Washington, DC, DOT considers tearing down 'ugly' highway

| 12/5/2005

The District of Columbia is considering tearing down one of the city’s major highways. Their reasoning? It’s ugly.

The District Department of Transportation has launched a feasibility study to evaluate the effects of demolishing the Whitehurst Freeway, which carries more than 40,000 vehicles a day, in order to add bus-only lanes to nearby K Street, The Associated Press reported. It would cost an estimated $58 million to tear down the roadway.

According to the DOT’s Web site, the study is examining a number of factors that would be affected by the roadway, including an increased traffic-handling ability and improved pedestrian access to nearby Georgetown University. However, one of the key elements outlined is to “improve urban design and visual environment by minimizing the presence of visual barriers at the waterfront.”

The DOT has partnered with several interest groups in the area, who say the roadway is an eyesore, and that tearing it down would better serve the community. However, others claim an “ugly” roadway isn’t top priority in a city with other socio-economic problems.

“Ugly maybe, but broken no,” Mark Blumenthal, a Georgetown employee and nearby resident, told The AP. “For me, it isn’t worth the cost in a city that can’t fix its schools.”