The Congress for the New Urbanism released its list of top-10 prospects for highway teardowns in North America. Among those listed on the “Freeways Without Futures” list: Interstate 64 along the waterfront.
The stretch of I-64 through downtown Louisville ranked seventh on the “Freeways Without Futures” list. CNU says tearing down such outdated sections of interstate would stimulate valuable revitalization by replacing aging urban highways with boulevards and other cost-saving urban alternatives.
“Cities like San Francisco that have removed freeways and reclaimed waterfronts have turned them into magnets for people and investment,” CNU President and CEO John Norquist says.
In a press release, 8664 co-founder J.C. Stites says he’s confident Louisville’s political leadership will embrace the opportunity to create a more vibrant and sustainable city by getting rid of I-64.
“Urban planners and average citizens from around the country have recognized what an incredible opportunity Louisville has to transform our city for the better,” Stites says. “It’s too bad it’s taking so long.” Stites says he’s confident Louisville’s political leadership will embrace the idea.
Chad Carlton, a spokesperson for Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson, says there’s no merit to the the notion of tearing down I-64.
“It’s clear CNU did not look at the tremendous disruption and impact tearing down a critical piece of infrastructure for the U.S. and this community would have,” Carlton tells LEO Weekly. “Dumping thousands and thousands of cars into the downtown grid would have a devastating impact on this community.”
Meanwhile the five-year anniversary of federal approval to build The Ohio River Bridges Project, which Mayor Abramson supports, is being underscored by a lack of funding that threatens the project, says Carlton.
“With every delay, the cost escalates while our congestion and safety issues are not addressed and the project’s benefits are not realized,” says C. Edward Glasscock, chairman of Build the Bridges Coalition, a broad-based group advocating for the project. According to Glasscock, a one-year delay can add $400 million to the project’s costs because of inflation.
Carlton added that more than a decade of research including millions of dollars in engineering has made it clear to the the mayor that political leaders need to finish this project sooner than later.
In 2003, the Federal Highway Administration signed the Record of Decision approving the design and construction of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project. The mainstream plan for changing Louisville’s transportation system, the Ohio River Bridges Project would expand Spaghetti Junction and add two new bridges including one in the east end.
“In a region that serves as a major logistics and economic hub, we need faster, safer travel across the Ohio River and on our connecting highways,” Glasscock says. (PB)