Friday, January 05, 2007

Building Bridges

Reading the comments on my last post about the Don "Halt," I was reminded of my better half's example of good transportation planning. When the George Washington Bridge was built over the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York, its designers actually planned for future development! I quote from Wikipedia:

"As originally built, the bridge [in 1931] offered six lanes of traffic, but in 1946, two additional lanes were provided on what is now the upper level. A second, lower deck, which had been anticipated in Ammann's original plans, was added, opening to the public [in 1962]. This lower level was waggishly nicknamed "Martha" by some. The additional deck increased the capacity of the bridge by 75 percent, making the George Washington Bridge the world's only 14-lane suspension bridge, providing eight lanes on the upper level and six on the lower deck."

When the Don Holt was built, I wonder if anyone thought that traffic during the next 20 years might increase to the point that more lanes were needed? Why was no provision made for adding lanes? If a bunch of Yankees can figure out in 1931 (actually, in 1926) that the GW Bridge might need more lanes for cars in the future, why not here in the 1980s when the Don Holt was designed? It's been open for a mere 14 years. Perhaps planning for future traffic is more expensive in the moment, but how much more will be spent because no one looked to the future?
The first image says it all--that's a penny (for wise) and a pound (for foolish).

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