By - whenyoucantthinkof
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It was a bitch to live through but the end result is beautiful! One of my favorite places to hang out.
That’s why Philly still only has two subway lines. Massive cost, massive inconvenience, and whatever politician who OKs it is going to have to answer for the cost, and any issues around it, but will be long out of office before we see the end results
Exact same story in Glasgow, Scotland. Our subway only has two lines that run in a circle though the city centre and west end (inner circle and outer circle lines.) Every so 4 years a councillor proposes expanding it to cover the north, east and south of the city but talks always fizzle out whenever cost is brought into question.
It's what sucks about public transportation funding. No politician wants to stick their neck out and risk it biting them in the future due to delays or traffic disruptions, despite it being a MASSIVE benefit to the public overall. it's why in Austin it's going to take FOREVER to get any sort of rail line system, let alone a well planned one.
Had to scroll entirely too far to find this, the first actual positive comment I've seen. Everyone else is saying things like "oh but it was so expensive" and "oh but it took such a long time". Spoiler alert, if you want something to be done well, that's what it's gonna take. Yes the big dig went over budget and over time, but I think the results are amazing and more than justify the means. At least Boston had the balls to actually pass the motion and pull something like this off, unlike almost all other major American cities.
I wish every city would do this tbh. Cities are so beautiful but highways are not. Lower crime and public love for the update? Huge win. Even over budget and time. In 2122 it’ll still be under there. And the sights of the city will hopefully be just as beautiful as in 03’
NYC should do something similar with the crumbling BQE (I-278). They had a proposal, but some assholes decided (knowing that this cantilevered section would crumble soon) that they’d clean up the area above the highway, turn it into a park and sell it to fancy developers that now have gone full NIMBY on the TEMPORARY plans to destroy said park to reroute traffic to dig such a tunnel.
So instead they got rid of a lane on this highway and they think that will help it last until 2046. 🤦♀️
Philly did this with I-95 back in 1978-79 as it parallels the Delaware waterfront. The problem is they didn’t build anything functional over it so the highway simply divided the waterfront from the rest of the city.
Yeah, that is Philly for you.
Sounds about right, go birds
The gang divides the waterfront.
95 is capped at Chestnut and at Spruce - almost half of the Center City stretch. Then it transitions to an overpass after Market St., and the rest is a mess. Columbus Blvd is what divides the waterfront, and could use the old trolly route.
It's the Vine Expressway, 676, that they need to cap already. At least it's already dug.
Fun fact, they were going to tear down South St. and put in a similar [expressway](http://www.phillyroads.com/roads/crosstown/img11.jpg). The unbuilt [crosstown expressway I-695](http://www.phillyroads.com/roads/crosstown/)
They are adding [another cap](https://whyy.org/articles/groundbreaking-on-penns-landing-park-over-i-95-highway-trench-pushed-back-two-years/amp/) between Chestnut and Walnut. It’s been delayed, but if you’ve been to Penn’s Landing recently you may have seen some of the prep work.
I live here, and that shit drives me nuts. In fact, I live in one of the neighborhoods they bulldozed.
So now I picture you living in a tent amidst concrete rubble.
(big dig) the most expensive project ever in the history of U.S. even more than the Hoover Dam
Went to school outside Boston as this was wrapping up, then about 10 years later I was out in Seattle to watch them do it all over again with the SR 99 tunnel!
Similar timeline to myself! When Bertha got stuck it just felt like Big Dig round 2
It’s the ninth most expensive in all of human history behind only things like the International Space Station and entire highway systems.
Don’t forget that special mega crane to lift OPs mom.
I, for one, appreciate that one.
Username checks out
And all of that just to fix a stupid fucking city planning mistake.
Ain't no hubris like mid-century-north-american-city-planner hubris.
The level of destruction was just insane. Escaped the level of destruction Europe's cities saw in WW2, just to self-inflict it afterwards
Hey now, it had to be done! Those colored and hispanic neighborhoods don't flatten themselves!
…and the Panama Canal.
…and I-95 (a 1,919 mile long interstate highway between Maine and Florida).
