Big Dig/Central Artery Redesign

Hubman

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2016
Messages
642
Reaction score
2
Thought it would be cool for people unhappy or disgruntled with the Big Dig project to post ideas for redesigns here.
 

tysmith95

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
2,502
Reaction score
12
Thought it would be cool for people unhappy or disgruntled with the Big Dig project to post ideas for redesigns here.
Get a time machine, go back 20 years, spend 20 billion dollars to create a world class public transport system while at the same time turning I-93 through Boston into a boulevard.

The Ted Williams tunnel was the one part of the big that was worth it so keep that.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,306
Reaction score
122
Get a time machine, go back 20 years, place contractor oversight on a "Have You Seen Me?" milk carton PSA, throw a lot of con artists in jail, build same exact thing minus the killing-people part exactly the same way for two-thirds the cost.


Or build another viaduct...but this time a SUPERTALL. Like, so tall the Logan flight path goes under it!
 

tangent

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,731
Reaction score
21
Redesign? I think most complaints are about the cost and process and not the result.

But if I had to pick one thing to go back in time for I would drop the Zakim bridge in favor of extending the tunnel northwards. I mean I know the bridge is "iconic", but the gain of more continuous waterfront along with a potentially developable land would have been good.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
1,430
Reaction score
17
The surface boulevard needs redesign to be less of a gun barrel highway, and more like meandering city streets. Also the ramp portals need some covering. And a light rail dual line on the surface.

That's my wish list for today.
 

West

Active Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Messages
740
Reaction score
0
On process, drop the idiotic lie that 93 had to be kept open. I lived in the Bay Area when the Loma Prieta quake hit and took out the Bay Bridge. After a few weeks of commute hell, the region sorted itself out. Philly did without the Schuykill Expressway for two years. The Bay Bridge is more critical to Bay Area road network than 93 is to Boston metro, Schuykill is similarly crucial to Philly metro as is 93 to Boston. No matter how much people freak about taking a highway out, ANY highway can in fact be closed completely for years, and the region will get by. Any highway. Drivers adjust better than anyone could ever imagine ahead of time.

Then it's a straightforward demolition, followed by a cut and cover tunnel that would still have been savagely difficult, but not made incredibly and gratuitously more difficult by needing to suspend a goddamn freeway up above the work project throughout. Combined with more competent construction admin, enough money could have been saved to install the North / South rail link at the same time, instead of just clean-rooming the space for it.

With the quantum leap of a north / south rail link under the freeway, maybe there'd not have needed to be so much surface roadway up on top. I'm not so confident about this last part.

Insisting that we needed to keep 93 open up above the Big Dig was the Big Lie that killed the north / south rail link.
 

odurandina

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2015
Messages
4,919
Reaction score
59
The surface boulevard needs redesign to be less of a gun barrel highway, and more like meandering city streets. Also the ramp portals need some covering. And a light rail dual line on the surface.

That's my wish list for today.
i believe when the Bullfinch Triangle, West End, Congress St, and final waterfront highrise projects are done, and occupied, the traffic pattern will be considerably more challenged than people see today. i believe planners worked responsibly to meet a challenge the mid 2020's.

South/North station; if they had finished it with the Big Dig, should they have done it as just subway, or go full, Amtrak/commuter train passage.... or could a Japan-style 3' 6" guage or DFW style tram have worked?
 

tangent

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,731
Reaction score
21
On process, drop the idiotic lie that 93 had to be kept open. I lived in the Bay Area when the Loma Prieta quake hit and took out the Bay Bridge. After a few weeks of commute hell, the region sorted itself out. Philly did without the Schuykill Expressway for two years. The Bay Bridge is more critical to Bay Area road network than 93 is to Boston metro, Schuykill is similarly crucial to Philly metro as is 93 to Boston. No matter how much people freak about taking a highway out, ANY highway can in fact be closed completely for years, and the region will get by. Any highway. Drivers adjust better than anyone could ever imagine ahead of time.

