Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Road Through Nowhere?

The Dayton Daily News takes a look at a plan to build a bypass around Cincinnati to avoid spending nearly $3 billion on the Brent Spence Bridge:

Debate over the merits of a proposed bypass road that would travel more than 60 miles from interstates 75 and 71 in northern Kentucky to Franklin in northern Warren County has divided leaders on both sides of the Ohio River.
Supporters say the Eastern Bypass is a more affordable alternative to the plan to improve the Brent Spence Bridge over the river, as well as add another lane along eight miles of interstate in the two states. They add it would also open up areas from northern Kentucky and southern Ohio for economic development.
Opponents say the bypass would cost several times as much and take much longer than supporters project. They also warn it won’t fix the gridlock across the bridge between downtown Cincinnati and northern Kentucky.
The debate has been reignited following remarks in favor of the bypass from Kentucky governor-elect, Matt Bevin, leading up to the election....
The bridge project calls for construction of a new span next to the existing bridge, as well as the widening of eight miles of interstate leading from the bridge - five in Kentucky, three in Ohio....
The plan claims the bypass would cost $1.2 billion - about a third of the $3.6 billion projected cost of the bridge project.
On Monday, OKI CEO Mark Policinski said the Ohio Department of Transportation and its Kentucky counterpart had both rejected the bypass.
The state transportation officials have put the actual cost of the bypass at more than $5 billion. This would be almost twice OKI’s latest estimate of $2.6 billion for the bridge project, according to Policinski.
Costs aside, Policinski said the state agencies found the plan would divert only about 36,000 of more than 155,000 cars and trucks, and would take at least a decade.
Seriously, this is insane.  Building a 60 mile bypass through the middle of nowhere?  This almost certainly ridiculously underpriced plan goes completely around all the population centers in the region.  How would this improve the commute for all of the people trying to get from one part of I-75 to the other?  Besides that, the Brent Spence Bridge is still 50 years old and carrying 10 times its design load every day.  This crazy project isn't going to change that or replace the existing bridge.  So who would think this is a good idea?  Oh:
Henry Fischer, owner of northern Kentucky-based Fischer Homes, is credited with leading promotion of the bypass. It would lead between northern Kentucky, just south of the city of Walton, looping east around Cincinnati into Ohio and ending in the Franklin area.
I should've known.  Honestly, there is no world in which this is a good idea.  I thought a previous, much smaller bypass was a stupid suggestion.  This is so much more ignorant, I can't even begin to take it apart.  Click to the previous post, read that and multiply the arguments by 100.

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