Opinion: I-85 collapse should get attention of candidates, voters

The rebuilding of I-85 has yet to begin. Before it’s over, Georgians should talk about what else we should build so commuters and cargo-haulers alike aren’t crippled by the freak accidents that have become all too common. (AJC Photo / Henry Taylor)

As Atlanta’s firefighters raced Thursday toward the blaze on I-85, just a step slower was the way word of the unfolding disaster spread around the state Capitol during the final hours of this year’s session.

I playfully asked the House transportation chairman, Rep. Kevin Tanner, if he and his colleagues were furiously rewriting the budget to rebuild the highway, and his played-straight answer had me going for a second. But the reality here is no joke. The entire Southeast will feel repercussions if this crucial segment of 85 remains closed for several months, as early estimates have it.

And once again, Atlantans as well as Georgians both inside the Perimeter and well OTP face an unpleasant truth about our inadequate highway system.

Your high school English teacher told you redundancy is a bad thing, but she wasn’t a transportation planner. In the world of concrete and asphalt, redundancy — of north-south routes, east-west routes and bypasses — is a tonic for many of the emergencies and routine problems that arise.

Cities like Dallas and Houston, even Denver and Minneapolis, have it. We don’t.

Many a motorist has cursed the wiseheads who funneled 85, 75 and 20 into a single point south of the Capitol. But equally frustrating for commuters and cargo haulers alike is the lack of alternatives parallel to those interstates.

Parallel highways through Atlanta were proposed decades ago, but they were halted by the same NIMBYism that killed the Northern Arc. Those who seek relief from the city’s surface streets are mocked by an incoherent string of traffic lights. (Dear Mayor Kasim Reed: Please make the long-promised, now-funded synchronization of those traffic lights a top priority in your final months in office. “Complete streets” can wait.)

And now I mention the state Capitol one more time.

We will elect a new governor next year. Transportation already stood to be at least a minor theme, as legislators slowly coalesce around ideas for a truly regional transit network across metro Atlanta and perhaps beyond.

It should be a major issue now.

Transit must be part of the conversation, but Georgians also deserve a real debate among the candidates about whether we should try to build some redundancy into our highway system while we still can.

Outer perimeters. Bypasses of Atlanta to the north, west and/or east. New interstates that connect Georgia’s other main cities without coming to sniffing distance of 285. Perhaps, the kind of parallel routes through Atlanta we long ago dismissed, such as the western downtown bypass above U.S. 41 I floated last fall.

These kinds of ideas — and how to pay for them — must be hashed out in a statewide debate. The goal: Starting the one(s) with the most support during the next governor’s first term.

Transit would be helpful, but insufficient. Self-driving cars would not deal with a disaster like the 85 collapse much better than we humans will. Redundancy could ease some of our daily traffic congestion, but mostly because about half of our daily traffic congestion comes from one-time incidents that block all or part of the only viable routes we currently have (see: car wrecks, livestock on the loose, Snowpocalypse, etc.).

We won’t get out of the road-building business with technology, only with complacency and resignation.

***

Note: I am taking the rest of this week off to be with my family for spring break. I’ll be back next Monday, April 10. Please keep it civil around here in my absence.

Reader Comments 0

372 comments
breckenridge
breckenridge

Oh I see that some guy mailed Trump a manifesto.  What a nice thing to do.


However.........manifestos are generally the domain of crackpots.

MarkVV
MarkVV

Trump’s supporters on this blog are out in force trying to divert attention from the numerous lies of their Leader by falsely charging other people of lying. Pathetic and hopeless.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@MarkVV The last time we looked, the pathetic and hopeless was coming from your side.

You guys can't win a dogcatcher race, but we are the ones hopeless.

Snirt

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV  Go complain to the Washington Post. Tell them how upset you are with them for exposing Susan Rice's lies. Tell them that they're making it difficult for your effort in calling those dirty Trump supporters false accusers even though Rice's lying got people killed with many being young children.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit  And that's your problem because your evident false thinking causes you to not understand facts and that makes you appear stupid.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@JohnnyReb @MarkVV That only shows where you look. If you want to see the pathetic and hopeless, look at yourself and others like you.


SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit  Well if you trying to say that the United States is a democracy and not a Republic I must thank you for proving the point of my previous post.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV Not only you lie about what I am saying, you again prove your shameful illiteracy and ignorance regarding the matter .

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Susan Rice the terminal liar gets four Pinocchios from the WaPo for her inaccurate statement about the success of the agreement with Assad and the Russians on removing Syrian chemical weapons.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Honestly, the trogs in DC take a break from their efforts on tax payer funded abortions, immoral gender policy implementation and their war on the family to celebrate Easter. And it doesn't bother their conscience one bit. 


I pray for their souls.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Does anyone else find it appalling that the Godless heathen democrats, liberals and troggies take two weeks off for Easter?


Sickos

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Think it will make any difference to LibProgs when they realize the Obama administration lied to them about chemical weapons being removed from Syria?

That it was just one of many lies designed to promote and cover for Obama?


AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@JohnnyReb @AndyManUSA#45 They know iran is still working on a nuke, they want iran to keep working on a nuke and, by extension, they want Israel blown off the map.


What other reason could there be for their acceptance of these facts?

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@AndyManUSA#45 @JohnnyReb

They retain the belief all will be fine if we just talk to each other and act like we have been castrated.

