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Old 10-22-2016, 08:52 AM   #8
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Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,560
Re: Big Dig/Central Artery Redesign

Originally Posted by West View Post
On process, drop the idiotic lie that 93 had to be kept open. I lived in the Bay Area when the Loma Prieta quake hit and took out the Bay Bridge. After a few weeks of commute hell, the region sorted itself out. Philly did without the Schuykill Expressway for two years. The Bay Bridge is more critical to Bay Area road network than 93 is to Boston metro, Schuykill is similarly crucial to Philly metro as is 93 to Boston. No matter how much people freak about taking a highway out, ANY highway can in fact be closed completely for years, and the region will get by. Any highway. Drivers adjust better than anyone could ever imagine ahead of time.

Then it's a straightforward demolition, followed by a cut and cover tunnel that would still have been savagely difficult, but not made incredibly and gratuitously more difficult by needing to suspend a goddamn freeway up above the work project throughout. Combined with more competent construction admin, enough money could have been saved to install the North / South rail link at the same time, instead of just clean-rooming the space for it.

With the quantum leap of a north / south rail link under the freeway, maybe there'd not have needed to be so much surface roadway up on top. I'm not so confident about this last part.

Insisting that we needed to keep 93 open up above the Big Dig was the Big Lie that killed the north / south rail link.
Hopefully that is a lesson learned more broadly with all transportation projects. I think Baker administration is doing it this way in small ways ... Closing Rt 128/95 to do overpass demolition presumably to save money and time. Unfortunately, the previous administration didn't choose to just close down Longfellow Bridge originally to get it done (also issues with excessive levels of historic preservation).

Of course when someone asks the public whether they want the road/rail to remain open during construction the answer is yes... But it seems we don't get a price tag on these projects until those assumptions are already built in to the project.
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