Monday, October 23, 2006

Interstate-49 Extension

Start: Lafayette, LA – End: Shreveport, LA
Start: New Orleans, LA – End: Fort Smith, AR

Est. Length: 236 miles

Benefits: Economic Development, Fuel/Environmental, Population Centers, Evacuation Route, Existing Highway

Connecting: LA: Shreveport. AR: Texarkana, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, MO: Joplin, Kansas City.

Intersections: I-16, Texarkana to Paris, TX; I-540, OK

Extending Interstate-49 from Shreveport, Louisiana to Texarkana, Arkansas will provide a short but critical extension for hurricane evacuation traffic. The route from Shreveport will join with SR-549 at Fouke, Arkansas to form the extended I-49. North of Texarkana, I-49 will continue to Fort Smith where it will join with I-540 spur. I-540 will be re-designated to I-49 to Fayetteville. North of Fayetteville, I-49 might join together sections of US-71 to form I-49 to Kansas City, MO.

A southern Louisiana section of the I-49 will continue from I-10 to New Orleans. The southern route will further assist in evacuations as well as economic development.

A number of economic development groups, political officials and interested citizens have formed non-profit organizations to promote the I-49 extension. The I-49 International Coalition has hosted a conference to study potential funding sources. Many good websites and news sources provide extensive detail about this Interstate project.

Additional I-49 post updates:

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Interstate-459 Loop Extension (JeffCo Perimeter)

Start: I-20/59 @ I-459 South – End: Trussville, AL
(western segment not included in Interstate-22 Extension)

Est. Length: 55 miles (I-20/59 to Trussville)

Benefits: Economic Growth, Population Centers, Environmental/Fuel, Existing Highway

Connecting: AL: Birmingham, Hoover, west Jefferson County, Graysville, Center Pointe, Gardendale, Trussville, Moody, North Johns/Adger.

Intersections: I-59/20, North Johns/Adger/Cow Gap, AL; I-22, Graysville/Adamsville (merge), AL; I-65, Gardendale; I-59, Trussville (split).

With the suggested extension of Interstate-22 from Graysville, Alabama north of Birmingham, a western segment extension of I-459 to connect with Interstate-22 from the south to cross I-459 at the intersection with I-20/59 would provide a perimeter bypass for Birmingham, Alabama improving traffic flow through the fast growing southern and eastern metropolitan areas. A northern extension of I-459 is already planned as High Priority Corridor 28. The extension of I-22 from Graysville to Gardendale and Center Point to north of Trussville would provide the largest segment of the northern extension with co-routing/signing with I-459. I-22 would continue its south-southeasterly route to around Harpersville to route along with all or parts of the recently widened U.S. 280. I-59 would then be co-signed with I-459 from the I-22/I-59 intersection south to the I-459 intersection. The new northern segment with I-22, and western segment would form the remainder of the I-459 JeffCo (Jefferson County) Perimeter.

The northern arc around Birmingham would allow a bypass alleviating heavy traffic in the inner city along I-65 and I-59/20 as well as be a less expensive land acquisition method.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Interstate-59 Extension

Start: Alton, LA – End: Lookout Mountain, GA
Start: Lookout Mtn, GA – End: Cookeville, TN

Est. Length: 84 miles.

Benefits: Economic Growth, Environmental/Fuel, Population Centers, Existing Highways

Connecting: TN: Cookeville, Chattanooga. GA: Lookout Mtn. AL: Birmingham/Hoover. MS: Meridian, Hattiesburg. LA: New Orleans.

Intersections: I-40, Cookeville; I-75/81 Chattanooga, I-30, Scottsboro; I-22, I-20, Birmingham; I-14, Meridian-Hattiesburg. I-10, Slidell.

With a co-signed route with I-24, the I-59 extension from its current terminus at Lookout Mountain, Georgia to Cookeville, Tennessee and utilization of US-27 might then be extended to Cookeville, Tennessee utilizing SR-111 north of Sparta. The suggested route along the Marion and counties border via Signal Mountain to Soddy-Daisy might provide a western Chattanooga Loop Interstate. Future extensions north might extend I-59 to Terre Haute, Indiana via Owensboro/Evansville or Louisville, Kentucky via Somerset.

Such Interstate suggestions might be considered ‘housekeeping’, as the Interstate highway system seems to randomly abandon some Interstate routes, or perhaps original extension plans were never completed.

Start: Mobile, AL – End: Carlston, MO

Est. Length: TBD s (Mobile to I-155 @ Dyersburg, TN)

Benefits: Homeland Security, Economic Development, Population Centers, Evacuation Route, Existing Highways

Connecting: AL: Mobile. MS: Meridian, Starkville/Columbus, Tupelo, Corinth. TN: Jackson, Dyersburg @ I-155.

