The transit chief essay

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The transit chief essay

Boston commute is as congested as it was 10 years ago To everything there is a season, and a 10th anniversary — in Big Dig lore, the opening of the Albany Street ramps marked its completion — is a time for taking stock.

A full decade since this thing was wrapped up. If we could turn back time, what would be done differently for better outcomes — or would this mother of mega projects be attempted at all?

Congestion, coupled with the perceived need to compete with flourishing suburbs, prompted Boston and cities around the nation to create urban freeways. New York City master builder Robert Moses established the model with highways like the Cross Bronx Expressway, and Boston eagerly followed the game plan with the construction of Interstate 93 through downtown.

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The elevated six-lane Central Artery, which opened inlinked the Southeast Expressway with points north, with plentiful offramps to access the city and its proliferation of above-ground parking garages.

By the end of the s, however, cities started to say no to rampant highway building. The Commonwealth instead poured money into transit projects like extending the Red Line while the Central Artery was left to bear the burden of highway traffic by itself.

By the early s, the elevated roadway was hopelessly congested, and engineers pronounced its structural failure imminent. The concept was not The transit chief essay new; I was already underground through the Dewey Square tunnel from Chinatown to South Station.

Boston would simply finish the job, tear down the unsightly Central Artery, and reconnect severed neighborhoods in the process. The Ted Williams Tunnel became the necessary appendage in the Central Artery and Tunnel project, appealing to the feds because it would complete an interstate highway system.

But with expanded scope, costs and complications started ratcheting up. Planning for the new world order got underway in Downtown Boston abovebefore and after the Central Artery was replaced with an underground tunnel.

To see the change, move the line above to the left or right. How is motorized vehicle traffic moving through the new system? After it opened, the Central Artery comfortably carried about 75, vehicles a day.

By the early s, that number had reached , making it one of the most congested highways in the United States — and projections into the 21st century were for many more cars.

Looking at the new roadway system by itself, the Central Artery and Tunnel project is solving that problem, with capacity to spare. It handles aboutvehicles each weekday. Bottlenecks are minimized through the use of the add-a-lane design, where onramps become a permanent additional lane, requiring less merging.

The transit chief essay

Advertisement There are caveats. The theory of induced demand — that as more highway lanes are built, more traffic will come to fill them — has played out as predicted, particularly at the Ted Williams Tunnel, where traffic typically stacks up every evening trying to get to East Boston, Logan, and points north.

A Boston Globe analysis found that while traffic was moving better in the core, it was worse elsewhere. Greater Boston continues to rank high in national congestion surveys. As a 20th-century, last-of-its-breed highway project, the Big Dig does its job.

The transit chief essay

The rationale was that easing gridlock downtown would be beneficial for the economy and the flow of goods and services. Most tend to forget one huge specification: The tunnels had to be created while traffic flowed nonstop on the elevated Central Artery above. The city needed to stay open for business throughout, a little like modifying an airplane in flight.

Oh, and add in unstable conditions because most of the alignment was in mushy Colonial-era landfill. Barney Frank, then a US representative, struck a nerve by saying it would be less expensive and less complicated to raise the entire city up around the Central Artery than to bury the highway.

So how did the engineers do? By deploying the slurry wall construction method — essentially building one wall of the tunnel and then digging sideways — they used the best available technology and equipment at the time.

Hauling the dirt to Spectacle Island worked well. But this project was always all about the modifications as the work progressed. When the soil was discovered to be hopelessly unstable at the South Station rail yards — the key intersection of I and I — refrigerator units were brought in to freeze the ground so work could be done below.

A set of tunnel boxes for the I connector — the largest weighing about 50, tons — needed to match up exactly in the murky waters of Fort Point Channel; engineers deployed an elaborate jacking system that was unprecedented in its use and inflatable devices to float the giant sections into place.

All those modifications added to the bill. And for every triumph, there were gaffes. Some failures were due to problems in the construction process, such as the concrete that was not properly mixed, leading to leaks.

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Sound Transit chief executive gets ‘an important wake-up call’ An investigation found he has used offensive language and made the agency’s staff feel threatened. HNU Athletics was established in and is an integral part of the university, having positive impacts on hundreds of students in more than two decades; realizing success through intercollegiate competition, academic pursuits, and an emphasis on the full development of one’s potential.

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Hot Issues The change in MTA leadership is taking place as Secretary Rahn and Gov. Hogan contemplate a number of politically-sensitive transit issues, chief among them the fate of the Red and Purple Line projects in Baltimore.

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