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Author Topic: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?  (Read 1896 times)

MantyMadTown

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When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« on: February 25, 2019, 03:18:39 AM »

With the completion of I-95 between Pennsylvania and New Jersey last year, the original plan of the Interstate Highway System is now complete. However, numerous other routes have been created and improved on between now and when much of the original interstate system was developed in the 50s and 60s. There has also been plenty of ideas for new interstates from those of us on the forum. So far, the US highway system has largely been superseded by the interstate system, so I imagine plenty of new interstate routes being created in the future. What I'm wondering is, when will we stop creating new routes for interstates? Will we ever?

This is also going off of my question of whether there would be new US highways: with the constant expansion and changing of our highway systems, how would we consider one to be "complete"?
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2019, 03:48:20 AM »

As you have phrased it, I don't think that is a meaningful question to ask. "Completion" implies that at some point, all of our goals will be reached and we will be done, but as I'm sure you're aware, providing adequate transportation is a never ending chore.

However, as technology advances and changes, there will be a point in the future where no new Interstates will be built. Thus, I think it is more appropriate to ask "have we reached the maximum extent of the Interstate system?" And with the number of planned projects still in the various phases of development, that time is a long way off. Probably not in our lifetimes, IMO.
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2019, 02:00:00 PM »

Probably never, but that's why we have all those great ideas floating around here...

Counterpoint: It'll also be the time when the US Highway system becomes totally obsolete. And once again, that'll never happen in our lifetimes either, no matter how badly FritzOwl wants it to happen.
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MantyMadTown

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2019, 02:43:10 PM »

Probably never, but that's why we have all those great ideas floating around here...

Counterpoint: It'll also be the time when the US Highway system becomes totally obsolete. And once again, that'll never happen in our lifetimes either, no matter how badly FritzOwl wants it to happen.

Well unlike FritzOwl, I don't want the US Highway system to become obsolete. I think both the Interstate system and the US Highway system can be compatible with each other.
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2019, 03:09:35 PM »

OTOH, if the original plan of the IHS is now complete, then I might consider the system to be complete already.  All future expansions are just extra.
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2019, 03:29:30 PM »

OTOH, if the original plan of the IHS is now complete, then I might consider the system to be complete already.  All future expansions are just extra.

That pretty much sums it up from my POV.  Boy did it take a long time to get the original layout completed!  Since I was born in 1955 and the last section of I-95 was not completed until 2018, that is almost my entire lifetime. 

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Roadsguy

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 12:50:17 AM »

You could look at all current proposals and guess when they will all be complete, not factoring in any future proposals, but with some proposals like I-73/74 being flat out ignored by some states, it won't ever be complete by this definition.
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2019, 12:25:53 PM »

As long as fixable breaks like Breezewood exist, the interstate system will not be complete.
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Beltway

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2019, 02:18:40 PM »

As long as fixable breaks like Breezewood exist, the interstate system will not be complete.

Breezewood is a missing link in the original Interstate highway system. 

A discontinuity in I-70.
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2019, 02:31:43 PM »

OTOH, if the original plan of the IHS is now complete, then I might consider the system to be complete already.  All future expansions are just extra.

Like I-57 in Arkansas, I-49 in Arkansas and Missouri, and the Bud Shuster Pork Barrel Pork Barrel Freeway ;)
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2019, 05:35:47 PM »

As you have phrased it, I don't think that is a meaningful question to ask. "Completion" implies that at some point, all of our goals will be reached and we will be done, but as I'm sure you're aware, providing adequate transportation is a never ending chore.

However, as technology advances and changes, there will be a point in the future where no new Interstates will be built. Thus, I think it is more appropriate to ask "have we reached the maximum extent of the Interstate system?" And with the number of planned projects still in the various phases of development, that time is a long way off. Probably not in our lifetimes, IMO.
Well when every road is an interstate, there won't be many more to build.
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MantyMadTown

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2019, 05:50:33 PM »

As you have phrased it, I don't think that is a meaningful question to ask. "Completion" implies that at some point, all of our goals will be reached and we will be done, but as I'm sure you're aware, providing adequate transportation is a never ending chore.

However, as technology advances and changes, there will be a point in the future where no new Interstates will be built. Thus, I think it is more appropriate to ask "have we reached the maximum extent of the Interstate system?" And with the number of planned projects still in the various phases of development, that time is a long way off. Probably not in our lifetimes, IMO.
Well when every road is an interstate, there won't be many more to build.

That will not happen. Local roads will still be local roads.
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vdeane

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2019, 07:33:02 PM »

As you have phrased it, I don't think that is a meaningful question to ask. "Completion" implies that at some point, all of our goals will be reached and we will be done, but as I'm sure you're aware, providing adequate transportation is a never ending chore.

However, as technology advances and changes, there will be a point in the future where no new Interstates will be built. Thus, I think it is more appropriate to ask "have we reached the maximum extent of the Interstate system?" And with the number of planned projects still in the various phases of development, that time is a long way off. Probably not in our lifetimes, IMO.
Well when every road is an interstate, there won't be many more to build.

That will not happen. Local roads will still be local roads.
I'm sure North Carolina will get around to them eventually.
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MantyMadTown

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2019, 08:45:34 PM »

As you have phrased it, I don't think that is a meaningful question to ask. "Completion" implies that at some point, all of our goals will be reached and we will be done, but as I'm sure you're aware, providing adequate transportation is a never ending chore.

