Monday, December 27, 2010

How a Road Can Change a City, Even If It Never Gets Built

Dec. 23, 2010
I-478 is a pretty remarkable road: It is, for one thing, the longest tunnel on the U.S. Interstate Highway System. It's also the longest subaqueous facility. But I-478 conceals its charms; driving on it, there is nothing—not a single red, white, and blue shield—to tell you that you are doing so.  
This shy and retiring facility is the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, connecting Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan. While it appears on maps, I-478 is not signposted (to avoid driver confusion with Brooklyn's nearby I-278, the story goes), and virtually never referred to by its federal designation.
I-478 is something of a phantom highway, and if you head north to the Manhattan Bridge, you can find a clue as to its origins: a bit of hanging roadbed in the median that simply comes to an end. This severed trunk is all that remains of the I-478 that never was: the Lower Manhattan Expressway.

Image by ShellyS

more posts about New York:

Gentrification and Resistance in New York City

NYC’s Bike Route Network: Bridging the Gaps

Transit: How ‘Transit-Oriented Development’ Will Put More New Yorkers in Cars

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