I’ve driven most of it and helped widen part of it. I-95 is a very important road in many states.
it's also very important to providing content for r/idiotsincars
I-95 is a damn looney bin
The melting pot for all the crazies here on the east coast.
More like the thunderdome
Especially in Florida. Especially the more south you get. I just went down from Ohio again 2 weeks ago, and warned my sister in law following us. Once you get to FL and you're afraid to go over 85, you better stay to the right. Even then you'll be passed by some douche needing to zigzag because 95 is too slow.
Spot on. You can be cruising 85 in the left lane with the next car behind you 1/2 mile away and then before you know there’s a car on your ass. What irritates me the most, is that I’ll be in the left lane because I’m passing cars in the middle and plan on switching lanes to allow the nascars to pass me. As soon as there’s enough room for me to safely move over in front of the car I just passed, they are already shooting the gap between us to get around me. Hundreds of times a car has had to be within a foot of me and the car in the middle lane, while going 95+. Like, the chances of possibly killing someone is only 1 tiny miscalculation or mistake away, and for what?
I’ve lived no more than 10 minutes away from 95 almost my entire life and have learned that you almost have to be both aggressive and defensive driving on 95. To blinker to switch lanes well in advance. To get past a flock of semis as soon as safe to do so, since those fuckers will be driving like their on the speedway passing each other. And to try and not drive much more than hour on it late at night. The only times I’ve come close to falling asleep at the wheel is coming back from a trip at night. I’ll feel wide awake and then out of nowhere feeling like I’m fighting to stay awake. Something about how dark it gets in some stretches, mixed with the head lights, reflectors on the road, and absolute flat straight always with nothing but trees almost puts you in a trance. I don’t know how truck drivers do it at night.
Fuck i95. Trash ass highway in some parts
I95 south between DC and Richmond is absolute hell
It's fine once you get past Fredericksburg. Between there and Richmond isn't usually bad at all, comparatively.
Fredericksburg wasn’t even that bad until everyone got priced out of Fairfax and prince William. It’s a straight dumpster fire now tho
To make it worse, people are getting priced out of Stafford too.
Any day now they will expand the metro down to Dale City. Any day. https://i.imgur.com/E91Fyo5.jpg
Yepp, if I bought the house I have now in stafford it would easily be 100k more. Let alone the property tax is almost on par with prince william now.
Honestly if they just fixed the bottle neck at the 4 to 3 lane merge in Woodbridge and 17 to rt 3 it wouldn’t be a terrible drive
And the longest project.
I was just starting preschool when it started. I was already 2 years into college when it ended.
To be fair, that’s about the amount of time it takes 1 mile of roadworks on a motorway/highway in the Uk
Same in Florida we have to redo the same project three maybe Four times before we get it right. Hell, here in Pensacola they couldn't even finish a brand new bridge before it fell apart and all the barges floated away.
I’ve just learned how ridiculous Florida construction really is.
They’re widening a busy road near my house from 2 to 3 lanes (which, of course, is supposed to be too small by 2025 due to massive population growth).
I live within the first 5 blocks of the project. They decided that instead of shutting down parts of the road and routing cars around on the shoulder, they’re just going to make the entire road a one way street.
For two fucking years. To complete five blocks. Five blocks of road that the city has said are going to “fail” within a year of completion.
No one can believe the blatant incompetence. It’s overwhelming.
It's not incompetence, it's siphoning tax money off over a period of years rather than doing it the Russian way and just taking it as soon as it's available.
Yeah, US corruption has long term planning behind it.
One of these years we will have a train that goes from New york to LA.... one of these daaayssssss
You can take Amtrak from New York to Chicago and then Chicago to LA.
And not just in 1 of these days but 4 of these days! Specifically depart Thursday afternoons and arrive the following Monday morning.
And it will only cost you like 4x as much as flying!
If you get a sleeper seat then it includes three served meals daily in the restaurant car. The food is pretty good too. Beats driving if you have the time.
