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Say what? A completed Garden Parkway could increase traffic on Interstate 85

I had to read this story twice more just to make sure I read this right.

Recent traffic projections by the state show I-85 having more traffic on it in 2030 with the Garden Parkway built than if it wasn't.

Here are the figures:

AADT (Annual Average Daily Traffic) in 2030:

I 85: US 321 to Gaston/Mecklenburg County Line -

With entire Garden Parkway Built - 137,600 vehicles
With Garden Parkway built to US 321 - 139,300 vehicles
With NONE of the Garden Parkway Built - 134,600 vehicles

Opponents of the Parkway see this new data as another piece of their argument in stopping the Parkway from being built.

Story Link:
'Garden Parkway' could actually increase traffic on I-85 --Gaston Gazette

Commentary:
This is definitely an interesting stat if you are against the highway. That along with the comparisons to the troubled Southern Connector in Greenville, SC start to make a persuasive argument - beyond typical NIMBY-ism - against the construction of this toll road.

A few things of note: First, the writer in the Gaston Gazette article fails to mention that the traffic increase on I-85 if the Garden Parkway is anywhere from 3,000 to 4,700 more vehicles per day, depending on how much of the parkway is built. So in reality, the estimated volumes would only be somewhere between 2.2 and 3.5% higher if the road is not built. It's not that much of an increase, but it certainly doesn't make sense.

Turnpike Authority officials say that the Garden Parkway isn't a 'fix' to I-85 traffic or even an alternative, but as said in the article - Its broader goal is to “establish connectivity and mobility across the Catawba River.” Well, wouldn't building a free highway bridge from Belmont over to I-485 do exactly that?

The thing is: the proposed highway is toll because of the cost. I've been reading $1.4 billion to $915 million. And about three years ago, the NCTA doubled the estimates of their original cost findings.

Details likes these makes it very easy to stick by my position that the only necessary part of this project is a US 321 Gastonia Bypass...and that was taken off the table from the original non-toll proposal..years ago.

Comments

Froggie said…
There's a logical explanation for the weirdness. The traffic model is likely taking into account the increased development expected in Gastonia and Gaston County should the Garden Pkwy be built. THAT'S why I-85 traffic is expected to be higher, even with the Garden Pkwy present. Without the Garden Pkwy, there wouldn't be nearly as much push or desire to further develop Gaston County.

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