Intersections: I-20/59 Meridian, MS; I-16 Extension Columbus/Starkville, MS; I-22 Tupelo, MS; I-40 Jackson, TN, I-55, Carlston, MO.

Description: A new Interstate, I-7 provides a critical northern route from the Gulf Coast at Mobile, Alabama. The northern route provides links to northern population centers to Gulf Coast ports. I-7 will also relieve Interstate’s 65 and 59 as a critical hurricane evacuation route. As the resident and tourist populations continue to grow along the Gulf Coast, better transportation routes are required for economic opportunity as well as for emergency evacuations.

The connection at Dyersburg allows for the re-designation of I-155 to I-7 and creates the terminus for I-7 at Carleston, MO. Future expansions would provide important economic route between the Midwest and Southern states.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Benning Beltway (I-222 suggested)

Benning Beltway (I-222 suggested)

Start: Upper Bradley Place, GA – End: Motts, AL (Section not included in I-14/16 Extension and I-22 Extension)

Est. Length: 30 Miles (160 miles including I-14 & I-22 segments)

Benefits: Homeland Security, Economic Development, Environmental/Fuel, Existing Interstate

Connecting: GA: Columbus, Harris, Cataula, Waverly Hall, Talbot, Marion, Juniper, Chattahoochee, Cusseta, North Bradley Place. AL: Motts, Phenix City, Crawford, Fort Mitchell, Holy Trinity, Russell, Lee

Intersections: I-22 segment Motts, AL (merge); I-81 (I-185) Fortson, GA; I-14; I-81, Holy Trinity, AL; I-22, Motts, AL.

Description: Fort Benning, Georgia/Alabama is a major military installation with operations critical to the security of the United States of America. Fort Benning is also a primary economic engine for the Greater Columbus, Georgia market in West Georgia and East Alabama. While the base continues to be critical to the growth of the market, it is ironically at the same time a roadblock to growth in the southern metropolitan areas.

There is a need to cure the economic disadvantage for Chattahoochee and Marion counties in Georgia and others caused by the separation from the regional economic center of Columbus. An extension of Interstate-185 (I-81) (discussed here) would provide much needed transportation infrastructure to southern Georgia and Alabama. At the same time, new realities for maintaining security on base are maintaining a constantly open thoroughfare through Fort Benning impractical. Therefore, a suggested perimeter highway encompassing Columbus, much like the Atlanta Perimeter, but skirting around the entire military installation would provide much needed north/south access while allowing the Base to implement and maintain complete lock-down security when necessary.

An alternate proposal for both I-16 and I-14 suggests co-routing with I-85 to about Opelika/Auburn, Alabama. While this proposal has some merit, I-85 between Montgomery and Atlanta, Georgia is a heavily traveled Interstate and imposing the additional east-west traffic would most certainly require a widening project to and through downtown Montgomery which would be costly and disruptive. While there is a vital economic benefit to be had connecting the Columbus-Opelika-Auburn (COA) Combined Statistical Area with Interstate highway, the southern routes around the metro areas is likely the most cost effective routes. The opportunity to extend Interstate-22 from Birmingham, Alabama would ultimately provide the Interstate-link with the suggested I-222 Benning Beltway loop to connect the COA.

As discussed in the sections for I-14 and I-22, large portions of the I-222 Beltway’s creation would be constructed as segments of other new Interstates as the routes traverse the Columbus metropolitan area. Only the shortest western segment of the I-222 Benning Beltway will not be formed by the route of another newly created Interstate. Those portions of I-14 and I-22 encircling Columbus/Ft Benning would be co-signed I-222.

For Interstate commerce, the I-22 segment of the Beltway will provide much needed bridges over the Chattahoochee River between Harris County, Georgia and Lee County, Alabama in the north, and Chattahoochee County, Georgia and Russell County, Alabama in the south with the I-14 segment.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I-185 Extension (I-81 re-designation), I-30 Extension (Atlanta Outer Perimeter)

I-81 and I-30 at Atlanta (North and West segments for Atlanta Outer Perimeter)

View Larger Map

Start: I-30 @ I-20 at East of Atlanta
to I-30 @ I-81 East of Rome
End: I-81 @ I-85 West of Newnan

Est. Length: Included in I-30 and I-81

Benefits: Economic Growth, Environmental/Fuel, Population Centers, Existing (Proposed) Interstates

Connecting: GA: LaGrange, Newnan, Carrollton, Rome, Cartersville, Canton, Buford, Auburn, Winder

I-30 Intersections: Wrens, GA; I-20, Thomson/Wrightsboro, GA; I-85, Suwanee, GA; I-575, Canton, GA; I-75, Cartersville, GA; I-81, Rome, GA.
I-81 Intersections: I-85, Newnan, GA; I-20, Waco, GA; I-30, Rome, GA.