I did this from Boston to Detroit. Had a vape weed pen and just hung out in sweat pants in my private sleeper playing on my laptop kinda high as I traveled across America. 10/10 would recommend
But at least it’s expensive!!
Not even close. 2nd Avenue Subway still isn't finished and that started in the 1920s.
I’ve lived in Boston all my life and never realized it was the most expensive project ever. Glad it’s over though.
And took 25 years from planning to completion. It’s not like they simply “moved its highway underground in 2003”
I'm actually really proud of Boston for sticking with it. Also, they probably knew it would take way longer and cost way more than initially planned, these things always do.
It's a fantastic improvement to the city, and should be held up as a great example of the kind of big improvements a city can make if they're willing to make the investment. It's an example of making changes for the future, and but expecting everything to be immediate and cheap.
It really did transform big parts of the city, made whole neighborhoods much more walkable and connected. And it's much better for drivers too. Just all around a great example of reversing terrible infrastructure from the 70s, and doing things the right way, even if it was expensive.
Having walked under the old highway and worked in the area, definitely a lot nicer looking. Now if only they could fix the leaks!
A friend from New Orleans said they’re gonna remove the raised highway there? I think again similar construction plan from 70’s that looks like shit now.
They’re going go make a subterranean tunnel in new orleans? What could possibly go wrong
Give it a few more years, and all NOLA roads will be subterranean.
Boston didn’t fund it. Most of the $14 billion budget was federal funding. The rest came from the state.
It was originally planned to be a $3B project. But I agree the result is beautiful and changed the character of a lot of areas.
$14 billion. All told was around $24B. Sounds like pennies in the context of what we've spent since.
Iraq alone was $2 Trillion. That's 83 Big Digs. Imagine 83 Big Digs spread across America instead of pissed away on Iraq.
Welcome to the army maggot!!!
The price was drastically under-estimated because they knew if they told the Regan administration a more realistic number that they would never get help from the feds.
Hence why the tunnel under the city is named after Tip O’Neill, who was the US Speaker of the House during the Reagan administration. O’Neill was a master at bipartisan politics, and Reagan loved him despite the fact that he was a lifelong Massachusetts Democrat.
The title made me laugh, this shit made driving in Boston next to impossible for years. Was well worth it in the end, though.
Let’s not forget the falling tiles when it was “done”.
Ah yes, galvanic corrosion IIRC. Can’t be directly attaching steel to aluminum.
And such an impact that Boston author Robert B Parker mentioned it in at least two of his books lol
I fought a bunch of Raiders on that highway a few years ago...
I guess 7 years is a few years. I feel old
You and me both...\*sigh\*
Wait, you mean it's been 7 years since 2015?
There are ghouls in the new tunnel though
More moved in about 20 minutes after you left.
Back in the 90s I lead an engineering project that determined the volume and velocity of ventilation needed to save lives in the case of a fire in that Boston tunnel (god forbid).
Because it was unprecedented in size and traffic volume, there were no applicable standards. So we lit 100 full-scale fires in an abandoned car tunnel in West Virginia, analyzing various ventilation configurations. A 10 megawatt fire equaled a car on fire, a 100 MW fire equaled a tanker on fire. We pumped an amazing amount of smoke out of the side of the mountain (the old Memorial tunnel, near Beckley, WV).
The entire purpose of the Big Dig project was to allow the central business district of Boston to expand to its full potential, out to the amazing Boston shoreline, which used to be very underutilized.
Now Boston is a true world-class city, and the trip from downtown to the airport went from an hour down to 7 minutes. Tons of new public park space, too.
Thats awesome! Thank you for that!
The airport part really is wild. I’ve gone from the common in downtown to the airport in 5 minutes
This is so cool!
I don't have much of a point here, but that's really interesting to hear about that research! There's lots of local grumbling about the project, but it really was a huge engineering challenge and I appreciate all involved.
That is awesome
Think of all the great careers & industry it supported too
Sure it was expensive but infrastructure spending is usually worth it in the end
Makes me wish they would do F1 Boston tho
What do you mean, we do F1 in Boston every day, just in cheaper, slower cars.
