I-64 makes national top teardown list

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 CNU says tearing down such outdated sections of interstate would stimulate valuable revitalization by replacing aging urban highways with boulevards and other cost-saving urban alternatives.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)

5 Comments

  1. Kelly
    Posted September 25, 2008 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    Here in Louisville, we are governed by idiots. Do these fools not understand that in the time it would take to build these damn bridges, world oil production will have peaked and gasoline prices will skyrocket, thus negating any need for said bridges?

    Anyways, with Congress about to give Bush a trillion dollars to fix Big Shitpile, there isn’t going to be any money left for bridges, much less keeping our current infrastructure in tact.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    86 8664. 8664 is a pipe dream.

  3. Piper
    Posted September 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    There’s no mention in this of the 8664 study being nixed at the midnight hour after $46,000 was already spent on it.

    Nor mention of 8664′s offer to pay the last $3,600 so the study can be completed and released to the public.

    Nor any mention of the east end bridge already being removed from the bridges project due to budgetary constraints.

    A total political hijack is taking place on this issue.

    Best,
    Piper

  4. General Sense of Outrage
    Posted September 26, 2008 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Hey Piper,

    Here’s our story on the study:

    http://leocitystrobe.blogspot.com/2008/08/state-studied-8664.html

    Also: http://leoweekly.com/?q=node/7646

    SG

  5. Ronnie
    Posted November 29, 2008 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The ORB Project might be good for the region because it allows thousands upon thousands of cars to urinate pollution on our city as they drive through, but with a 5 mile detour north of the city they could dump it all in low inhabited southern Indiana. Then our lousy current TARC system could be upgraded and our downtown would go through a beautification process. Value would skyrocket. People of Louisville might want to visit their downtown. I don’t see the hang up with 8664 at all. Its modern. Unneeded Highways cutting through the city is an idea of decades ago.