However, as technology advances and changes, there will be a point in the future where no new Interstates will be built. Thus, I think it is more appropriate to ask "have we reached the maximum extent of the Interstate system?" And with the number of planned projects still in the various phases of development, that time is a long way off. Probably not in our lifetimes, IMO.
Well when every road is an interstate, there won't be many more to build.

That will not happen. Local roads will still be local roads.
I'm sure North Carolina will get around to them eventually.

I don't think you realize how impractical it would be for every single road to become an interstate. You have to have exits to somewhere, and it would require massive amounts of land to build all of the roads and interchanges to freeway standards, not to mention how expensive it would be.

For the sake of this thread, I'm talking about roads that could realistically be turned into interstates, not your pipe dream.
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Roadsguy

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2019, 11:39:46 PM »

As you have phrased it, I don't think that is a meaningful question to ask. "Completion" implies that at some point, all of our goals will be reached and we will be done, but as I'm sure you're aware, providing adequate transportation is a never ending chore.

However, as technology advances and changes, there will be a point in the future where no new Interstates will be built. Thus, I think it is more appropriate to ask "have we reached the maximum extent of the Interstate system?" And with the number of planned projects still in the various phases of development, that time is a long way off. Probably not in our lifetimes, IMO.
Well when every road is an interstate, there won't be many more to build.

That will not happen. Local roads will still be local roads.
I'm sure North Carolina will get around to them eventually.

I don't think you realize how impractical it would be for every single road to become an interstate. You have to have exits to somewhere, and it would require massive amounts of land to build all of the roads and interchanges to freeway standards, not to mention how expensive it would be.

For the sake of this thread, I'm talking about roads that could realistically be turned into interstates, not your pipe dream.

Whoosh?
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cabiness42

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2019, 08:11:07 AM »

As the population grows, there will never be an end to converting existing roads to freeways and/or building new freeways.  There may come a point when those freeways stop being designated as interstates.
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2019, 08:44:54 AM »

On February 30.
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2019, 08:50:18 AM »

On February 30.

This won't happen in the US, but:

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2/29 UTC+12
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SP Cook

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2019, 08:58:43 AM »

As the population grows, there will never be an end to converting existing roads to freeways and/or building new freeways.  There may come a point when those freeways stop being designated as interstates.

The first part is certainly correct.  As long as the USA stays on the right track, the population will grow and prosperity will continue and we will need more and more roads. 

As to stopping calling them interstates, I think this is a good idea, but people do not work that way.  People know what (with exceptions so trivial they are only discussed here) an "interstate" is.  It will always be easier to be for "building I-**" than "building a fully limited access stoplight free upgrade to US ** between X and Y".  It is just a better sound bite.
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Beltway

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2019, 09:08:44 AM »

As to stopping calling them interstates, I think this is a good idea, but people do not work that way.  People know what (with exceptions so trivial they are only discussed here) an "interstate" is.  It will always be easier to be for "building I-**" than "building a fully limited access stoplight free upgrade to US ** between X and Y".  It is just a better sound bite.

The FHWA definition of "freeway" has become much more widely known in the last 20 or 30 years.  Just use that one-word term for that type of highway.
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2019, 11:14:05 AM »

As the population grows, there will never be an end to converting existing roads to freeways and/or building new freeways.  There may come a point when those freeways stop being designated as interstates.

The first part is certainly correct.  As long as the USA stays on the right track, the population will grow and prosperity will continue and we will need more and more roads. 

As to stopping calling them interstates, I think this is a good idea, but people do not work that way.  People know what (with exceptions so trivial they are only discussed here) an "interstate" is.  It will always be easier to be for "building I-**" than "building a fully limited access stoplight free upgrade to US ** between X and Y".  It is just a better sound bite.

I disagree.  Population growth need not imply personal automobile transportation growth.  We can and should invest in public transit infrastructure, in coordination with walkable, higher-density, mixed-use communities, and safe bicycle transportation.  Most of the developed world has gone in this direction, and so can North America.  The Interstate Highway System served its purpose, but, as far as system expansion is concerned, let us consider it complete.  New improvements should be only for safety and public transit accommodation, not for increased personal automobile traffic flow.  Incomplete routes such as I-49, I-69, I-73, and I-74 should be reconsidered (some ideas here: https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=24474.0).
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SP Cook

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2019, 12:30:46 PM »

Well, no.  The job of government is to provide people with what they want, not to purposefully ignore needed improvements in order to force people into lifestyles they do not want.

There will be new cities in the future, and those cities will need good roads to connect to downtowns to the lifestyle the majority wants, the single family home in the suburb.
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2019, 01:06:47 PM »

the lifestyle the majority wants, the single family home in the suburb.

[citation needed]
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Rothman

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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2019, 01:16:12 PM »

https://www.builderonline.com/money/economics/80-percent-of-americans-prefer-single-family-homeownership_o

The idea that most people in the U.S. desire to live in an apartment above a commercial property (mixed-use) is laughable.
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Re: When will the interstate highway system ever be complete?
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2019, 01:24:49 PM »

Probably never, but that's why we have all those great ideas floating around here...

Counterpoint: It'll also be the time when the US Highway system becomes totally obsolete. And once again, that'll never happen in our lifetimes either, no matter how badly FritzOwl wants it to happen.

Well unlike FritzOwl, I don't want the US Highway system to become obsolete. I think both the Interstate system and the US Highway system can be compatible with each other.
It won't. For example, US-101 between Eureka, CA and Brookings, OR is four-laned and effectively a freeway in many places, but not everywhere (due to geography). And even those freeway segments have 7% grades, not allowed for interstates. So no matter what, there will always be a need for a secondary national system, which the US routes provide.
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