Then when Israel is blown off the map, they will find a way to blame the Right.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb @McGarnagle @AndyManUSA#45


When some accuses someone else of wire-taping them. That is what it means. That someone has compromised their line of communication.


Why make up a defense and excuses for Trump when he talks bs. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

breckenridge
breckenridge

"And I think the American people said, ‘enough,’ and I think they recognized that this was the last exit ramp for the country and if we were not going to see a political change, if Hillary Clinton was going to continue and double down on the policies of Barack Obama, I think people just saw no hope that the United States would return to a position of Judeo-Christian morality."  Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, 4-4-2017

I got yer Judeo-Christian morality right here Michelle.

Another comment
Another comment

Why has no one else pointed out that Dan Moody was on the State DOT board when the decision was made to store these PVC conduits and cables under the highway. He as an electrical engineer should have known how dangerous it would be to store these priamids of conduit/cable.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

“What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.”


Promise?


Just what the doctor ordered, splash russia and iran's airforce right into the desert dust, where it belongs. 


Feeling lucky, punks?



Pub Heaven
Pub Heaven

"Feeling lucky, punks?"

Had these self esteem issues long?

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

I sure hope Wingfield, got his head straight on vacation and reports on national news along with pertinent world news that effects the nation not just Georgia. If not, he's not worth following his blog.

Resist Trump
Resist Trump

@SGTGrit

I'm sure Mr. Wingfield would be just fine if he never saw you here again.

Falcaints
Falcaints

I thought this article was about transportation?

Pub Heaven
Pub Heaven

"I thought this article was about transportation?"

New here?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Remember when they told us that Mr. Obama’s “brilliant” deal with Messrs. Putin and Assad had eradicated chemical weapons there? Some curious journalists may even start asking whether officials in the Obama administration knew that Mr. Assad retained dangerous stockpiles of sarin gas but kept quiet to make their Syria diplomacy look less abject.


Wouldn't surprise me none. They lied about everything else, what difference would it make to lie about that too?

Resist Trump
Resist Trump

@AndyManUSA#45

IReportYouWhine--

Do you talk to yourself like this in your cave, or only here, at your second home?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Barack Obama is off to a good start in the history books, according to a C-SPAN survey of 91 presidential historians released today. He ranks as our 12th-best president—24 spots ahead of where George W. Bush debuted. The last survey was in 2009.


Yes, the way that obozo revived the American Spirit and the Republican Party, I will always hold a debt of gratitude for the man.


You're number one, obozo!

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Trump, had a good week. He restored confidence in the American resolve to stand up for what's right and to protect American national security along with the security of our allies. He got his staunch conservative SCOTUS pick confirmed as Scalia's replacement. Obama's failures have begun the difficult job of reversal.

Pub Heaven
Pub Heaven

Syrian jets resume sorties from "devastated" airbase today.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Pub Heaven The attack did not target the airstrip, sweetheart. Would you like to bet that the 20 planes destroyed haven't flown again yet?

Pub Heaven
Pub Heaven

Destroy the airstrip, no planes fly...

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Either Obama, Kerry and Rice lied to the American public about how the Russians removed 100% of Assad's chemical weapons or they allowed themselves to be duped by them. So which was it, blatant dishonesty or incompetence? Probably some of both.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit The stupidity of this accusation is remarkable.

But, let's see:

Was it blatant dishonesty or incompetence when GWB told the American public that Saddam had WMD? Did he lie, or did he allowed himself to by duped by the intelligence services?

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit  "The stupidity of this accusation is remarkable". Clearly one of the parties lied. Was it the Russians that lied and Obama and the others bought off on the lie? If so how did they verify that the Russians actually removed all of the WMD chemicals? Did they just take the Russians word for it? Did Obama, Clinton, Kerry and Rice decide to give the American public false assurance that the Russians removed 100% of the chemical weapons simply to save face for Obama's red line remark? It would be unlikely that the Syrians lied to the Russians because their recent use of chemical weapons would make it clear that they did. It appears that these obvious facts interfere with your Alice in wonderland view of what goes on in this world. BTW...It was GWB, most of the Democrats in congress, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and most world leaders who believed Hussein had WMD's and of course it was a fact that he like Assad used chemical weapons on his own people.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV Your ignorance and naiveté regarding the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons is both appalling and laughable. It was done according to the UN Security Council Resolution 2118 and under the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) control. Syrians’ apparent later cheating does not mean that anybody in the Obama administration lied or was duped

The fact that people other than GWB were duped regarding the Saddam’s purported WMD is no excuse for GWB – he was the President, who used that false information to start a war.  If you want to make that excuse, then again you are the usual hypocrite, when you blame President Obama and his team for the Syrian cheating regarding chemical weapons, the removal and destruction of which being a matter of international action and supervision.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@MarkVV @SGTGrit 


Mark you'll have to excuse him.  He used to ride the short bus - and that was before he started taking stupid pills.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@breckenridge @MarkVV @SGTGrit  Says the guy who bragged about his proficiency with a Glock semi-automatic hand gun but doesn't know the difference between a clip and a magazine. LOL

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV As a supporter of Donald Trump, you are a prime example for P.T. Barnum's quote.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit  Well Mark as P.T. Barnum said "there's a sucker born every minute". I guess you came out on the top side of the clock as one. Stay in wonderland you belong there.