I hate that I have become a fan of F1 because every now and then I come across a perfect area for a street circuit and then I catch that urge to let it open but I know I will never come close
*Bono, my license is gone.*
“No Michael no no this is so not right”
This is called a commute Toto, we went commuting.
Finding the perfect roundabout to sling shot around the next corner 👌😩
The storrow drive grand prix
Complete with UHaul trucks that can't get there from here
It wouldn’t be fall without some out-of-state-er college freshman’s family getting Storrowed
Oh God. Would be the most dangerous Grand Prix ever.
Not to mention the random people who cross Storrow by the Mass Ave bridge, despite the foot bridge right above. It’s not a very high visibility section, so I’m amazed more people don’t die there trying to cross.
Only if the bridges rise and lower themselves during the race.
The signs are also fucking incomprehensible. I’m in Boston often but not enough to remember where the hell im going and heading underground you lose your GPS and regard for human life
I knew the robots were going to win the AI revolution when Google Maps told me the right lane to be in driving over the Longfellow into Boston.
New England has terrible signs and navigation design in general. For example, there is a road near me that is one of the most travelled roads in my area and its name changes 8 times within 8 miles of driving. 7 of these changes occur in the same city.
[Here's a screenshot.](https://i.imgur.com/UuX5GJB.png)
It's Fisherville Road, then it's North Main Street, then it's Bouton Street, then it's North Main Street again, then it's South Main Street, then it's Water Street, then it's Manchester Street, and eventually it becomes Pembroke Street. The entire road is also known as Route 3.
Holy shit my sister used to live in Southie. The 4 hour drive was nothing compared to the last 10 minutes. I drove there like 6 times and got confused every time. The experience convinced my dad he has alzheimers.
use Waze, there are bluetooth beacons all along the tunnels that keep you synced up.
You Bostonians drive like fucking mad men
Yes. It's where your offensive/defensive driving skills are forged in the fires of absolute rage.
I live right between Boston and Providence and let me tell you Providence is 10x worse. RI drivers give 0 fucks.
Oh god yeah. Driving on 95 going towards Prov heading south is scary as duck with all the twist and turns and then some duck face in a 90s ugly green Nissan cuts you off ooof. Nightmare fuel. I’d rather drive in Boston. At least I’m among my people there.
Yeah, I’m at school in Boston rn and I keep telling myself I’ll never drive here. It seems like an absolute nightmare and 1/2 the drivers are insane
Fellow Bostonian here. I try and be a nice guy and wish you well in our city. But the roads change me.
I’ve had to explain this to people. You drive respectfully and defensively when you’re outside the city. Once you’re in the city it’s mad max or you get stuck at the same traffic light for 3 cycles because you’re too weak to take what belongs to you.
The commute today particularly got me roaring. I was driving through Charlestown and some idiot blocked the lane going forward over the temporary bridge towards the North End because he tried to change to the right lane to go onto I-93 south at the last possible second.
There was an accident in the left lane a couple miles before the Braintree split on 93S where they blocked the whole left lane, and let me tell ya it wasn't a pleasant commute
Boston drivers would rather total their car than let you into their lane.
The way to merge in Boston is to get enough space to get your front tire in front of them and then dare them to hit you from that negotiating position.
Getting over to government center from the carpool lane is TORTURE. White knuckle all day.
Nobody NOBODY lets you cut in
That’s how I felt when I first moved here. Then I learned you’re not asking to be let in, you’re letting them know you’re coming in. That’s the Boston difference lol.
Yup. You basically get the right side of your bumper over and just keep inching.
It’s legit a game of chicken. I’ve done it for 30 years and still nervous every time
Using your blinker is a courtesy to let the driver behind you in your new lane know that you are not just swerving wildly, you are in fact their new leader.
"This is happening, deal with it."
Boston driving in general is a nightmare to me (a NYer). I was interviewing for a job that was based in Boston, and decided to take a weekend trip to the city to get a feel for it just in case the job worked out and I ended up moving there. The driving is a chaotic disaster, and honestly I’m glad the job didn’t work out, because I couldn’t drive in that hell every day.
