Interstate Histories TASK C - Consultant Report
Plan for Future Augmentation and/or Refinement of Interstate Histories
This document presents ideas for augmentation and/or refinement of the nine economic development highway corridor history reports completed to date. For each highway corridor report, ideas are presented for:
- Extending the length of time period (adding more years to data time series)
- Increasing the breadth of data coverage (through additional data sources)
- Increasing the depth of understanding (through more in-depth data collection, especially additional interviews with people knowledgeable about the relationship between transportation and economic development).
Our recommendation on the approach to item (a) above is borrowed from the guidebook Using Empirical Information to Measure the Economic Impact of Highway Investments: Volume 2: Guidelines for Data Collection and Analysis (April 2001)
[i] . The Guidebook recommends that reports include, at a minimum, data from four points in time:
- conditions prior to any real estate or investment speculation during the pre-project period,
- conditions at the start of construction to capture the amount of speculation,
- conditions within a year after the project completion to measure the short-term impacts, and
- conditions roughly five to ten or more years after project completion to assess long-term adjustments.
The report follows this methodology as closely as possible in the existing highway corridor history reports, but given the constraints of that effort, it was not always possible. Specifically, a major challenge with the highway corridor history reports is the definition of "project completion" (data point #3) for highways that are constructed in stages over many years. New highways generally open in discrete segments of five to 20 miles
[ii] . The highway corridor history reports generally defined "completion" as the year when the last major highway segment opened to traffic on the route within the chosen state. This proved to be an imperfect measure because for many highways the first sections opened many years before the final section. (See Appendix 1. Note that opening dates ranged from 1967 to 1978.) As a result, data for a "completion" year represent true short-term impacts for only a portion of the highway.
Level of Effort
The type and level of augmentation and/or refinement of the existing highway corridor studies detailed in the sections below could be conducted at an estimated cost of $15,000 each
Many of the proposed augmentations are the same or similar for each corridor. This section discusses identified data sources for some of these augmentations.
One source of localized economic data is ZIP Business Patterns (see http://censtats.census.gov/cbpnaic/cbpnaic.shtml). It provides limited data at the ZIP Code level (total number of establishments in ZIP code; total number of employees in ZIP Code; total first quarter payroll in ZIP code; total annual payroll in ZIP code.) In addition, the number of establishments for nine employment-size categories is provided by detailed industry for each ZIP Code. Years of coverage on CD-ROM are from 1994 to 2001 (only the NAICS-based years, 1998 to 2001, are available on the internet). Data for years prior to 1994 are available as special tabulations on a cost-reimbursable basis. [For more information, contact the Economic Planning and Coordination Division, Register Analysis Branch, Washington, DC 20233. Phone: (301) 457-2580. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Another very good source of local economic data in some states is taxable sales transactions. For example, the California Board of Equalization publishes data by type of business at the city level. (See http://www.boe.ca.gov/news/tsalescont.htm.) Although this source is imperfect because not all retail transactions are subject to the sales tax (e.g. groceries are generally exempt in California) and the definition of taxable items shifts over time, retail sales are very good indicators of economic activity in a selected region.
The Census of Retail Trade is another potential source of sales volume data. For example, see the I-81 Virginia section below for discussion about retail sales in Wytheville, Va.
There are also opportunities for increasing the breadth of localized data coverage through tracking of business start-ups data from commercial databases (such as Dun & Bradstreet) as well as through municipal sources of land development. Due to the cost and level of effort involved in using these sources, we recommend that they be focused on analysis for specific localized areas where local officials have reported major impacts.
Beyond these sources, the interviews with key regional businesses and interviews with additional economic development officials discussed under item (c) for each corridor would significantly enhance the highway corridor history reports. Many key businesses have already been identified (e.g. major seaports, distribution centers).
This section presents specific ideas and approaches for the augmentation and/or refinement for each of seven reports following points (a) through (c) as discussed in the Introduction. The augmentation of two additional highway corridor history reports, I -43 in Wisconsin and I-81 in Pennsylvania, are presented slightly differently.
- Extend the Length of Time Period. Construction of I-16 began in March 1963. Data collection could be extended to this point.
- Increase the Breadth of Data Coverage. Given the economic environment found in the I-16 corridor, the following data elements were identified as being important to the augmentation of this corridor:
- Pre-1990 traffic data if available.
- Truck data if available. The Savannah-Atlanta corridor (including I-16) is often referred to as the busiest short-haul truck route in the U.S. This data would help to validate this statement.
- Retail sales data. One issue to keep in mind when including the retail sales data for this area is the possible large purchases of equipment by nuclear power plants and kaolin clay mining companies. These data may skew the data for some years for some counties. The Georgia Department of Revenue, Sales & Use Division is a possible source of this data.
- Aggregate property valuation data. This data would be most effectively displayed as an index (highway corridor completion year = 100.0) in order to compare the corridor to the state and the nation. Adjusting for inflation may be difficult.
- Employment by industry
- Unemployment rate data. Data should be presented as corridor rate as a percent of state rate and corridor rate as percent of national rate.
- Timber tax. The timber industry was found to be important in the corridor. These data would help to determine the importance of the timber industry to selected counties. The Georgia Department of Revenue is a possible source for this data. The department uses satellite photos to monitor forest clearings to help make the assessments.
- Obtain relevant pages from the annual Report of the State Highway Department of Georgia to the Governor and General Assembly of the State of Georgia for the years when I-16 was planned or under construction (1950s - '60s). Publication was later known as Georgia Department of Transportation annual report and most recently Annual report / Georgia Department of Transportation.