Loop Interstate-285, the 63-mile Atlanta Perimeter, opened in 1969 to serve as a bypass for inter-city travelers on I-85, I-75, and I-20. As the Atlanta metropolitan district has grown, I-285’s purpose has shifted to serve primarily as an important intra-metro highway for the Atlanta metropolitan district. While necessary and important, this dual purpose creates severe congestion and hazard for drivers and contributes to poor air quality and poor fuel consumption. An Outer Perimeter to divert inter-city traffic as a means to alleviate congestion has been discussed in the region for several years.

While a project such as an outer perimeter for Atlanta benefits regional populations with improved traffic flow for inter-city travelers, the project is perceived as an Atlanta special project. By routing the new I-30 (currently proposed I-3) and extending I-185 (to be re-designated I-81) from Newnan to near Chattanooga, the two projects together provide northern and western segments for an outer bypass around Atlanta. Though improving traffic conditions on I-285 and benefiting Atlanta, the Atlanta Outer Perimeter project, because of its positive impact on regional Interstate traffic, becomes justifiable to support from other jurisdictions in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and elsewhere throughout the south.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Interstate-16 Extension

Start: Savannah, GA – End: Macon, GA
(Extension Phase) Start: Macon, Ga – End: Lubbock, TX

Est. Length: TBD

Benefits: Homeland Security, Economic Growth, Population Centers, Environmental/Fuel, Evacuation Route

Connecting: GA: Savannah, Macon/Warner Robins, Columbus. AL: Opelika/Auburn, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa. MS: Columbus, Starkville, Greenville. AR: El Dorado, Texarkana. OK: Durant, Ardmore. TX: Paris, Wichita Falls, Guthrie, Lubbock.

Intersections: I-95, Savannah, GA; I-75, Macon, GA; I-85, Auburn/Opelika, AL, I-65, Montgomery, AL; I-20/59 Birmingham/Tuscaloosa, AL; I-55, Winona, MS; I-30, Texarkana, AR; I-35 Ardmore, OK; I-44, Wichita Falls, TX.

Description: Completed in 1968, Interstate-16 runs between Savannah and Macon, Georgia. An extension of I-16, Corridor 6, is presently included in ISTEA/NHS/TEA-21 as the sixth highest priority corridor. Corridor 6 contemplates an east-west route between Macon, Georgia and Meridian, Mississippi using portions of U.S. 80.

A similar east-west route is considered with the proposed I-14. This Project suggests the western extension for I-16 co-route with I-14 between Warner Robins, Georgia and west of Montgomery (Selma), Alabama. I-16 and 14 would be co-signed for that distance to Montgomery, as well as with an I-85 extension west of Montgomery to about Selma (I-85 is suggested to split south to Biloxi). West of Montgomery, I-14 will split and continue east to Meridian while I-16 will continue north-northeast toward Tuscaloosa to Columbus, Mississippi.

The suggested/proposed routes for both I-16 and I-14 would create southern loop Interstate highways for metro-Macon, Georgia, Columbus, Georgia and Montgomery, Alabama. Interstate 16 in Macon, and 85 in Montgomery, as well as the limited-access segment of U.S. 80 in Columbus are heavily traveled and would benefit from an alternate metro route to avoid mixing inter- and intra-metro traffic. These loop segments, along with the suggested I-22 Extension, create wide-loop interstates around these metro areas, however linking small towns around the central business districts is given serious consideration.

An alternate proposal for both I-16 and I-14 suggests co-routing with I-85 to about Opelika/Auburn, Alabama. While this proposal has some merit, I-85 between Montgomery and Atlanta, Georgia is a heavily traveled Interstate and imposing the additional east-west traffic would most certainly require a widening project to and through downtown Montgomery which would be costly and disruptive to well established neighborhoods.

From western Alabama, I-16 will route across north Mississippi, south Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas ultimately terminating at Lubbock. While I-14’s route is through the southern regions of the Southern states, and the suggested I-30 Extension is through the northern sections of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, I-16 is the Interstate binding the middle portions of these states. Once complete, these Interstates will be roughly the same distance apart as Interstates 55, 65, 75 and 85 as north-south routes.

