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Projects that Moved the Traffic Problem Downstream

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Many of today's major construction projects are designed to alleviate bottlenecks, improve geometry, and/or add capacity to the road network. In most cases, such spot improvements achieve said objective, improve traffic flow, time passes, and little thought is given to the impact on other areas of the corridor(s).

In contrast, there are some cases where a project helps traffic flow in one area, thereby moving the constraint downstream, to another area which actually had minimal congestion until the project down the road improved flow into the area! The recent NY 531 Terminus Improvement Project in the town of Ogden, NY, is a classic example. Previously, Brockport-bound (westbound) traffic had to make a right turn at the end of NY 531, followed by an immediate left turn onto NY 31. The second stoplight only permitted so many vehicles to turn left per cycle, meaning there was never an overload onto NY 31. In fact, those two consecutive turns were the bottleneck, with traffic backing well onto the freeway portion of NY 531. Now, westbound traffic can proceed straight through the NY 531/NY 36 intersection, i.e. NY 31 was re-aligned so the dominant traffic flow doesn't have to make any turns. The traffic signal at NY 531/NY 36 is padded with a lot of green space for east-west traffic, so as much traffic as NY 531 can handle, can flow through the intersection and onto NY 31. All of a sudden, all this traffic that was previously released in small batches, is now continually flowing onto NY 31. Which is bad news for the NY 31/NY 260 intersection (located two miles downstream), which can no longer handle the volumes, and has become the new bottleneck, with back-ups of up to a mile every weekday afternoon.

(Yes, NY 531 most definitely should have been continued as a freeway all the way to Brockport, and I would not be here composing this post, but that is another matter altogether...)

Any other examples of a construction project alleviating one problem only to cause another one, just as bad, down the road?

I made a thread about this a while back. In Indianapolis, they turned us 31 into an interstate, they fucked up the lane configuration, and didn't expand 465 where the highway ends, now it backs up at that interchange every day.

US 89:
The best example I can think of would be I-15 in Utah County. Before any reconstruction of I-15 happened, the whole thing was 3 lanes in each direction plus one HOT lane, which was undeniably inadequate. Eventually, the part south of SR-73 was reconstructed and widened in the I-15 CORE project, and a few years later the same was done north of SR-92 in the Point Project. That left a 3+1 bottleneck between SR-73 and SR-92, with 4+1 or 5+1 configurations on either side. This is finally being fixed as part of the I-15 Tech Corridor project, which should be done in a couple years.

Does the Hillside Strangler count here?


--- Quote from: inkyatari on October 29, 2018, 11:31:25 AM ---Does the Hillside Strangler count here?

--- End quote ---

I’d say it’s the quintessential project for this thread.  IDOT moves the merge point east of Mannheim, traffic issue is the same as before.


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