This is a road

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

In 2001, Californian girly-man governor Gray Davis announced that the stretch of freeway he was opening would be the state’s last. No more big roads, Californians! Solar-powered hover bikes for all!

Texans aren’t buying it:

The Lone Star State has embarked on an audacious project to build superhighways so big, so complex, that they will make ordinary interstates look like cow paths. The Trans-Texas Corridor project, as envisioned by Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2002, would be a 4,000-mile transportation network costing $175 billion over 50 years, financed mostly if not entirely with private money. The builders would charge motorists tolls.

But these would not be mere highways. They would be megahighways—corridors up to a quarter-mile across, consisting of as many as six lanes for cars and four for trucks, plus railroad tracks, oil and gas pipelines, water and other utility lines, even broadband transmission cables.

Bring. It. On. Perry’s brilliant plan is opposed by farmers, small towns, his own party, and – of course – environmentalists. Guys, when a road is this big, it is the environment, okay?

UPDATE. Bill McCabe writes:

Ten lanes of traffic, railroad lines, utilities … the size of the rest stops needed to service such a magnificient road would be mind boggling. It would be like a mall, with gas stations, soda, chips and those hot, soft pretzels. Its existence would be reason enough to take a road trip to Texas.

Here’s an artist’s impression of the highway, and it brings a tear to my eye.

Posted by Tim B. on 01/03/2005 at 01:31 AM
    1. Add a bike path and it’s perfect.

      Posted by rhhardin on 01/03 at 02:04 AM • #


    1. About time. Texas is a massive state with an antiquated highway system. Most of the Texas freeway network consists of two lane freeways, wholly inadequate in every case.

      Posted by nofixedabode on 01/03 at 03:03 AM • #


    1. It has already started, or at least is closer to it.  Check out this recent story from the Austin American Statesman newspaper:  (registration required–bugmenot)

      Posted by RCM on 01/03 at 03:39 AM • #


    1. We need one of them running down the Mississippi to ferry me from Taste of Chicago to Mardi Gras and back, with biker bars and WiFi all the way.

      Posted by Aaron – Free Will on 01/03 at 03:46 AM • #


    1. God bless Texas.

      Posted by Dave S. on 01/03 at 04:09 AM • #


    1. “$175 billion over 50 years, financed mostly if not entirely with private money.”

      Wanna bet it will be on time and under budget?

      Now, what would the final tab be in Massachusetts, say, and if done with federal money? I’d reckon $367,000,000,000,000,000 and completion in 2407, followed shortly by a shutdown as hoverbikes, hovertrains, hovertrucks and hoverickshaws render it obsolete.

      Posted by Dave S. on 01/03 at 04:15 AM • #


    1. Sorry.  Can’t use the hoverbikles.  EPA says they threaten the habitats of the desert tortoise and the spotted owl…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 01/03 at 04:51 AM • #


    1. rhhardin � but what about handicapped access and high-occupancy vehicle lanes?  What about priority lanes for hybrids? What about mandatory freeway pork for off-road communities?  WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?  WON’T SOMEBODY THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 01/03 at 04:53 AM • #


    1. As a native, I love it. The left lane has always been reserved for people going at least 20MPH over the speed limit. Now that can be boosted.

      Posted by Bunker on 01/03 at 04:59 AM • #


    1. I can hardly wait to drive my Kamakiri on the Trans-Texas Skyway!

      Posted by Blog Dog on 01/03 at 05:17 AM • #


    1. Why stop there, Bunker? Let’s split off a couple of lanes each direction and make them an autobahn with no speed limit at all!

      Posted by Paul Zrimsek on 01/03 at 05:35 AM • #


    1. Nice. Let’s hope they make the on/off ramps bigger than the ones they use now.

      Everything in Texas is bigger – except the acceleration/deceleration lanes!

      Posted by Wind Rider on 01/03 at 05:37 AM • #


    1. Actually, there already is a road in the United States almost exactly like the one envisioned in the drawing, and it’s even (gasp!) located in a Blue State!

      Interstate 95—the New Jersey Turnpike, from New York City south to New Brunswick—is a 12-lane road with smaller vehicles only in the center six lanes, while cars and trucks are in the outer three lanes in both directions. And when the 12-lane stretch of the Turnpike shrinks down to six lanes, its only about another 20 miles before I-295 begins running alongside it from Bordentown to the Deleware Memorial Bridge south of Philly. In some sections there, the two highways combined have as many as 14 lanes running through the Jersey countryside (Amtrak and the main Northeast Corridor doesn’t run exactly alongside the highway, since it cuts into Phaildelphia. but close enough to provide the passenger/freight rail coverage Perry’s plan seeks to establish).

      The point is that while some parts of the plan sound futuristic, they’ve actually been in place in at least one area that needs it for the past two decades. The initial plan in Texas calls for a corridor to paralell Interstate 35, which is just now being upgraded to three lanes in either direction in some area and is already obsolete, given the traffic load to and from Mexico and the three metro areas with 1 to 6 million populations along the way.

