8 Pass and Fail U.S. Transportation Projects Taking Shape

The Atlantic Cities sums up the four of the best and four of the worst U.S. transportation projects to roll out in the near future.

by / December 28, 2012
Photo courtesy of >Sunrail

Next year and in years to come, transportation projects will continue. Some are considered a huge success, while others will be deemed failures — and environmentalist organization The Sierra Club is the judge. The organization released a list of the 50 best and worst transportation projects based on five criteria — oil use, environmental impact, public health, economics and land use.

In conjunction with list, The Atlantic Cities selected four projects with the promise of success and four projects destined to be failures. 

4 Great Transportation Projects

SunRail (Orlando, Fla.)
The nearly 60-mile commuter rail slated to open in 2016 already is in the works with six stations currently being built. The project is expected to quicken travel times and reduce congestion for commuters in the metro region.   

METROrail Expansion (Houston)
This metro system, already in existence, currently spans 7.5 miles and is undergoing a 26-mile expansion. Two new lines are under construction with three more being planned. One new route, known as the Southeast Corridor project, involves building 10 new stations out from downtown Houston, according to The Atlantic Cities.

New Little River Canyon Bridge (Alabama)
This bridge was completed in 2010, which according to The Sierra Group, was ahead of schedule. The organization said construction and designs for the bridge were environmentally friendly and cost less than $8 million to build.   

Bike Missoula (Montana)
The Missoula, Mont., bike project, according to The Atlantic Cities, is considered very popular and holds an 85 percent approval rating.

4 Bad Transportation Projects

Jefferson Parkway (Denver)
The 10-mile project was caught up in lawsuits until recently, when a federal judge gave the go-ahead for the project to continue. The Sierra Club gave the project the thumbs down since the road won’t reach the Denver beltway, which will cause congestion and pollution on local roads.

I-265 Bridge (Indiana and Kentucky)
The $2.6 billion Interstate 265 bridge connecting Indiana and Kentucky involves tunneling 2,000 feet below woodlands near Louisville.

Trinity River Parkway (Dallas)
The 10-mile parkway has projected costs of $1.8 billion, one of the highest per-mile costs in the U.S., according to The Sierra Club. Critics claim adding additional freeway lanes won’t help much to relieve congestion in the metro area, and has been planned to cut through an urban park.   
I-269 (Memphis, Tenn.)
Critics claim this 60-mile beltway around Memphis will create more suburban sprawl and that it is unlikely that the beltway will divert truck drivers from the metro core once completed, according to The Sierra Club.

Photo courtesy of Sunrail