Really nice city otherwise though.
Opened in 2003 but started in 87'.
Seriously. OP makes it sound like they did this over the summer.
OP is not from New England. I'm from Vermont and I remember growing up hearing about this disaster.
Yep. This is one of the most expensive projects in American history and completely dissuaded other cities from doing the same.
which is a shame bc despite the expense and delay i haven’t met one fellow bostonian who would claim that it wasn’t worth it
I’m too young to have seen it before the change but that park near the north end is really just lovely during the summer
Ya, Hartford could use a reroute of 84 - that stretch through the city gives me mad anxiety.
And it drastically improved the city, the feds destroyed an entire neighborhood to build that old raised highway and left much of the heart of the city in darkness during daylight, now it’s a miles long string of parks and made getting to the airport so much easier.
It will also take away some of the heat of all that blacktop by replacing it with plants. Imagine as the world becomes more urbanized and everything is blacktop and how much more heat the earth will absorbed. It will certainly have some effect.
Ahh yes. The joys of hearing “you have arrived at your location” on my GPS 10x looping around trying to get to my hotel while still 40 ft underground.
Props to your GPS manufacturer for building a device that still gets reception 40 ft underground, I guess.
Nah. Those tunnels are full of repeaters .
What are they full of?
I repeat: Those tunnels are full of repeating repeaters to repeat signals that need repeating due to the distance from the object they require repeating to.
It is time to stop now, Mac?
You forgot to say over, over.
Did you just say M, as in Mancy?!
Repeaters my ass. Best memorize your directions or oldschool Mapquest and print before you go.
Ahhh the Big Dig. Good thing it only took a couple years like they planned
(For people who don’t get the joke, it ended up taking 15 years and going way over budget)
And Seattle replicated everything. Mostly the running late and going over budget.
Waterfront view turned out beautiful though
Say what you want about the budget overruns and delays. The results speak for themselves, it IS worth it. Would it be nice if it was cheaper and faster, fucking duh, but the space and QOL you gain from these projects are incalculable.
It was too expensive but it has done wonders to reduce crime in the area and transform it into a safe, tourist friendly attraction
I would imagine noise from traffic would be reduced a lot too?
Only for the surface people.
Are people living under ground?
How did it reduce crime?
Crime is now restricted to the lower level.
If i cant see the crime, is it even happening?
Hey, just stay up here and don't worry yourself about the Morlocks...
Have you ever walked through a poorly lit underpass at night?
No, usually I'm sitting there mugging people. Why?
Based and muggerpilled
There are also studies on how greenery and parks in urban areas can and will decrease crime levels. A quick google search reveals quite a few results.
You just literally can’t walk where the cars are.
So nobody’s stopping down there lol. And the park is very well lit at night and always cops there
If started way earlier than 2003
Yeah “in 2003” lol. They started digging in 1991!
And finished in 2007
People made careers out of that project. The contractors all finished and had been making so much money for so long that they didn’t realize they weren’t actually worth that much. Imagine making 120k a year doing construction and then the project finishes and now you’re only making 70k a year.
I remember news stories about it, really messed up the labor market for awhile. These guys all had Cadillacs and mortgages that a typical construction worker couldn’t afford.
Was gonna say, then cars look like ‘93
1st gen Honda CRX in the front, that body style ended in ‘87 and the 88-91 body style was super hot when it came out so chances are this is earlier than OP said, otherwise it’d probably be a 2nd gen in this pic since they were more popular.
Also looks like a 280z or FC RX7 on the other side of the highway
Started over ten years earlier and wasnt even completely done in 2003.
I think it technically "opened" in 03... But that feels like a very arbitrary date for the entire project.
Yeah I lived in Boston from 97-06 and it started before and was still going after
yeah and they had to spend so much money because it leaked.
I spent two years driving a school bus through that - through the tunnel southbound, then popping out in the second pick heading to Charlestown. Fairly pretty, but pure chaos driving a school bus, especially if there’s sports traffic for the TD garden
Everyone knows it cost a lot of money, but
Did you know it also cost at least 5 lives
Yes, and I'm scared as fuck when driving through those tunnels that a ceiling tile will fall on my car and crush me.