That portion of current I-16 between Macon and the new I-16 direction west at Warner Robins would be designated as I-116 spur.

I-16’s existing termination at Savannah, Georgia will provide an important east-west link with Georgia’s port coast to the Southwestern states.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I-81 - From Lake Ontario to the Gulf Coast

Interstate-81 (Interstate-185 Re-designation and Extension)

Start: Fisher’s Landing, NY – End: Apalachicola, FLI-DOTS Phase I - Start: Columbus, GA - End: Apalachicola, FL
I-DOTS Phase II - Start: Calhoun, GA – End: Newnan, GA

Phase I - Est. Length: 185 miles
Phase II - Est. Length: 75 miles

Benefits: Homeland Security, Economic Growth, Environmental/Fuel, Population Centers, Evacuation Route

Phase I Connecting: GA: Atlanta (via I-85), Columbus. AL: Dothan. FL: Panama City, Tallahassee (via I-10).
Phase II Connecting: GA: Atlanta, LaGrange, Columbus. Newnan, Carrollton, Rome. TN: Chattanooga, Knoxville (via co-routing overlay with I-75)

Intersections: I-10, Chipley, FL; I-85, Newnan, GA; I-20, Waco, GA; I-30, Rome, GA; I-75, Calhoun, GA.

I-81 currently exists as a north-south Interstate currently with a southern terminus at Dandridge, Tennessee east of Knoxville and terminating near the Canadian border at Fisher’s Landing, New York. It is suggested that Interstate-185 and its suggested northern and southern extensions be re-designated as the southern segment of I-81. I-40 in Tennessee and I-75 in Tennessee and Georgia would be co-signed as I-81 until Calhoun, Georgia. At Calhoun, I-81 would again split from I-75 to form the northern extension of Interstate-185, which connects Columbus, Georgia to Atlanta via Interstate-85.

At it’s intersection with I-85 at Newnan, Georgia, I-81 would be co-signed with I-85 until it Splits again at LaGrange, Georgia with the existing I-185 to Columbus, Georgia. The Calhoun to Newnan segment would form the western segment of Atlanta’s Outer Perimeter. The new extension would bring Dothan, Alabama, nearby Enterprise, Alabama and Panama City, Florida to the Interstate highway system and provide a long needed safe north-south route to Florida’s gulf coast. Together, the northern and southern extensions for I-81 (I-185) would divert significant north-south and gulf coast-bound traffic from the I-285 Atlanta Perimeter.

The extension also picks up a bi-state border that is one of the most economically depressed regions of the nation. Passing through eastern side of Lake Walter F. George through Clay County, Georgia before crossing into Alabama to connect Dothan. Clay County is one of Georgia’s poorest counties and the county farthest from Interstate access.

Merging with I-75 north of Atlanta and splitting again at Dandridge, TN, the entire route of I-81 would include these major cities: VA: Bristol, Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Winchester. WV: Martinsburg. MD: Hagerstown. PA: Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton. NY: Binghamton, Syracuse, Watertown near Fort Drum at the Canadian border.

Start: Baton Rouge, LA – End: Jefferson City, MO

Est. Length: TBD

Benefits: Economic Growth, Population Centers, Evacuation Route, Existing Highways

Connecting: LA: Baton Rouge, Monroe. MS: Natchez. AR: Pine Bluff, Little Rock. MO: Branson, Springfield, Jefferson City

Intersections: I-20, Monroe, LA; I-30 & I-40, Little Rock, AK; I-44, Springfield, MO; I-70, Kingdom City, MO.

Extending Interstate-110, an I-10 Spur in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, north to connect with a southern extension of Interstate-530 – an I-30 Spur - from Little Rock, Arkansas would form a new North-South Interstate with the suggested new designation of I-11. This suggested new and extended interstate would allow critical north-south evacuation route as well as much needed economic development for Louisiana and south Arkansas.

Further, co-routing with I-40 north of Little Rock and extending I-11 north to Branson, Missouri, Springfield and Jefferson City providing an interstate link between three capitol cities in the region. Future extensions north might eventually provide a north-south route from population centers and Great Lakes shipping centers to new population centers and Gulf Coast shipping centers.
Interstate-30 Extension (currently proposed I-3)

Start: Beaufort, SC – End: Fort Worth, TX
(currently) Start: Little Rock, AR - End: Fort Worth/Dallas, TX
Start: Beufort, SC - End: Arkadelphia, AR

Est. length: 420 miles (Beaufort, SC to Arkadelphia, AR)

Benefits: Homeland Security, Economic Growth, Environmental/Fuel, Population Centers, Existing Highways, Evacuation Route.