      The NJ Turnpike’s a toll road, while I-295 east of Philly is not, so even the hybrid option wouldn’t be new, and people willing to pay the cash to avoid delays can do so, while others can stay on the free I-35 and endure the traffic problems through San Antonio, Austin and (eventually, as the expand the toll road) the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

      Posted by John57 on 01/03 at 06:45 AM • #


    1. If they built one in Florida, it would have to be even wider. They would need two more lanes each way with a 45 MPH (72 kph) speed limit.

      Posted by ErnieG on 01/03 at 07:37 AM • #


    1. But these would not be mere highways. They would be megahighways—corridors up to a quarter-mile across, consisting of as many as six lanes for cars and four for trucks, plus railroad tracks, oil and gas pipelines, water and other utility lines, even broadband transmission cables.
      10 lanes? I hope that’s in each direction- we’ve got stretches of 5-on-each-side in Seattle*, and it’s not enough.

      *south of downtown. North of downtown, it’s four-on-a-side with four reversible lanes in the middle, 12 total. Even with that, we’re a perennial entry on the US-top-10-worst-traffic lists**.

      **speculation that this might have something to do with putting a lot of the on/off ramps on the left instead of the right results in blank looks from the local urban planning types. 🙁

      Posted by rosignol on 01/03 at 07:40 AM • #


    1. Please, Texas do not hire these people to oversee construction. You will regret it. (They have screwed up the Big Dig in Boston.)


      More tunnel problems in Big Dig
      Following article, 8th paragraph down lists the name of Big Dig management firm. Consider Boston’s problems before you hire these people:

      Big Dig refunds

      Posted by CJosephson on 01/03 at 09:05 AM • #


    1. Not too worried about future oil, eh what?

      Posted by J. Peden on 01/03 at 12:49 PM • #


    1. Yes, John57 is correct. The artist’s dream lives on the Jersey Turnpike: 12 lanes of traffic and no stoplights.–NJ Sue (spouse of Mr. Bingley)

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 01/03 at 02:25 PM • #


    1. “Not too worried about future oil, eh what?” That’s why we have hoverbikes silly!

      Posted by Mr. Blue on 01/03 at 03:33 PM • #


    1. ErnieG: 45 miles per hour? In Florida we park our cars at 45 miles per hour.

      Posted by Andrea Harris on 01/03 at 04:17 PM • #


    1. Thanks, Andrea. That actually made me laugh out loud.

      Posted by david on 01/03 at 05:45 PM • #


    1. As long as they build it wide enough that repaving certain sections or closing a few of the lanes won’t cause intolerable delays like those experienced on the Ohio Turnpike, I’m all for it. If any of you have made the Cleveland to Toledo run, you’ll undoubtedly know what I mean.

      And the NJ turnpike model doesn’t really make sense either. It’s not a fully private toll road, which would undoubtedly be much more efficient. After all, MassPike was supposed to eliminate tolls when the road paid for itself; somehow the Massachusetts politicians saw their way clear of that promise.

      Otherwise, as long as insurance rates could be adjusted so those who traveled on the no-speed-limit section of road were internalized I would be all for it. I’m sure if it was privately owned, such considerations would be addressed.

      Oh, and where do I get one of those Australian-model hoverbikes? They sound cool.

      Posted by Birkel on 01/03 at 06:24 PM • #


    1. Quarter of a mile across? You have GOT to be joking. This is just far far too Niven.

      Posted by Nic White on 01/03 at 07:20 PM • #


    1. I’m glad – and surprised – that they’re using mostly private financing. Definitely not a blue state.

      Posted by Alan K. Henderson on 01/03 at 08:27 PM • #


    1. Niven?  I think not.  Somewhere, RAH is smiling.

      roadcity (or roadtown)
      As traditional highways were replaced by automated roadways, communities sprang up along the roadways’ routes,and often the roadways were large enough to include buildings and small communities on the moving surface. As the roadtowns grew, many old cities and towns were largely abandoned, and new municipal boundaries were defined by the roadway routes.

      Posted by Jay Manifold on 01/04 at 12:21 AM • #


    1. I think you forgot to insert a website, Jay. (PS: roadcities? They’ll have to cure motion sickness first.)

      Posted by Andrea Harris on 01/04 at 09:57 AM • #


    1. Yes, but Andrea, if you’re a member of the American Association of Retired Persons, 45 mph is the mandatory speed for driving between Los Vegas and LA… especially if one lane is blocked for construction…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 01/04 at 12:26 PM • #


    1. … and of course with your turn signal flashing the entire way.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 01/04 at 12:27 PM • #


  1. Andrea, the AARP effect cited by Richard is what I had in mind. This can be seen in the dread St. Pete-Sun City-Sarasota triangle, turn signals and all.

    BTW, that line about parking at 45 miles per hour is great. “But officer, 45 miles per hour speed limit? Shoot, I park my car at 45 miles per hour.”

    On second thought, “Yes, sir, no sir, I’m very sorry, sir,” probably works better.

    Posted by ErnieG on 01/05 at 10:18 AM • #