he prevailed.

There were a couple of reasons, Gregoire said.

"Legislative leaders, transportation chairs and the governor rejected that timeline because it is beyond the scheduled legislative adjournment," she said. "They are also concerned about the assumptions that have not yet been validated by the Washington State Department of Transportation."

And state leaders' patience for the deadlock appeared to have run out.

"We all understand that we need to move forward," Gregoire said in a statement following the meeting with Nickels. "No action is not an option."

The six-lane tunnel option, initially favored by Nickels and some City Council members, would have cost at least $4.6 billion compared with a $2.8 billion elevated-replacement highway. Lacking a viable finance plan and support in Olympia, Nickels opted for a four-lane tunnel hybrid option, which the city thinks could accommodate corridor traffic and would cost $3.4 billion.

Nickels said the city needed more time to refine the idea but that delaying a vote until April would still give Gregoire time to decide.

But Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said Wednesday that everyone except Nickels agreed the new plan had several flaws.

"We just agreed that that's too late, being that the Legislature will have adjourned," Brown said. "And we were concerned that (Nickels') assumptions about capacity and costs haven't been validated by the Department of Transportation."

As for the two options left on the table -- moving forward with an elevated viaduct replacement or diverting the money to the Evergreen Point Bridge, or the 520 Bridge -- Brown said: "I just need to let this sink in with my caucus. The governor asked us to go home, think about it and give her a call."

Engineers fear the aging and earthquake-damaged viaduct could fall down in another strong quake like the one in 2001, and Nickels and other civic leaders want to replace it with a tunnel to reopen views on the city waterfront.

Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis said the smaller tunnel idea took into account concerns raised by the governor and the Legislature.

"The city and the mayor heard that people thought it was too expensive," Ceis said. "We've worked to bring that down in cost and scope and still meet the capacity of the corridor, which was the requirement the state had."

Ceis said the city steered away from the six-lane tunnel and elevated replacement options because it was clear they weren't going anywhere.

Now, City Council President Nick Licata said he believes any type of tunnel is dead for good.

"The governor and state legislators want to move ahead on this project, and the tunnel proposal has not been vetted enough to warrant support," he said. "It's the cost, the high risk ... they don't want the state government to go down a deep hole and not come out."

The question now is whether the mayor and members of the City Council will try to halt the construction of the elevated viaduct by refusing to grant building permits, he said.

Council members still plan to hold a special meeting Friday to discuss the viaduct and the advisory vote Gregoire requested in December.

Tunnel opponents planned to show up to express support for the advisory vote and for replacing the viaduct with another elevated highway.

"We want the governor to go ahead and build the elevated structure. There are a lot of good jobs in building a new elevated structure ... and they can still develop the waterfront and protect the people," said Gene Hoglund of the No Tunnel Alliance.

It's not clear what council members will do Friday. Wednesday's action in Olympia "shows how silly the idea of an advisory ballot is, when you have a great idea (like the hybrid tunnel) and someone says you can't put that on the ballot," said City Councilman Richard Conlin.

Tunnel supporters on the council said they'd hoped the smaller tunnel idea would get a closer look from the state. Councilman Tom Rasmussen said he couldn't understand the state's objection to an April vote.

"The mayor and (Councilwoman) Jan Drago still believe this tunnel's alive, but I would imagine they're having a difficult time pursuing it in light of the united front presented by the governor and the Legislature," Licata said.

Earlier in the day, a group of business, labor and environmental leaders scheduled a gathering at Olympic Sculpture Park to praise Nickels' newly released tunnel plan on the day it was made public. Representatives from the Downtown Seattle Association, which participated in the gathering, said later the group was "stunned and disappointed" with the announcement from Gregoire and legislative leaders. It asked them to reconsider the new tunnel proposal.



WHERE THEY STAND ON VIADUCT

Gov. Chris Gregoire: "There are two remaining options. Move forward with an elevated viaduct replacement or reprogram funding to the 520 replacement project," she said in a statement Wednesday.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels: Still thinks his latest four-lane, hybrid tunnel concept should be put to an advisory vote and wants the plan to stay alive.

Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, D-Seattle: Opposed to the mayor's plan, or any tunnel.

WHAT'S NEXT

Council members still plan to hold a special meeting Friday to discuss the viaduct and the advisory vote Gregoire requested in December.

It's not clear what council members will do Friday.