Connecting: SC: Beaufort/Hilton Head. GA: Augusta, Athens, Atlanta, Rome. AL: Scottsboro, Huntsville, Decatur, Florence. TN: Chattanooga, Knoxville (via I-75). MS: Iuka, Ripley, Oxford (Lafayette). AR: Arkadelphia (joins existing I-30), Little Rock, Texarkana. TX: Texarkana, Fort Worth/Dallas.

Intersections: I-95, Ridgeland, SC; I-14, Wrens, GA; I-20, Thomson/Wrightsboro, GA; I-85, Suwanee, GA; I-575, Canton, GA; I-75, Cartersville, GA; I-81, Rome, GA; I-59, Fort Payne, AL; I-65, Dacatur, AL.

The northern route of the proposed Interstate-3 is disputed by many North Georgia mountain counties. Diverse interest groups throughout the Great Smokey Mountain region in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee are also opposed to the route as currently proposed.

To achieve a coastal connection with eastern Tennessee, an alternative route for the Interstate might take a more east-west route from August, Georgia to near Athens, Georgia, then directing north to join with I-75 north of Atlanta. This suggested route would allow the Interstate to utilize the existing I-75 to route traffic Chattanooga and then into Knoxville as originally planned. The South Carolina section to Augusta, Georgia would provide limited-access highway connections for the military installations of in South Carolina with Fort Gordon in Georgia. An east-west route would require an even number to fit in to the Interstate vernacular. I-30 is suggested to replace the proposed I-3.

The new Interstate-30 forms another primary and vital hurricane evacuation route for the South Carolina southern and Georgia northern Atlantic coast. There are several key military installations in the area including Beaufort Marine Corp Air Station, Laurel Bay Naval Area, U.S. Naval Hospital, and Paris Island.

Further, this route would allow Interstate-30 to cross north Georgia and along the outer boundary of Metro Atlanta. As the highway routes through north Alabama at Scottsboro and on to join with the Interestate-565 Spur at Huntsville. It is further suggested that I-565 be re-designated as I-30.

The new Interstate-30 might ultimately form the northern segment of Atlanta’s Outer Perimeter or Northern Arc. While even this project is contested by some communities, it remains a viable future project worthy of further consideration.

Joining with I-30’s current eastern terminus in Little Rock, Arkansas, Interstate-30 would ultimately go from the Atlantic coast in South Carolina to Fort Worth, Texas providing important interstate access to international shipping ports at South Carolina and Georgia. The current segment of I-30 between Arkadelphia and Little Rock would be re-designated I-130, an Interstate spur of the new I-30 Extension.

I-30 (I-3) is one of two new interstates proposed by current legislation. The other, I-14, is also an east-west route proposed to terminate in Texas. I-14's routes through southern regions of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and middle Texas, while I-30's suggested route here takes a route through northern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, southern Arkansas and norhtern Texas.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Interstate-22 Extension (Phase I - Eastern)

Start: Jonesboro, AR - End: Brunswick, GA
(currently) Start: Memphis, TN – End: Birmingham, AL
I-DOTS (Phase I) - Start: Birmingham, AL – End: Brunswick, GA
I-DOTS (Phase II) - Start: Memphis TN - End: Jonesboro, AR

Est. Length:
425 miles (Phase I)

: Homeland Security, Population Centers, Economic Growth, Environmental/Fuel, Evacuation Route, Utilization of Existing Highways

AR: Jonesboro TN: Memphis. MS: Tupelo. AL: Birmingham, Auburn/Opelika, Phenix City/Smiths. GA: Columbus, Albany, Waycross, Brunswick

Intersections: (Phase I) I-459 West, Adamsville, AL (merge); I-65, Gardendale, AL; I-59 @ I-459 (merge); I-459 Split at Grants Mill; I-85, Opelika/Auburn, AL; I-81 (I-185), Fortson, GA; I-75, Tifton, GA; I-95, Brunswick, GA

Description: Interstate-22 is currently being developed connecting Memphis, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama and scheduled for completion in 2006. Continuing the natural southeastern path, the Interstate extension enters Georgia north of Columbus and terminates at Georgia’s coast near Savannah at Brunswick/St. Simons. The suggested east-west route across Georgia would upgrade GA-520/Corridor Z adding Albany and Waycross, Georgia to the Interstate System and intersecting with I-75 south of Tifton at Adel and travel between Sylvester and Moultrie, Georgia adding those towns to the Interstate System.

