Trench mouthy

Yours truly, in an aside from a couple of summers ago:

[T]he new I-40 alignment is supposed to be several feet below grade level — except for the minor detail that there’s not enough support for the actual roadway that far down.

I left it at that, but Nick Roberts has the gory details:

Basically, this whole I-40 project has turned into a disaster. Not only is it experiencing un-Godly cost overruns, but it was supposed to be an entirely depressed freeway like the Connector through Downtown-Midtown Atlanta. Well, surprise, there’s a water table. So now it will only be 8 feet depressed, which means that I could stand up against the edge and easily touch the grass up on the ground. There are trucks that are at least 12 feet tall, and my suv is about 8 feet tall — to put into perspective how “depressed” this highway will be. The result is that we basically have an at-grade freeway and not a depressed freeway, which may cause this Core to Shore thing to need some complete rethinking. So much for removing a “barrier.”

I’m depressed just thinking of the cost overruns. We’re not at Big Dig levels yet, but we’re working on it.


  1. ak4mc »

    3 July 2010 · 9:26 am

    Sacramento’s two freeways girding the downtown/midtown areas (originally sections of I-80, but now Business 80 and U.S. 50, rspectively, in order of construction dates) are both elevated, and it doesn’t pose any more of a barrier than a sunken freeway would.

    Doesn’t do a lot for sightlines in their immediate vicinity, but tall trees and even taller buildings, where appropriate, have long since reduced the freeways’ sore-thumb factor.

  2. Nicole »

    3 July 2010 · 1:54 pm

    I’m very unfamiliar with this particular project, but am familiar with highway construction and such. Surely there was an environmental assessment done before the project design went forward… Or maybe this was done as a design-build project and the construction partner decided to skip that part…. I’m not a fan of the design-build model as such is making my life hell of late. Construction partners push the designers to skip important steps in the name of saving money. Money for the construction company, of course, not necessarily the client.

  3. CGHill »

    3 July 2010 · 3:08 pm

    Interstate 40 in its present form and location is carrying about 160 percent of its intended load factor. The new alignment seems to have been chosen for three reasons, not necessarily in this order:

    1) Distributing the maximum quantity of available graft;

    2) Trashing a potential rail hub (the building is left intact, but the connecting rail was removed);

    3) Dispersing a population deemed to be of insufficient value.

    Costing about four times the original price tag is purely a fringe benefit.

  4. Nicole »

    3 July 2010 · 5:47 pm

    Well, all 3 of those are pretty persuasive reasons for politicians to take action. One wonders if there is criminal negligence afoot as well. Any enviro study worth the money would surely have included geo bores to discover such problems… Ah well. Let no avenue remain unexplored in pursuit of graft.

  5. CGHill »

    4 July 2010 · 12:33 am

    I haven’t quite figured out how the depth of the water table got past them. Then again, they opened up a sludge pit they hadn’t anticipated, a relic of the old southside oil field, which tells me that they just might have stinted a bit on the ol’ geology.

  6. Steve Lackmeyer »

    4 July 2010 · 5:30 pm

    There are those, say like Tom Elmore, who insist there have been oversights with ODOT, but rather a pattern of dishonesty.

  7. Kirk »

    6 July 2010 · 9:12 am

    Can one medicate a depressed freeway?

  8. CGHill »

    6 July 2010 · 9:32 am

    We could fill it up with Prozac, I suppose. But then the townspeople will be licking it.

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