P-I reporters Angela Galloway and Neil Modie contributed to this report. P-I reporter Larry Lange can be reached at 206-448-8313 or [email protected].
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Old January 18th, 2007, 08:14 PM   #26
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Currently, it seems the public opinion in Seattle is for a rebuild of the viaduct above ground, but siesmicly stable and with more capacity. The governor also prefers the elevated structure and gave an April deadline of puting the issue to the voters. Heres the latest news:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinio...nelliteed.html

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...iaduct18m.html
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Old January 20th, 2007, 03:04 AM   #27
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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...viaduct19.html

Voters to get say on elevated highway and four-lane tunnel
By Susan Gilmore and Mike Lindblom

Seattle Times staff reporters

Seattle voters will weigh in March 13 on whether to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with an elevated highway or a four-lane tunnel.

The Seattle City Council voted 6-3 this afternoon to put two alternatives on the advisory ballot. Council members seemed unsure what would happen if both measures pass or fail. One will be an up-or-down vote on the elevated viaduct and the other, also an up-or-down measure, will ask if voters favor a four-lane tunnel.

The council has not yet finalized the ballot wording, but members did agree to list $3.41 billion as the cost for the four-lane tunnel, a trimmed-down tunnel alternative that Mayor Greg Nickels began promoting this week. The measure asking voters if they support a new elevated structure will indicate that most of the funding for its $2.8 billion cost has been secured.

The city is asking King County to have an all-mail election. The cost has been estimated at $1 million. Replacement of the viaduct would be the only issue on the special-election ballot.

The March 13 vote represents a last-ditch effort by the city to gather support for a tunnel, which, big or small, would be pricier than a new elevated structure.

The council action also caps a tumultuous week over how replace the 1953 viaduct.

Nickels on Tuesday began championing the four-lane tunnel as a good alternative to the $4.6 billion, six-lane tunnel he had wanted for so long. The four-lane tunnel would carry just as many cars as a six-lane tunnel, he said, and cut $1.2 billion from the price.

The next day, Gov. Christine Gregoire and legislative leaders said the four-lane tunnel was not an option, and the state will either replace the viaduct with an elevated highway or shift more than $2 billion from the viaduct to the Highway 520 floating bridge.

In December, Gregoire had been expected to announce whether a six-lane tunnel or an elevated highway would be built along the Seattle waterfront. Instead, she called on Seattle voters to decide the issue, saying it was the only way to break a political stalemate over the two options. She was criticized for punting, but this week took a harder stand after hearing that Seattle might not hold a vote until after the Legislature adjourned -- if it held a vote at all.

Her announcement prompted Nickels and council members to work toward the March advisory vote.

"We've been coerced" by the state to hold the election, said council member Peter Steinbrueck, who voted no with David Della and council President Nick Licata. "I see this as political tyranny, the choices have been rigged for us."

The four-lane tunnel idea, called the "hybrid tunnel" by the city, has been intensively studied only since Jan. 5 — at the city's request — by the state Department of Transportation, project consultants, and an expert review panel appointed last year to look at the viaduct and Highway 520 bridge. The panel said the smaller tunnel "showed promise" and could save hundreds of millions of dollars.

But DOT officials ceased work on the issue Jan. 11 and said the state would not fund further viaduct study by the panel.

State Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald said today he couldn't comment on whether the city's $3.41 billion figure is credible.

"We are not going to say anything about a number that we haven't had a chance to examine," he said.

Councilwoman Jan Drago, head of the council's transportation committee, said after today's vote that if the DOT didn't study the new tunnel costs, the city would hire an independent firm the council hopes will validate the numbers.

Drago, who supports the four-lane tunnel, said a vote was the only way to avoid having an elevated highway forced on the city.

"We don't need Olympia dictating to Seattle," she said. "We can speak for ourselves.

Susan Gilmore: [email protected] or 206-464-2054. Mike Lindblom: [email protected] or 206-515-5631.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company




http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...pacity19m.html

Q&A | Can a four-lane tunnel do the work of six lanes?
By Mike Lindblom

Seattle Times staff reporter

At first, the pitch sounds like snake oil: a four-lane waterfront tunnel that can carry as many cars as a tunnel with six lanes and save $1.2 billion.

But just a few days ago, a panel of experts said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' last-ditch proposal for a narrower tunnel deserved a closer look by the state.

Gov. Christine Gregoire, however, said enough was enough. She ordered an end to the discussion. Either the state will build a cheaper elevated replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct, or more than $2 billion in state aid would be shifted to the equally needy Highway 520 floating bridge.

Nickels and other pro-tunnel city leaders aren't ready to take no for an answer.

