I-70/I-71 South Innerbelt - November 2003
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Will widening the highway increase the gap between downtown and neighborhoods?
Answer: No. We could add more lanes for through traffic without increasing the gap by pulling back grassy slopes along the highway and pulling ramps out of the middle and placing them in safer locations along the periphery of the downtown corridor.
Q: Will it require building outside the right of way?
A: Yes. The proposed concept maximizes the existing highway right of way, but we would likely need slivers of land along pinch points in the corridor — but no residential property, historic structures or churches. Of the roughly 60,000 residents and 20,000 structures along the corridor, we would likely impact less than a dozen properties.
Q: Will it increase traffic on city streets?
A: Traffic volumes would be higher on some sections and lower on others. However, traffic volumes at their peak would only be about half the volume you would expect on a typical stretch of High Street. In addition, it could reduce cut through traffic on neighborhood streets as motorists would have a greater incentive to travel along improved city streets parallel to the freeway. ODOT is completing a traffic analysis and will share the details of that analysis at future public meetings.
Q: Will it make pedestrian crossings more difficult?
A: No. It’s easier to create more friendly pedestrian walkways by pulling downtown ramps out of the middle of the corridor and placing them on the periphery of downtown. Moving these ramps would eliminate high-speed freeway traffic that darts on and off at Front, Third and Fourth, and it would give us the opportunity to calm traffic before it reaches signalized intersections.
Q: Will funneling local traffic through these signalized intersections create more congestion on city streets?
A: Initial traffic modeling shows the concept would move traffic through the corridor efficiently. During the next phase of the study, the public will have a chance to review the details of this modeling, including travel times.
Q: Will it reduce access into the downtown by eliminating ramps?
A: No. Under the concept, the ramps at Fulton, Livingston, Third and Fourth would be moved to safer locations on the periphery of downtown, but we would maintain access to all current city streets and neighborhoods. For example, along eastbound I-70, southbound I-71 and northbound I-71, the number of ramps into downtown would go from three to two. However, the placement and number of ramps within the corridor will potentially change based on public input.
In general, moving the ramps to safer locations and spacing them farther a part would help reduce accidents and improve access into and out of downtown by reducing weaving and merging.
Q: Would parking be maintained on Fulton and Livingston?
A: The design can accommodate metered parking.
Q: Is this the final concept under consideration?
A: No. Other concepts are being considered, including: "No Build" (do nothing), a tunnel or deck system and public transit. However, we need public input on this concept to further develop it. The analysis of all the concepts will be shared at future public meetings.
Schematics of the dual freeway and city street system (maps)
I-70 schematic of the dual freeway and city street system being proposed by ODOT to fix the "split." (map)
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I-70/I-71S/SR 315N schematic of the dual freeway and city street system being proposed by ODOT to fix the "split."
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I-70/I-71N schematic of the dual freeway and city street system being proposed by ODOT to fix the "split."
Click for: pdf (469 Kb PDF)