Creating an additional connection with Georgia’s coast at Brunswick is carries economic benefits to international shipping in the Southeast. As western ports struggle with Asian import traffic, some oceanic traffic is shifting to eastern ports and will continue to grow as Panama's canal undergoes upgrades to accomodate modern cargo ships. Improved interstate highway systems from Georgia’s ports provide incentive and infrastructure to accommodate increased shipping traffic throughout the region.

Around north Birmingham metropolitan area, the extension of I-22 from Jasper through Sumiton, Gardendale and Center Point to connect with I-459’s northern terminus would form the northern segment for the suggested completion of the I-459 JeffCo (Jefferson County) Perimeter. I-22 and I-459 would share the northern segment to Gardendale where I-22 would continue to Sumiton and southeast and I-459 to Adamsville.

The Interstate’s trek through east Alabama might roughly follow and utilize parts of the recently widened US-280. North of Smiths Station, Alabama, the Interstate would turn and cross the Chattahoochee River between lakes Oliver and Harding into extreme northwest Muscogee or southwest Harris County. Traveling east then turning south through extreme eastern Muscogee County, traveling through southwestern Talbot County utilizing a portion of recently widened U.S. 80, and north-south through Marion County eventually intersecting with Interstate-14 (proposed) and forming the north and east segments of the (suggested) Interstate-222 Benning Beltway which would ultimately encircle the Columbus/Fort Benning area.

North of Memphis, Tennessee, I-22 might be extended to Jonesboro, Arkansas by co-signing with I-55 to Turrell, Tennessee where it will split and follow with US-63 to Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Additional I-22 post updates:

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Interstate-14 - Fourteenth Amendment Highway

Interstate-14 (currently proposed)

Start: Aiken, SC End: Midland, TX

Est. Length:
 1,200 miles (Augusta to Houston)

Benefits: Homeland Security, Economic Development, Environmental/Fuel, Population Centers, Existing Highways

Connecting: SC: Aiken. GA: Augusta, Macon/Warner Robins, Columbus. AL: Montgomery. MS: Meridian, Hattiesburg, Natchez. LA: Alexandria. TX: Jasper, Houston (at Huntsville), College Station, Killeen, San Angelo, Midland

Intersections: I-20 Aiken, SC; I-30, Augusta, GA; I-16, Macon/Warner Robins, GA; I-75, Macon/Warner Robins, GA; I-22, Columbus, GA (proposed); I-81, Columbus, GA (proposed); I-314 Montgomery, AL, I-65 Montgomery, I-85 Montgomery (merge), I-85 Split, Selma, AL; I-7, Fruitdale, AL; I-59, Laurel, MS, I-55; Brookhaven, MS; I-11, Natchez, MS; I-49, Alexandria, LA; I-45, Huntsville, TX, I-35, Temple, TX; I-20, Midland, TX.

Description: A new Interstate highway from Augusta, Georgia to Natchez, Mississippi has already been funded for study. This highway has broad appeal and promises economic growth to those areas of the deep south left off of the original Interstate highway systems. By beginning the highway in Aiken, South Carolina, and utilizing a segment of I-520, Interstate-14 can extend it’s ultimate route and incorporate a larger portion of metro Augusta. An intersection with the proposed Interstate-3 (see I-30) would form a large loop highway around Fort Gordon, Georgia. I-14 will ultimately connect Aiken, South Carolina/Augusta, Georgia on the east with Houston, Texas in the west.

Many Columbus, Georgia area leaders are supporting the highway and some are further proposing that the highway run through the southern portions of metro Columbus. By doing this, the proposed I-14 would merge with and form the southern portion of the proposed Benning Beltway. Southern routes through Greater Augusta, Greater Macon, Greater Columbus and Greater Montgomery would also provide an important link between military bases – Maxwell, Benning, Robins and Gordon.

Funding for studying an Interstate-85 extension west of Montgomery, Alabama has recently been approved. A portion of Interstate-14 might also merge with all or parts of the extension of I-85 west of Montgomery, Alabama and form a large section of the Interstate through western Alabama as it dissects a significant portion of Alabama between I-59/20 to its north and I-65 to the south.

The route through western Alabama suggests an intersection with I-20/59 east of Meridian, Mississippi. A merger there would co-route with I-59 to south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi where I-14 would split to continue a western route.

The long-range extension of the new Interstate-14 might include a western route from Natchez, Mississippi to Alexandria, Louisiana and into Texas terminating at I-45 north of Houston at Huntsville, Texas. As discussed in a later installment, I-85 might then split with I-14 west of Montgomery, to take a southern route to coastal Mississippi at Biloxi.

