In Oklahoma City, the interstate will be moved five blocks from downtown to an old railroad line. The new 10-lane highway, expected to carry 120,000 vehicles daily, will be placed in a trench so deep that city streets can run atop it, as if the highway weren’t there. The old highway will be converted into a tree-lined boulevard city officials hope will become Oklahoma City’s marquee street.
Several other cities have done (or are planning to do) similar highway tear downs.
“Highways don’t belong in cities. Period,” says John Norquist, who was mayor of Milwaukee when it closed a highway. “Europe didn’t do it. America did. And our cities have paid the price.”
No mention of Boston’s Big Dig, perhaps the most high-profile example of this trend.