Today I'd like for you to pretend you're on the Johnson City Council and that I'm a representative of a committee from the Commonwealth Transit Department. You'll see why.
This meeting for the interim report on the progress of the planning of the Capital Beltway will come to order.
This meeting is to discuss the progress of plan reference number 3115199112, otherwise known as the Capital Beltway, designated as Interstate Highway 601. This freeway is being constructed as a circumferential highway around the capital city metropolitan area as a means to deter future congestion in the city center and to facilitate travel through and around the city itself. Although the city’s population is at only about 110,000 and the metropolitan area is barely over 275,000, we feel that construction of the Capital Beltway now, while the population is low and the land is inexpensive is the best plan, particularly when the time comes to widen and we’re faced with a large bill because development has pushed right up against the beltway.
Provided with your portfolios is an overview of the beltway’s projected path and an alternate view showing the area being affected by the freeway. We apologize for the poor quality, but that’s the best we could do at such short notice.
As you may already know, construction on 4 exits of the Capital Beltway, or Phase I, was completed some time ago and is getting usage comparable to the figures we had estimated. However, traffic levels are still rising and so Phase II is ready to be implemented. Phase II involves extending the west side of the Beltway to Interstate Highway 2, and this is what we’ll be going over today. Keep in mind these interchanges are not set in stone and are subject to change, but these interchanges are what most likely will be built.
Exit 1 is the interesting situation where I-601 splits around I-1 before ending. This is where we will begin our meeting. Exit 1 will have the mainline of I-601 extend past I-1, claiming a small neighborhood that may or may not have been authorized by the council to be constructed. Ramps for the eastbound lanes of the beltway will be added. Notice there is no access to WB I-601 from NB I-1. This has been noted, and will be addressed later. I-601 will have a half diamond interchange (Exit 1D) with Route 6 (Southern Blvd.) accessible from the eastbound direction only.
I-601 transitions back to a ground highway and passes under the Great Southwest Road, which will be elevated over I-601 on a new overpass. The interchange of choice here will be a folded diamond.
Option 1a/1b split
Two alternative plans have been drawn up for I-601 and this is the first of the two. The preferred route, option 1a, heads north here and that is the one we will follow for now.
Option 1a exit 3
Exit 3 is pretty complex due to the intersection of the Great West Road and Old Beltway Blvd. and the bridge I-601 will travel over to cross the Johnson River. The interchange is a cross between a parclo and a trumpet. NB, a simple exit ramp ends at Old Beltway Blvd, with a free flow ramp from WB OBB merging with NB I-601. SB, a similar free flow ramp will merge with WB Great West Road, while a loop ramp will intersect at the same intersection that already exists flowing directly into the Great West Road. A diagram of the intersection is provided in your portfolios as an example.
Exit 4 and 5
Exit 4 and 5 is rather complicated due to the desire to have full connections between the beltway and I-2/I-302 as well as Rts. 7/19 and so I will advise you to look to the image. However I will note the land being reclaimed in the southern portion of the interchange in order to have enough room to make it, as room is a premium in this neighborhood, unless we demolish a lot of development, which is something that wouldn’t be tolerated.
Option 1b split-3 stretch
The only noteworthy thing which warranted this picture is the farmland we would be acquiring and replanting trees (in the green area) as a natural noise barrier. Although we know many farmers would be adverse to freeway traffic behind their farms, we have offered to buy up their land for housing and commercial development and find them more suitable lands to set up their farms farther away from the urban cores of Johnson City and Braun City.
Option 1b Exit 3
Exit 3 in this option is much simpler than option 1a’s, involving a simple folded diamond.
Option 1b exit 4 and 5
This option’s exit 4 and 5 are just as complicated as option 1a’s, except there is more space in which to execute it. The interchange was designed for minimum weaving, as we aren’t exactly sure what traffic levels to expect. Notice the access to the Avogadro rail station from the I-601 to I-2 west ramp.
Here’s where we’ll end today’s meeting. I would like to ask each of you to consider which option you’d like to pick between 1a and 1b, although it’s not mandatory, but just so the Transit Department can get an idea of what the council thinks. Option 1a is the solid line on the reference map we gave you, and 1b is the dotted line.