That's how I feel about tunnels under water. I can't help but think about the walls caving in and an Ocean's worth of water flooding the tunnel system.
Like disaster movie shit.
I feel the same way in the tunnels that go out to Logan Airport as they are underwater as well. I was more referring to the fact that a ceiling tile actually feel and killed someone a couple years after the big dig was completed.
That's the exact tunnel I'm talking about lol
> The Central Artery/Tunnel Project (CA/T), commonly known as the Big Dig, was a megaproject in Boston that rerouted the Central Artery of Interstate 93 (I-93), the chief highway through the heart of the city, into the 1.5-mile (2.4 km) tunnel named the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Tunnel. The project also included the construction of the Ted Williams Tunnel (extending I-90 to Logan International Airport), the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge over the Charles River, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the space vacated by the previous I-93 elevated roadway. Initially, the plan was also to include a rail connection between Boston’s two major train terminals. Planning began in 1982; the construction work was carried out between 1991 and 2006; and the project concluded on December 31, 2007, when the partnership between the program manager and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority ended.
* [Big Dig](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Dig) at the English Wikipedia
As someone who's lived in Boston for the last 11 years, the Zakim is a beautiful bridge. The design, the lights on the bridge that change color depending on what's happening in the city (bit sports team wins, holidays, etc).
Really wish there was a North Station/South Station connector, though.
And they still never connected north and south station lol.
I always loved how they named a mission in fallout 4 after this, even better it involved a bunch of tunnels.
That’s actually really beautiful.
The greenway is awesome social space in the city. I love the giant swing benches!
My dad was in construction in Boston in the 80's and 90's. If there's one good thing those deaths did (along with the fucking laundry list of other examples of shoddy and downright criminally negligent construction) it was shine a light on how much corruption there was in the Boston construction business. It's better now. Not good, but better.
The construction industry was run by the mob back then. Not sure about now
Many of them are also run by people who will gladly cut corners and allow people to die to save $200, which is almost worse than the mob if you ask me.
Don’t ask to see how much that park cost.
More than Twitter?
Twitter would cost about 2 Big Digs.
So when you look at things that way, it was a bargain. /s
It opened in 2003. Completed in 2007. They started planning and construction back in the 80’s.
Seattle is doing a similar thing along their waterfront. There used to be a double decker viaduct highway almost identical to the one that collapsed in the San Francisco Earthquake back in the 90's. They tore it down and dug a tunnel for the highway 99 beneath the city and are planning a big park area along the waterfront. Being Seattle though it's taking forever and costing way more than anyone said it would.
The viaduct replacement was a steal at $4.25 Billion compared to the big dig’s cost of $22Billion
The viaduct has the huge advantage of being able to use tunnel boring machines. I'm not sure tunnel boring tech at the time was advanced enough to do any of the Big Dig. There are parts of the project that still wouldn't work with tunnel boring machines such as the I-90 extension to Logan Airport.
If I’m not mistaken, the Big Dig was the first of its kind in terms of the type of project. It obviously went way over budget and time, but there were probably quite a few “lessons learned” that other cities will benefit from.
For reference, they started planning the project in 2001 (after the viaduct was damaged in an earthquake that year).
The tunnel is finished and functional now (which was a whole saga) but the waterfront restoration isn't even close to done AFAIK.
Surprisingly, despite all this, a small number of people say they wanna do the same thing with I-5.
They never should have built that highway in the first place. So much of the city was destroyed to make it happen. The Big Dig is basically a healed scar.
Cincinnati where I live is another place that the highways absolutely boned. I-71 and I-75 are on the eastern and western sides of the city and then merge into one right near Paul Brown Stadium. So they destroyed much of the [West End](https://i.redd.it/90p2ut5wmzpx.jpg) to build 75 and did much of the same for I-71. They should have merged them somewhere north of the city and then split them again around the same point in Kentucky.