UPDATE: This post has been updated to include I-14 extension plans in Texas by the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition. Texas officials are promoting the highway, which is already under development in that state, as the "Forts to Ports" highway. Though originally proposed by Georgia and Alabama officials, the highway is currently not in progress in those states.

In Georgia, the original route for I-14 took on the nickname of "Fall Line Freeway" for it's course along the geological 'fall-line' from Augusta, GA to Columbus, GA. However, the freeway plan was downgraded to a 'developmental' highway as part of the Governors Road Improvement Program. The portion of the highway through Columbus known as the JR Allen Parkway is currently the only interstate-grade portion outside Texas. Because of development that has occurred in metro Columbus around the parkway, this proposal, however, suggests a southern route around the city to open lands for additional manufacturing development and better connect Fort Benning, GA to other military bases along the "Forts to Ports" route.

Additional I-14 posts:
US 190 in Texas to become new Interstate 14
Gulf Coast Strategic Highway

Interstate highways have a number of benefits to the regions and communities they impact. Six of the core benefits are summarized below and each provides a justification for each new suggested Interstate project. The six justifications are outlined as follows:

Homeland Security

Large military installations require access to excellent transportation just as civilian population centers. Yet military installations simultaneously have a need for capabilities to restrict access to certain areas. Further, we can see now that there may be a time in the future when military bases may need to completely quarantine the entire base. In places like Fort Benning, Georgia, where a major highway connects the base with regional population areas, the same major highways are primary civilian transportation routes connecting agriculture, tourism and manufacturing regions in the south with population centers to the north. In response to new security concerns, Fort Benning has recently begun installing checkpoints and limiting access to the military base off of the major thoroughfares. In the event Fort Benning needed to completely secure the base's perimeter, the Florida panhandle, and rural areas in south Georgia and Alabama would need to be re-routed around the base and place an immense strain on secondary highways and local roads placing drivers and local populations in danger for an uncertain period. The economies of the communities around such bases would also suffer if the military needed to secure the bases.

Connectivity to Population Centers

Cities and towns in the south have experienced phenomenal growth due to shifting population trends. There are a few metropolitan areas now that are not served by the Interstate System and so are isolated from their state capitols and other economic hubs throughout the region. During the original round of Interstate System planning, no city in Georgia and Alabama left off of the system was larger than Columbus, Georgia at the time. Isolated until the construction of the I-185 spur, Columbus is to the present day the one of largest metropolitan areas in the Southeast region to be ignored by the Eisenhower Interstate System. Likewise metropolitan areas like Huntsville and Dothan, Alabama, and Athens and Albany, Georgia remain unconnected to other area population and economic centers.

In the original round of Interstate development, the primary population centers were inter-connected. The DOTS project does suggest further inter-connectivity of secondary, tertiary and even quanternary population centers as many of these have grown to population densities similar to those originally cities and towns which where originally connected via the Interstate System.

Economic Growth

The Eisenhower Interstate System has been enormously successful as a tool of economic development. Undeniably, instance after instance of announcements of plant openings and closings produce winners and losers in economic development - with winners most often located near well integrated interstate systems. Naturally, excellent transportation isn’t the single factor employers seek when evaluating potential sites, other factors such as education, availability of employees, quality of life amenities and others are important.

U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that every $1 billion of investment in federal highway construction brings approximately 42,100 full-time jobs with it to those areas along the route. Headlines like these - “…build $10 million HQ on I-30…considered many locations along Interstate 30…” for Southern Refrigerated Transport, and “…Creeping East Down I-85…a new cluster has formed along Interstate 85…” referring to the many new automotive plant announcements in the Auburn-Opelika area, and 400 Jobs Created, when Honda came to Georgia and “…picked the site near I-20…”; sadly give way to headlines like these in Taccoa, Georgia, “145 to lose jobs after tool plant closure… because the area doesn’t have access to major highways like I-85.”

Georgia’s international port at Savannah should also be considered a key economic link to the rest of the south. IKEA’s recent announcement demonstrates the need for better highway infrastructure from the rest of the nation to Southeastern coasts. Interstates suggested in this document demonstrate vital links west and north for coastal Alabama, Mississppi, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

Environmental/Fuel Economy/Driver safety

Even as interstate systems have brought economic development, so have they encouraged, to some extent, suburban sprawl. Suburban sprawl has received the principal blame for the decay of city centers. Recent trends even in areas with excellent integrated highway systems such as Atlanta, however, have seen a rebirth of inner city growth. As citizens in such urban areas have stretched the limits of acceptable commute, and are now returning to the historically traditional community, so the Interstates are returning to their original intent as transportation corridors between population centers.

