Beltline Highway: Future I-605?
this page is under construction
Beltline and WEP proposed / canceled interchange
claimed traffic light would be enough in 1997 SDEIS, but admissions through the record that the interchange would be required for the design - segmentation of studies to avoid looking at ecological impact (wetlands destruction) and the financial cost
Beltline Phase 3 approval 1995 - segmentation of approval, but approved west 11th intersection. extra turn lanes not controversial. BLM on record - Charette - that clipping the edge of their property would be acceptable instead of WEP. 4(f) clearly shows this is a mitigation effort, prudent and feasible alternative. 2005 revision of 4(f) eliminated "de minimus" impacts
West 11th intersection
turn lanes - cheap, effective, not being done
EA called for grade separation - even though this is a relatively busy street, better serves the neighborhood than the WEP would have, industry along the route, traffic forced onto Roosevelt more after closing of Royal / Beltline intersection
WEP vs. WETLANDS alternative
would space the interchanges on Beltline better than WEP - more equidistant
WETLANDS Option 1, 2 - whether Peak is here or not. If not, more money will be available and the traffic flow will be higher, requiring the interchange. If Peak is here, then money will be tighter and the traffic flow will have plateaued. So far, Peak was 2008 and therefore the interchange won't be needed to accommodate increased traffic levels.
Beltline / Roosevelt interchange proposed
Put into Regional Transportation Plan
EWEB relocation - had pictures of this in some of the planning documents
EWEB's conservation zone partly in this area
Beltline: renaming after Randy Pape
letter in EW / RG from mark
Beltline / I-5 "Gateway" interchange
"Low Build" option
Beltline and Martin Luther King highway
Beltline into Pioneer Parkway extension - named after MLK - expressway through residential area to support the relocation of Peace Health - quote MLK
Beltline Environmental Impact Statement, widening from River Road to Delta Highway, support "Low Build" option to fix weaving problem at Beltline / Delta interchange
$13 million in Transplan, $100 million privately during WEP study (ODOT admission), $250 million in Gov's Transportation Vision Committee (2008)
"For the purposes of the Belt Line project description, the WEP is assumed
to be a related project that will be constructed, even under the No-Build Alternative.
In the event that the WEP is not constructed, the access [from Roosevelt] would
be adjusted to best fit the new scenario."
– Belt Line EA, p. 57
|from Beltline 1995 Environmental Assessment|
If the WEP is not built, the Belt Line EA might need revisions, although modest changes would not be controversial or illegal, nor would they require extensive studying.
The Belt Line Phase 3 cost includes the WEP interchange, the Roosevelt overpass of Belt Line and an extended, elevated segment of Belt Line over the WEP – all of these would not be required with a No Build for the WEP. Merely widening Belt Line to West 11th and adding turn lanes there would cost much less – and the remaining funds (assuming that the OTC, including Randy Pape, want to support ODOT’s decision at the Charette) would be available to be spent on the state highway components of the alternative.
Roosevelt Road has been expanded to nearly a “Super Two” configuration along part of its route. (A “Super Two” is a limited access road that only has two lanes but is relatively high-capacity – it can often funnel more traffic than a busy four-lane urban arterial.)
The new DEIS should analyze whether this expansion coupled with continued access of Roosevelt to Belt Line (ie., keep existing 2002 baseline for that intersection) would reduce the purpose and need for the WEP, especially if fiscal constraints, declining transportation dollars, inflation, and finite oil are all factored into future growth and highway revenue projections.Freeway design standards mandate a mile separation between interchanges to minimize merging conflicts. The 1995 EA assumed that there would be a WEP / Belt Line interchange (although neither the 1990 “Final” EIS nor the 1997 SDEIS included discussion of the financial and environmental impacts of this interchange). The EA only included a disconnected grade separation between Roosevelt and Belt Line, since Roosevelt would be too close to the WEP for yet another interchange.
The WETLANDS alternative option 2 would complete Belt Line with an interchange at Roosevelt. The Roosevelt / Belt Line interchange would be equidistant between Barger and West 11th, and about a mile from each road. This would result in better spacing of access points for Belt Line, complete Belt Line as a limited access road, and result in a better functioning project than the WEP’s proposed treatment of Belt Line.
WETLANDS Alternative - $17 million Option - If Peak Oil is here or near
The Preferred Alternative
intersection widening at W. 11 and Belt Line (extra left turn from eastbound
11 to northbound BL, extra right and left turn lanes on south bound BL) and
median strip on BL between 11 and Roosevelt for safety
(a "Super Two" highway)WETLANDS option 1 – if peak oil is here or near – safety improvements for Belt Line (median strip on Belt Line from Roosevelt to West 11th, extra turn lanes at West 11th)Neither ODOT nor the City of Eugene publicly objected to the “futuring” of Belt Line Phase 3 as part of the 2002 TransPlan Amendments. The City now claims that the SDEIS traffic model for Belt Line traffic was exaggerated (although that is not the way that they describe this). Therefore, Belt Line from Roosevelt to 11th should merely be expanded to include a median strip to safely separate northbound and southbound traffic. This would result in this segment of Belt Line resembling Roosevelt between Belt Line and Bertelsen, a “Super Two” in highway-speak. Widening this segment of Belt Line to four lanes would be excessive if the UGB is not expanded to accommodate WEP induced growth, a transit / land use alternative is used to cope with capacity issues, and peak oil diminishes traffic projections.
