Lanes to be changed

Now here’s an interesting list: “7 Urban Freeways To Tear Down Today — And What Tomorrow Might Look Like If We Do.”

One of them I know too well:

The capital of the Sooner state isn’t getting rid of I-40, but it is doing away with the elevated section — which has cut through downtown since 1965. The new highway will be much less intrusive, situated below street level in an old rail right of way, while a much smaller surface street will trace the path of the old I-40.

Thereby ruining that old rail right-of-way for future use, but I’ve griped about that before.

The best part of OKC’s plan, however, has nothing to do with transportation. Rather, the municipal government will use the highway teardown as the basis for a full-scale urban renewal, adding new parks and denser development in a 1,375-acre zone between downtown and the Oklahoma River.

Makes you wonder how we survived in this town before ’65, when they put that stretch of road on stilts.

Interestingly, I’ve actually driven on two of the other six — in Cleveland and Baltimore — though plans for their removal aren’t anywhere nearly as far along as in Oklahoma City. Don’t pay too much attention to the photos, though: the “before” set seems poorly chosen, and the “after” set, of necessity, is purely speculative.

(Spotted by Blair Humphreys.)


  1. Dick Stanley »

    8 August 2009 · 4:37 am

    I wish they’d tear down some of the ugly overheads all over north and south Austin, but they’re less than ten years old, so I guess they won’t.

  2. McGehee »

    8 August 2009 · 10:19 am

    There are some 40-ish-to-50-year-old overheads in Sacramento that are far enough away from downtown I doubt many people are bothered by them — and given that they and two rivers describe something like a collective boundary around the combined downtown-midtown-Southside area, I’m not sure replacing them with sunken freeways would sit well with a lot of people.

    Given that the Capitol sits squarely in the middle of the area so described, it would be too much like a moat for most people’s tastes.

  3. CGHill »

    8 August 2009 · 10:55 am

    I suspect TxDOT would stack I-35 three high if they thought it would help Austin traffic. (It won’t.)

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