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Thread: Super-sized super highways?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Super-sized super highways?



    If you thought the Washington, DC Beltway was big, you haven't seen anything yet. How about a 10-lane super-sized superhighway -- a quarter-mile across with railroad tracks and pipelines on the side?

    This is the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor project -- a $175 billion megalith of roadbuilding from the Mexican border near Brownsville to the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line. The object is not merely to ease normal congestion but to provide a massive artery for NAFTA-driven goods from Mexico to the United States. In an interesting twist, the mighty roadway would be built by private investors and funded by tolls. Work has already begun on one of the building blocks -- an 800-mile corridor that will run parallel to Texas I-35, from Oklahoma to Mexico. The rest of the road would be built in stages over a period spanning many years.

    You can imagine some folks are not looking forward to all this. Towns -- and those living along potential Trans-Corridor right-of-ways -- fear being paved over or becoming, at best, smog-choked truck stops and Pecan log exchange posts where no one would actually want to live. People concerned about the environmental impact of the project swoon just thinking about tens of thousands of big rigs blasting soot and carbon dioxide into the air -- while those worried about the security of America's borders don't think the idea of opening up the floodgates between this country and Mexico is exactly kopacetic. How easy it would be to smuggle people, drugs -- or worse -- into this country.

    Proponents of road projects such as this one usually say they're needed to decrease congestion -- but it's an almost axiomatic law that if you build it, they will come. In droves. Whether it's the I-495 Beltway outside Washington, D.C. or the "Loop" in Phoenix, brand-new roads quickly fill up with cars and reach capacity within a few short years. Meanwhile, the new roads have spawned new development as they radiate ever outward from major urban centers. In time, new roads are needed for the new development -- and the cycle continues. This is the source of our self-inflicted nightmare of sprawl and endless congestion -- the uglification of the landscape and the fouling of our air.

    If the Trans-Texas Corridor gets built, bad for Texas. If it gets emulated by other states, bad for us. We may see an increase in "trade" from such conveyor belts of corporate capitalism -- but the costs to us non-incorporated, small-scale capitalists might not be worth it.

    It's something to consider.

    The bottom line question here is whether commerce uber alles ought to be the principle that guides future infrastructure development. Or should we also take into account such things as how our country looks -- and whether it's a nice place to live -- as opposed to a continent-sized mass production zone.

    END

  2. #2
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    Re: Super-sized super highways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    but it's an almost axiomatic law that if you build it, they will come. In droves. Whether it's the I-495 Beltway outside Washington, D.C. or the "Loop" in Phoenix, brand-new roads quickly fill up with cars and reach capacity within a few short years. Meanwhile, the new roads have spawned new development as they radiate ever outward from major urban centers. In time, new roads are needed for the new development -- and the cycle continues. This is the source of our self-inflicted nightmare of sprawl and endless congestion -- the uglification of the landscape and the fouling of our air.
    'They say' you cannot build enough highway to avoid congestion. However, the population of the US has more than doubled in the past 30 yrs. In the 60's they built these roads, which at the time, had a large amount of excess capacity. Now that we have had this population growth, I think it's just natural that one has to increase the roads.

    We are congested because we cling to the concept of large cities. 300 years ago, they were a hub of commerce, the banker was next to the lawyer, next to the doctor. Nowadays just about everything can be done electronically: banking, telephone, internet, faxes, document imaging. As for goods, you get almost anything from the internet or catalog,and get it next day or second day. Many times it's easier, takes less time, and is cheaper to buy things on line, than to go to a 'downtown' store. The congestion is caused by everyone wanting to arrive at the same destination, at the same time. And then leave at the same time. IMO, there is no solution for this kind of scenario.

    The smart people are going to look for smaller cities/towns. The city of Sioux Falls, SD (maybe about 4 hrs from Minneapolis) advertises regularly: "Come to Sioux Falls, have a 5 minute commute, no state taxes." On a smaller scale, more roads do work.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Super-sized super highways?



    The smart people are going to look for smaller cities/towns. The city of Sioux Falls, SD (maybe about 4 hrs from Minneapolis) advertises regularly: "Come to Sioux Falls, have a 5 minute commute, no state taxes." On a smaller scale, more roads do work.
    That's us!

    We fled Northern Va. (luckily for us, at the peak of the housingbubble) and relocated to rural SW Virginia, near Roanoke. A great place to live. I just hope the Masses don't follow us here!

  4. #4
    mrblanche
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    Re: Super-sized super highways?

    You should call Ed Saxman (he'd down in Greenville, SC, now, at Volvo HQ) and get him to arrange a tour of the Volvo truck plant for you.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Super-sized super highways?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    You should call Ed Saxman (he'd down in Greenville, SC, now, at Volvo HQ) and get him to arrange a tour of the Volvo truck plant for you.
    That would be worth doing; will check into it when I have some open time. I'd like to learn more about heavy trucks! (The biggest one I've driven is an F600 - and that hardly even counts....)

  6. #6
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    Re: Super-sized super highways?

    Hey, can I go to?

    (I'm originally from Greenville)

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  7. #7
    mrblanche
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    Re: Super-sized super highways?

    Sure, but the factoy is up in New River, near where Eric lives (and not too far from a nitroglycerin plant...did you know that, Eric?).

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Super-sized super highways?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Sure, but the factoy is up in New River, near where Eric lives (and not too far from a nitroglycerin plant...did you know that, Eric?).
    Yes - a secure area near Radford!~

  9. #9
    mrblanche
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    Re: Super-sized super highways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Yes - a secure area near Radford!~
    Yep. I've been in there several times. Really hidden back there, feels like you're driving around where trucks shouldn't be! You have to go right by the Volvo plant to get in there, too.

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