They hope a city advisory election would give the tunnel another chance.

Even assuming Olympia cares, the city first has to convince voters that the plan Nickels is now promoting is credible.

Q. How can four lanes carry as many cars as six?

A. During rush hours, the safety shoulders would become exit-only lanes, effectively widening the roadway from four lanes to six. In the morning commute northbound, the right shoulder would become an exit-only lane to Western Avenue. The speed limit would be reduced at peak times.

In off-peak times, the shoulders would serve as break-down lanes, and cars would exit the highway from the usual right lane, leaving two through-lanes in each direction. "The best engineering judgment tells you it would work, but you have to go back and do the analysis," said panel member Don Forbes, a former Oregon state transportation director. The panel was appointed by Gregoire and legislative leaders.

Q. Would traffic become clogged if a car stalls at rush hour?

A. Quite likely.

The city would need to station tow trucks nearby, to clear fender-benders and breakdowns, said Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis. Stalls are rare enough that the occasional tie-up seems a reasonable tradeoff for a possible billion-dollar savings, Forbes said.

At off-peak times, when traffic is moving fastest, there would be a full-sized shoulder, where stalled cars could pull over.

Q. Would a narrower tunnel save money?

A. The city, after seeking data from the state Department of Transportation and engineering consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff and other members of the viaduct design team, produced a cost figure of $3.4 billion. The DOT would not discuss the figure this week.

A four-lane tunnel, with lanes built side by side, would require a shallower trench than the stacked six-lane tunnel. A smaller tunnel would use less concrete. Construction could be finished by July 2013, or 1 ½ years sooner than the big tunnel, the city says.

Q. If this tunnel is so great, why didn't the city propose it sooner?

A. City staffers say they looked at a leaner structure after a price shock Sept. 20, when DOT estimates for the six-lane tunnel increased $1 billion.

Until that point, the city thought a six-lane tunnel was affordable. "Until September 20, we were dealing with a $3.6 billion project," said mayoral spokeswoman Marianne Bichsel.

On Oct. 30, Nickels told KUOW radio a four-lane tunnel might save money.

In mid-December, Gregoire issued a finding that the mayor's funding plan on the original $4.6 billion, six-lane tunnel fell short. She called for Seattle voters to choose between an elevated or tunneled highway — and bear the extra cost of a tunnel.

The city says it recently devised a cheaper four-lane version that connects at Western Avenue — solving an earlier problem that doomed an earlier four-lane alternative.

Q. Did Gregoire act in haste ?

A. The city says it briefed DOT on the four-lane tunnel Jan. 5, kicking off a week of study that included a day of reports to the panel.

But DOT told the panel six days later to halt its review.

"I've been working in infrastructure over 30 years, and I've never seen data on a good idea suppressed in this way," complained a city consultant, Doug Hurley.

In a letter to Ceis and Gregoire this week, the panel says the latest four-lane concept "shows promise."

The panel suggests an independent cost review, before any citywide vote on the future of the highway.

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or [email protected].

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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Old January 20th, 2007, 05:55 AM   #28
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I started this discussion over in the "highways and autobahns" section of infrastructure and mobility:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=427913

Feel free to continue there
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Old February 17th, 2007, 08:15 AM   #29
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I still think monorail is the best solution for Seattle than rebuilding elevated highway or tunnel because it goes same route. Too bad it is failed! What do you guys think? Why? Why not?
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Old February 8th, 2008, 04:21 AM   #30
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Quote:
Two cheaper alternatives have been discussed. [bOne relying on public transit[/b] and urban planning changes is discounted as unable to handle the viaduct's current traffic -- up to a quarter of the north-south travel in Seattle.
Doesn't anybody have slightest of doubt on the above sentence slid into the starting post article?

How were they able to come to that conclusion?
Were there any feasability studies announced to back up the above claim?

Although the following is a excerpt from Wiki I think there is merit in studying the issue more closely.

