How to add lanes without really telling anybody

Can you find the number 25,665,000 anywhere in this article?

Lengthy work coming to I-94

Transit advantage?

25,665,000 is the number of dollars MnDot is spending on their “I-94 Capacity Relief” project – anyone who’s paying attention knows that “capacity relief” is engineer-speak for road widening.  Funny that it’s not mentioned anywhere in the article that the project costs $25m, and that it’s adding a lane in each direction to I-94.

Of course, the lanes being added in this project are already there – they were striped as temporary “capacity relief” after the unquenchable thirst for more lanes caused the 35W bridge to plummet into the Mississippi.  If you have a chance, you should check out the MnDot site for this project, where they posted the documents they have to create to rationalize their decision to widen roads they get interstate money for (i.e alternatives analyses, environmental impact statements, environmental alternative statements, etc).

Inside you’ll find gems like the following:

The Preferred Alternative [widening the freeway] will add auxiliary lanes that will allow buses to achieve speeds up to the posted speed limit compared to the speeds allowed on bus-only shoulders (not more than 15 mph greater than the speed of general purpose traffic in the adjacent thru lane with a maximum speed of 35 mph).

So they’re spending $25m to add a lane that buses can then use to travel the posted speed limit instead of the 35mph that they’re limited to in the shoulders?  Then why not spend $0 to change the law to allow buses to drive the posted speed limit in shoulders?

And do they really think that the “auxiliary lanes” they’re “adding” won’t be congested?  How exactly is a transit advantage an advantage if the lane is clogged by a Geo trying to merge left?  I guess $26m will buy us the answer.

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7 comments on “How to add lanes without really telling anybody

  1. Stephen Gross says:

    But we have more people… people drive cars… cars need lanes… road need more lanes… people live farther away… because the suburbs are so nice… and the city so bad… so we need more lanes… more… more… More!

  2. A small, but expensive, degree of added convenience to those partaking in the suburban experiment, the greatest misallocation of scarce resources, continues unabated and unquestioned by the status quo.

  3. Erica M says:

    So, they added this fourth lane as an emergency measure, and then they decided to leave it while they studied it, and now we’re spending even more to keep it the way it is? I’m confused.

    • Sorry I confusingly wrapped up three problems I have with this project into one cranky drunken rant. Here it is more clearly:

      1. The $25m is for resurfacing 94 between Cretin and Nicollet – I was cheesed that the media doesn’t report the cost of recurring capital projects like this for automotive infrastructure they way they do with transit.
      2. It was super sneaky to strip these lanes in response to a tragedy and then keep them after everyone forgot.
      3. It is bogus to say that removing transit’s exclusive lane will gain a time advantage for transit.

  4. [...] buses on shoulders in specific locations after conducting a study, which would have prevented the bullshit reasoning for restriping a bus shoulder as a general traffic lane and arguing that it will improve bus [...]

  5. [...] 10, 16 and 18 have watched for years as area freeways get lane after lane added – sometimes at the expense of transit advantages – and while there is plenty of room to debate whether what’s actually being [...]

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