Can a Tunnel Cure Atlanta's Congestion?

This article from Reason argues that a double-decker traffic tunnel can effectively reduce congestion in Atlanta -- one of the most congested cities in America.

"In April, Forbes ranked the metro-Atlanta region the second most congested city in America. It has been estimated that the direct cost of that congestion to Georgia motorists is $1.75 billion per year. Fear not my fellow weary travelers, there are solutions out there that, by thinking outside the box, can address this looming crisis."

"On a recent trip to the metro area, I learned that Cobb County has broken ground on a 24-foot diameter wastewater tunnel that will be 29,100 feet (5.5 miles) long. This sewer tunnel will run from just south of Austell to the South Cobb Water Reclamation Facility just north of I-20. I was already aware of the Chattahoochee Tunnel that is 18 feet in diameter and 9.5 miles long, and it got me thinking about tunnels and creative solutions to the congestion crisis that Atlanta faces day in and day out."

"What if I were to tell you that there is a way to provide the needed capacity in the most congested area, the Downtown Connector, while protecting Atlanta's neighborhoods? Well, my colleague, Robert Poole has proposed building a double-decked road tunnel, (similar to the new sewer tunnel that is currently underway in Cobb County), which would link the southern terminus of Georgia 400 with I-20 and later with the northern terminus of I-675. This tunnel is only one of perhaps half a dozen major projects needed relieve metro Atlanta's congestion but would provide the most dramatic relief. This proposed tunnel would have an inside diameter or 45 feet and each deck would have three 11 foot lanes and an overhead clearance of 12 feet allowing the tunnel to accommodate buses as well as SUVs and cars. The northern tunnel would be 5 miles long and the southern one would be 3.1 miles in length."

Full Story: Tunnels Are Part of the Traffic Solution



Typical Over Optimistic Assumptions by Road Enthusiast

Let's see, how easy is it to add a tunnel under an existing, developed community? Worked out real well in Boston. It's not as easy as a sewer tunnel, much more ventilation, emergency escape access, etc. Oh yeah, and three eleven foot lanes leaves only 12 feet for shoulders. First significant accident and you'll have 5 miles of stopped cars with nowhere to go. Also, that 12 foot height clearance wouldn't cut it either. Just ask VDOT about how many trucks have nearly hit, or actually hit the top of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel with it's 13 foot clearance despite all the various warning signs and the inspection station. People don't pay attention to clearances.

More Optimistic Assumptions

A couple of more unrealistic assumptions:

1) Building more urban freeway lanes will "cure congestion." Atlanta has already built lots of freeways based on this assumption, but they never cured congestion in the past.

2) Most astounding: "Shouldn't public officials and transportation officials in Georgia be just as committed now to ensuring the economic vitality of the region for our children and all future generations?" Only head-in-the-sand global-warming deniers could possibly claim that we are building a better world for future generations by promoting more fuel consumption and more co2 emissions.

Charles Siegel

Reason is not always Logical

This dumb idea is brought to you by the same people who think that subsidizing mass transit is a waste of money. It's now obvious who's water the so-called Reason Foundation is carrying, eh?

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