Quote:
Moreover, train tracks permit a far higher throughput of passengers per hour than a road the same width. A high speed rail needs just a double track railway, one track for each direction. A typical capacity is 15 trains per hour and 800 passengers per train (as for the Eurostar sets), which implies a capacity of 12,000 passengers per hour in each direction. By way of contrast, the Highway Capacity Manual gives a maximum capacity for a single lane of highway of 2,250 passenger cars per hour (excluding trucks or RVs). Assuming an average vehicle occupancy of 1.57 people [5], a standard twin track railway has a typical capacity 13% greater than a 6-lane highway (3 lanes each way), while requiring only 40% of the land (1.0/3.0 versus 2.5/7.5 hectares per kilometer of direct/indirect land consumption). This means that typical passenger rail carries 2.83 times as many passengers per hour per meter (width) as a road.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 07:29 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppas1989 View Post
All cities should have their big dig!
Why do you think all cities should have their big digs? Not every city can afford this massive projects. They have to come up with better solutions to handle the traffics and growth.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 01:30 PM   #32
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Just so that there is no confusion on the matter, the proposal to build a tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct is dead. The issue went to a public vote in March of 2007. The voters rejected the tunnel option with 70% opposed and 30% in favor. The voters also rejected an alternative proposal to rebuild the viaduct with 57% opposed and 43% in favor. There is no definite plan at this point though the favored option appears to be to simply eliminate the viaduct and make improvements to the street grid and transit to accommodate the traffic.
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Old February 9th, 2008, 08:14 AM   #33
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Do any large cities really need huge multilane highways through their centres? Can Seattle simply stop the highways short of the city centre. Sure this will cause problems in the short term, roads at grade will be congested and people may need to move to be nearer their work places, but eventually the city will adapt, as they have in cities such as Vancouver or London which do not have such highways carving their way through the hearts of their cities. Eventually public transit will facilitate cross city connections for people. Its a hard choice, but may be more practical and sustainable in the longer term.
The prime example of what you're saying is New York, in my opinion the American city with the best layout. It has a non-grid system for 1/4 of it only to convert to a grid layout in Midtown where it's needed only then to split with Central Park. The only highways I can think of are 9W and FDR but they're not really that arterial. Public transport serves it well and I think that, like Seattle (since New York is really a peninsula and island), the unusual geography makes it much easier to use public transport. It's still ironic how the MTA has 5m subway rides a day compared to 700,000 for the next largest subway (Washington Metro).
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Old February 9th, 2008, 08:24 AM   #34
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I must say the Big Dig in Boston has shown that removing a highway is a great thing but building a network underground isn't. We have to stop kidding ourselves that we can solve the problem by building more roads. They should just get rid of the viaduct and improve transit to the areas that use the highway. If car drivers don't like the few minutes added to their commute by travelling on normal city streets they can take transit or live closer to where they work
It would have been better if 93 had no connection to Boston whilst underground, speeding traffic through without having to bypass with 495/95/128. The only exit that should have been put in is the current 90-93 interchange that is a disaster.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 10:20 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
Just so that there is no confusion on the matter, the proposal to build a tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct is dead. The issue went to a public vote in March of 2007. The voters rejected the tunnel option with 70% opposed and 30% in favor. The voters also rejected an alternative proposal to rebuild the viaduct with 57% opposed and 43% in favor. There is no definite plan at this point though the favored option appears to be to simply eliminate the viaduct and make improvements to the street grid and transit to accommodate the traffic.
I heard that they're still keep tunnel option for study. I don't think they plan to build a whole highway in tunnel... Just part of it. They haven't release new plan for it yet. We have to wait and see.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 07:21 AM   #36
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It is reported that the State of Washington will take down the viaduct in 2012, regardless of the city government or lack or an alternative. I still do not want a new viaduct built.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 07:28 AM   #37
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I don't think we should wait till they tear it down in 2012. I think they should tear it down sooner than 2012 or they will regret it if something happen to this structure. I prefer to have them to tear down this year before anyone gets hurt.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 08:28 PM   #38
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[USA] United States | US Highways & State Highways

With the creation of thread #2 for the interstates, I thought that this would be a good time to start a thread to discuss all of those other great roads in the USofA that just happen to not carry the snazzy red, white and blue signs.

To start it off, later today I will be checking out a public information meeting being held by the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) regarding a planned WI 26 bypass freeway/motorway (likely to be mostly built to full interstate standards) of Watertown, WI. This project will remove significant amounts of traffic running between northeastern Wisconsin and the I-39 corridor in Illinois and far southern Wisconsin from the city's fairly narrow streets.



Mike

Last edited by mgk920; April 9th, 2008 at 08:34 PM.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 03:05 PM   #39
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Very good idea for a thead, hopefully I will be going to WI this summer so I might be able to check that out.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 07:02 PM   #40
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Yeah, a lot of US Highways were decomissioned in the past. Most numbers are still alive, but now as State Routes.

US 6
US 50
US 95
US 97
US 101
US 199
US 395

However, only the US 101 and 395 travel significant distances in California.
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