Then it's a straightforward demolition, followed by a cut and cover tunnel that would still have been savagely difficult, but not made incredibly and gratuitously more difficult by needing to suspend a goddamn freeway up above the work project throughout. Combined with more competent construction admin, enough money could have been saved to install the North / South rail link at the same time, instead of just clean-rooming the space for it.

With the quantum leap of a north / south rail link under the freeway, maybe there'd not have needed to be so much surface roadway up on top. I'm not so confident about this last part.

Insisting that we needed to keep 93 open up above the Big Dig was the Big Lie that killed the north / south rail link.
Hopefully that is a lesson learned more broadly with all transportation projects. I think Baker administration is doing it this way in small ways ... Closing Rt 128/95 to do overpass demolition presumably to save money and time. Unfortunately, the previous administration didn't choose to just close down Longfellow Bridge originally to get it done (also issues with excessive levels of historic preservation).

Of course when someone asks the public whether they want the road/rail to remain open during construction the answer is yes... But it seems we don't get a price tag on these projects until those assumptions are already built in to the project.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
2,849
Reaction score
29
Unfortunately, the previous administration didn't choose to just close down Longfellow Bridge originally to get it done
You really don't think that the previous administration was thinking just a bit about NOT disrupting the strongest economic engine in the entire region, Kendall Square, any more than necessary? Perhaps a small price to pay for a slower project?
 

Hubman

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2016
Messages
642
Reaction score
2
Or build another viaduct...but this time a SUPERTALL. Like, so tall the Logan flight path goes under it!
This sounds intriguing, but I don't exactly understand what your plan is?
 

tangent

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,731
Reaction score
21
You really don't think that the previous administration was thinking just a bit about NOT disrupting the strongest economic engine in the entire region, Kendall Square, any more than necessary? Perhaps a small price to pay for a slower project?
Sure, and we ended up with three to four times longer disruption than was necessary. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The current repairs are taking longer than the original construction.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
2,849
Reaction score
29
Sure, and we ended up with three to four times longer disruption than was necessary. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The current repairs are taking longer than the original construction.
Historic reconstruction usually does. This isn't some 1960's interstate bridge.
 

tangent

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,731
Reaction score
21
Historic reconstruction usually does. This isn't some 1960's interstate bridge.
Recreation of the technique used to attach the rivets was a bit over the top. The steel trusses and girders weren't the distinct features. The stone and iron work were the important parts architecturally. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but hindsight is what this thread is about.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
2,849
Reaction score
29
Recreation of the technique used to attach the rivets was a bit over the top. The steel trusses and girders weren't the distinct features. The stone and iron work were the important parts architecturally. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but hindsight is what this thread is about.
I have to agree that recreating the rivet work seemed more than necessary. Although I do feel that the steel arched trusses are an important part of the historical design and character. (I have to think that you could have replicated them faster with a more modern technique.)
 

Digital_Islandboy

Active Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2010
Messages
369
Reaction score
0
Sure, and we ended up with three to four times longer disruption than was necessary. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The current repairs are taking longer than the original construction.
Yep. if cheap is your pal they could of just done a demolition of the whole thing, fished the pieces out of the river, and let a for-profit ferry company fill the void between Cambridge and Kendall. That would have saved taxpayers tons and then they could have just given everyone a rebate on their state taxes for the savings. People in Western Mass would have loved the fact that this would have been one less bridge they have to pay for and yet never travel over.
 

meddlepal

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2012
Messages
1,341
Reaction score
35
I've been loosely following the Seattle project... That article was written in 2015 right about when the whole thing was in total disaster mode due to the boring machine getting stuck. They have completed the actual boring work. Still a ton of work to do and it's not an ideal design and it's going to be incredibly over budget when it's done... but it seems likely it will get done. I agree with the conclusion that the tunnel may not actually accomplish much good and is going to absolutely wreck Seattle's budget.

Unrelated-ish: Seattle is beautiful. Totally worth a visit and it's probably my favorite west coast city.
 

Top