Limited-access Interstate highways are designed for and much more suited for inter-metro traffic. Locally, citizens do benefit from limited access highways used for effective intra-metro travel. Widened highways serve short distances well as connections between business districts and the smaller towns and suburbs that make up metropolitan areas. As local development occurs curb-cuts are permitted and traffic lights installed up and down these (four-laned) widened highways invite congestion and stop-and-go traffic. Stop-and-go traffic creates, according to some reports, as much as 30% of the pollution experienced in and around metropolitan areas. Stop-and-go traffic is also a chief contributor to poor fuel economy.

While highways are not usually associated with fuel economy or environmental improvement, avoidance of such issues as stop-and-go traffic should be considered as a point of compromise. Advocating new Interstate highways should not be perceived as superceding better solutitions, like rapid transit, for highly urbanized areas.

Further, for driver safety (as well as fuel economy and environmental issues), mingling of long-distance inter-metro and short-distance intra-metro local traffic should be avoided when possible. Where loop highways are suggested, for example, this document suggests larger loops than were installed in urban areas in the 1970's and '80's.

Evacuation Routes

Recent safety and security realities produce a compelling interest in providing new highways. A desperate need for more north-south limited access corridors was evidenced by hurricane activity. As tourism and residential populations continue to swell along the coasts, the need for effective access to coastal areas from population centers, and the capability to evacuate coastal areas will only become more critical. There are currently several Interstate widening plans on the drawing board in many coastal states, such as I-65 in Alabama. Here, we suggest creating new Interestates to achieve multiple goals outlined in this document. Biloxi, Mississippi, for instance, is a growing tourist destination and population center due to its casino businesses. Biloxi was also hard hit by Hurrican Katrina in 2005. Evacuation from Bilixi requires first east or west travel before a northern route can be accessed. By extending I-85 south from Montgomery, and through intersections with other suggested new Interstates like I-7 and I-14 and I-16 at Montgomery, a new network of evacuation routes are available to Biloxi residents and visitors. The I-85 extension also provides improved routes from population centers like Atlanta for tourism development and further economic development.

Utilization of Existing Highways

The expense of Interstate Highway development has risen throughout the decades. Figures aren’t readily available to adjust for inflation, so it is uncertain if the today’s cost is substantially different from the cost in the 1960’s or subsequent decades. However, whenever reasonable and appropriate, new Interstate Highway development should 1) merge with existing Interstate highways, 2) extend existing Spurs of Interstate highways, 3) utilize limited-access highway portions, 4) upgrade existing four-lane highways, 5) piggy-back on current planning of new Interstate systems, and 6) divert highway and Interstate-widening budgets, for evacuation routes for example.

Some budget savings may be achieved through route planning. When approaching metro-areas, most of these suggested Interstate routes create broad loop highways around the metro-core. At Birmingham, Alabama, for example, a partial loop was created with the construction of I-459. The suggested southeast extension of I-22 takes a northern arc to meet with I-459 to complete the Birmingham metro loop.

As each is discussed, a suggested Interstate development is identified by one the symbols associated with each of the criterion it meets. All of the Interstate highways meet both the Economic Growth Potential and Fuel Economy & Environmental and Driver Safety criteria, simply because these are so closely associated with highway development.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Deep-South Optimized Transportation System (DOTS)

Suggested Highways from South Carolina to Texas
2005 - 2050


The Southern United States is expected to be home to 40 percent of the nations population by the year 2030. As populations have migrated south, highway and transportation systems development has struggled to keep pace. A bold vision and commitment are called for to accommodate the projected growth and to finally connect the South’s mature, present and emerging population centers.

The Deep-South Optimal Transportation System (DOTS) Project seeks to connect long ignored population centers of the Deep-South - areas of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to and as well as the Carolinas, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Texas and beyond. A vastly improved network of Interstate highways is necessary to help connect tertiary and quaternary population centers to primary and secondary population centers. The improved network provides an alternative to bulging ‘Megapolitans’ (like Atlanta) for migrating populations while providing access to the amenities these primary population centers offer. In other words, the highways suggested in this document ‘connect the dots’ around the rest of the South.

This Project Report considers six broad justifications to review when discussing new Interstate System development. The subject areas focus on military installation security and connections, connecting population and economic centers, invigorating economic growth between economic centers, producing fuel economy between and around metropolitan areas, promoting coastal evacuation highway development, and utilizing existing highways, highway segments, and stubs where feasible. Yet, since some of these justifications are quite interconnected, it is difficult to consider any one independently.

Look here for a full detail of the six areas of justification.