Thursday, September 11, 2003

Does I-75 need to be widened?

Readers' views

Don't widen I-75, build new parallel interstate

Widening I-75 to six lanes each way is not the answer. Widening I-275 is not the answer. Mass transit is not the answer. These are all local solutions to a problem that is not just local. The fact is that the I-75 problem is an interstate problem - convoys of trucks and other interstate travelers passing through Cincinnati on their way from Michigan to Florida or vice-versa. They do this because it is the shortest route. The solution is to build a new interstate highway, one parallel to I-75 from north of Dayton to south of Cincinnati, one providing a new shortest route. Such a highway would bypass one of the largest regions of urban sprawl in the country, the growing Dayton-Cincinnati megacity. Widening I-75 and adding new exits will only increase the urban sprawl along it. Look what happened once the Union Center exit was opened.

I-275 was built to bypass only Cincinnati; but that city continues to expand to the north. Soon, through its suburbs, it will effectively merge with Dayton. What is needed is a road that will take north-south travelers, including the huge number of truckers, around the whole megacity.

Such a highway could be built. Sure it will be more expensive; but by the time we expand I-75 to six lanes, such a bypass will be needed anyway. And the new highway could be built without disrupting current traffic on the old one.

Bill Richardson, Loveland

Make through trucks go around the beltway

$1.6 billion! Help! Here's an alternative and I apologize if this idea seems too simple but I'm not a transportation expert.

Eliminate I-75 tractor-trailer traffic (except for local deliveries) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and reroute it around the beltway, thus reducing congestion and numerous truck/auto accidents. A further benefit would be to reduce the strain on the Brent Spence Bridge.

And please, listen to the folks who always pick up the tab. Drive the final nail into the light rail coffin.

If the folks at OKI need some ideas on how to police the above alternative (and make some money in the process) feel free to contact me. I'll provide the additional information at no cost!

Steve Statkus, Mount Washington

Correct I-275 failing with straight route

The seeds of today's traffic problems were sown with the design of I-275 in Kentucky, oriented toward opening land around the airport for commercial development. The problem is perpetuated by a federal policy of no new interstate roads, even when it would be cheaper and would serve far more people than light rail or widening existing roads. It is time to go back to the drawing board.

For a birds-eye view of the problem notice that the beltway around Cincinnati is really only a half circle; the stretch in Northern Kentucky is almost a straight line from east to West. This adds 15-20 miles to the trip for anyone wishing to by-pass downtown via I-275, certainly a strong disincentive to do so.

To provide a near straight-line detour around downtown for I-71/I-75 one need only continue I-71 from Walton, through Kenton & Campbell County, across a new bridge, connecting near the R125/I-275 interchange. Add a new connector from the R28/I-275 interchange, through Mason/Kings Mills onto I-75 near Middletown. For I-74 envision a connector from south of Florence, paralleling Ky. 237, crossing the river at Addyston, straight to the eastern I-74/I-275 interchange.

The suburbs is where growth is occurring; it makes sense to improve access between these areas. Routing a road through them would be relatively easy and could divert much suburban commuter traffic, and nearly all through traffic, away from downtown. This would serve a much broader constituency.

Tom Zalla, Fort Wright

Other voices on the lessons of 9/11
9/11: Two years later, we must not forget
Does I-75 need to be widened?
Readers' Views