The Belt Line EA states that “West 11th Avenue would be improved west of Belt Line to provide two left turn lanes directing traffic onto Belt Line.” EA Major Investment Study Technical Report p. 4
WETLANDS Alternative - $88 million Option - If Peak Oil is not yet here
interchange at Belt Line / Roosevelt (same shape as BL / WEP interchange in
1995 Environmental Assessment - ramps in NW and SE quadrants), widen Belt Line
to four lanes from Roosevelt to West 11th, partial interchange at W 11th / BL
(wide ramp southbound BL to westbound 11 similar to Main Street / 126 intersection
in Springfield, plus east bound 11 to westbound Belt Line 270 degree overpass
If the WEP is not built, the Belt Line EA might need revisions, although modest changes would not be controversial or illegal, nor would they require extensive studying. By an interesting coincidence, Belt Line Phase 3 (already approved, but not funded) and WEP Phase 1A (already funded, but not approved) have nearly identical price tags: about $17 million (but both would really cost more than that). The Belt Line Phase 3 cost includes the WEP interchange, the Roosevelt overpass of Belt Line and an extended, elevated segment of Belt Line over the WEP – all of these would not be required with a No Build for the WEP. Merely widening Belt Line to West 11th and adding turn lanes there would cost much less – and the remaining funds (assuming that the OTC, including Randy Pape, want to support ODOT’s decision at the Charette) would be available to be spent on the state highway components of the Charette Alternative.
However, if an interchange is eventually built (hopefully with a design that removes the Target franchise store), a minor LWCF or 4(f) impact might satisfy the requirements of both laws. The BLM is on record stating that full funding of the project is a prerequisite for considering a land swap with ODOT and/or FHWA. A Charette Alternative style ODOT action would be much easier to fund. $17 million is available from WEP Phase 1A that could be dedicated to this, assuming that Randy Pape and the OTC decide to support this solution – although full funding for the Charette Alternative would be easier than finding funds for the full WEP. In addition, while taking BLM land for the interchange would trigger Section 4(f), 4(f) does allow “use” if a selected alternative (ODOT Charette Alternative) has much less impact than another alternative (WEP).
capacity expansion on Belt Line (Roosevelt interchange, West 11th partial interchange)
The Roosevelt / Belt Line intersection seems wide enough after completion of Phase 2. However, if ODOT insists that interstate design standards are required on Belt Line all the way to West 11th (as decided in the 1995 EA), a Belt Line / Roosevelt interchange could be built (similar to the shape proposed for WEP / Belt Line). The EA discussed that an interchange at Roosevelt would be difficult due to the presence of pond turtles on the southwest quadrant of the intersection, and the northeast quadrant is close to homes (and would have more stream impact from a new ramp).
interchange at Roosevelt (same shape as BL / WEP interchange in 1995 EA - ramps in NW and SE quadrants), Belt Line Phase 3 (widen to four lanes), partial interchange at W 11th / BL (wide ramp southbound BL to westbound 11 similar to Main Street / 126 intersection in Springfield, plus east bound 11 to westbound Belt Line 270 degree overpass ramp)
repair of ODOT Highway 99 between Roosevelt Blvd. and Garfield, including replacement of the cracked 99 bridge over the railroad tracks, double left turn lanes from 99 to westbound Roosevelt
MPO staff and certain political leaders have consistently misled the public
about the size and cost of the West Eugene Parkway. In November 2001, the TransPlan
amendment process announced that the Belt Line Phase 3 project would be put
into the "Future" list even though the 1997 Supplemental Draft EIS
stated that the WEP / Belt Line interchange would be required for the WEP to
function properly. These concerns were ignored (to no one's surprise) and the
majority of the Eugene City Council, Lane County Commissioners and Springfield
City Council rubber-stamped the "futuring" of part of the parkway
while claiming the whole thing was now in the Fiscal Constrained list. (To their
shame, the Lane Transit District had no dissent to the proposal to build a new
expressway to puncture the Urban Growth Boundary, which would further reduce
funds and ridership for transit service.)
ODOT's revisions of the WEP route have now confirmed the obvious -- the WEP / Belt Line interchange is indeed needed
the MPO / LCOG / Eugene / Springfield / Lane County / LTD "futuring" of the interchange project
shows that the WEP is not entirely fiscally constrained.
This remains the case even though the interchange and Belt Line widening is now considered part of the WEP by ODOT -- this linguistic sleight-of-hand does not increase the funds for the project by the necessary tens of millions of dollars, and there is no way that the Supplemental Final EIS can be completed without finding a lot more money for the Porkway.