In addition to these data elements, aspects of Georgia's developmental highway program could be evaluated. These elements include:
- Some Economic Impacts of Developmental Highways in Rural Georgia / Teresa D. Taylor, Josef M. Broder, and Kevin T. McNamara. Publisher: Athens, Ga. : Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations, College of Agriculture, University of Georgia,  (University of Georgia library has copy)
- A Developmental Highway System for Georgia / Charles F. Floyd. Athens, Ga. : College of Business Administration, University of Georgia,
- Road Construction and Regional Development
/ Felix Rioja. Publisher: Atlanta, Ga. : Fiscal Research Program, School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, 
- Governor's Road Improvement Program and Economic Development : Report on Surveys of Counties. Publisher: Atlanta, GA, Georgia Dept. of Transportation, 1996.
- Wisenbaker, Vance Byrd, The effects of the interstate highway system on the population of nonmetropolitan counties in the South, Thesis--University of Georgia, 1973
- Kenyon, James Byron, Regional implications of the interstate highway network in the southeast / Publisher: Athens: Institute of Community and Area Development, University of Georgia, 1978.
- Increase the Depth of Understanding. Additional interviews could be conducted to help answer the following questions or issues highlighted by the I-16 highway corridor history report.
- What is the economic impact on the small towns that were bypassed on U.S. 80 from the diversion of traffic onto I-16?
- Why is the Hispanic population in Candler County much higher than the statewide percentage? Perhaps it is indicative of a special local industry mix (e.g. agricultural harvesting, meat processing).
- Is Twiggs County seeing any benefits from growth in Warner Robins in an adjacent county?
In order to address these questions, contact the following agencies:
- Port of Savannah
- Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce
- Bryan County - Pembroke Development Authority
- Candler County economic development department
- Dublin-Laurens Development Authority, Laurens County
- Savannah Economic Development Association
- Treutlen Chamber of Commerce, Soperton
- Twiggs County
- Georgia DOT Macon engineer office
I-26 South Carolina
- Extend the Length of Time Period. The first grading contract on I-26 in South Carolina was awarded in 1957. This could be considered the project start date unless research reveals a different date.
- Increase the Breadth of Data Coverage. The following data elements were identified as being useful to the augmentation and/or refinement of the I-26 Corridor:
- Retail sales data. This data is available through the South Carolina Department of Revenue annual report, which has statistics for gross sales and net taxable sales by city and county.
- Accommodations tax data, which is also maintained by South Carolina Department of Revenue. Corridor counties (especially rural ones) might be compared against the statewide average. This would provide a measure of how hotels/motels benefit from the highway's presence.
- Aggregate property valuation data expressed as an index (highway corridor completion year = 100.0) in order to compare corridor to state and nation.
- Employment by industry
- Unemployment rate data showing corridor as a percent of state rate; and corridor as a percent of national rate.
- Truck traffic count data
- Review copies of the publication Carolina Highways when I-26 was planned and constructed in 1950s and 1960s.
- Review, if available, newspaper articles from the era when I-26 was constructed. Main public libraries in Charleston, Columbia, and Spartanburg or state historical society and/or local historical societies may be sources for this data.
- Increase the Depth of Understanding. In addition to the many interviews conducted in preparing the I-26 highway corridor history report, the interviewing the following could be done:
- "Key regional businesses" (e.g. Port of Charleston, BMW plant in Greer, regional shopping centers)
- Central Carolina Economic Development Alliance
- Dorchester County Economic Development, Summerville
- Director of Economic Development, Berkeley County Government
- Newberry County
- Extend the Length of Time Period. The Texas DOT Amarillo and Lubbock districts had very little information in their files regarding the construction history of I-27. The TX DOT library at the University of Texas in Austin also had very little information on this topic. The construction history of I-27 needs to be confirmed. A reasonable guess may be to extend back to 1968 because I-27 was authorized through the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968. Depending on what is learned, it also may be appropriate to extend back to late 1950s when the Canyon E-Way opened between Amarillo and Canyon; although this highway was not constructed to interstate standards, it was integrated into I-27.
- Increase the Breadth of Data Coverage. The following data elements could augment the I-27 highway corridor history report:
- Retail sales data. A possible source for this data is the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
- Aggregate property valuation data expressed as an index (highway corridor completion year = 100.0) in order to compare the corridor to the state and the nation.
- Employment by industry
- Unemployment rate data showing the corridor as a percent of the state rate; and the corridor as a percent of the national rate.
- Increase the Depth of Understanding. In addition to the interviews conducted in the preparation of the I-27 highway corridor history report, the following interviews could augment that report:
- "Key regional businesses" (e.g. major regional shopping centers)
- Economic development officials in Amarillo
- Economic development officials in Canyon
- Economic development officials in Lubbock
- Extend the Length of Time Period. I-29 construction began in late 1950s. Data coverage could be extended to this point.
- Increase the Breadth of Data Coverage. The following data elements were identified as important to the augmentation of the I-29 highway corridor history report:
- Retail sales data
- Aggregate property valuation data expressed as the index (highway corridor completion year = 100.0) in order to compare corridor to the state and the nation.
- Employment by industry
- Unemployment rate data comparing the corridor as a percent of state rate and corridor as a percent of national rate.
- Review the book: Thompson, William H., 1909-; Transportation in Iowa: a Historical Summary / Published [Ames, Iowa]: Iowa Department of Transportation, c1989.
- Review, if possible, newspaper articles, especially from the era when I-29 was planned and constructed. These files could possibly be obtained from public libraries in Sioux City and Council Bluffs and possibly Omaha, Nebraska.
- Obtain truck traffic count data from 1990 to present. These data will help to demonstrate the effects of NAFTA and intermodal rail operations on I-29. Iowa DOT is a possible source of this data.
- Increase the Depth of Understanding. The following interviews could augment the I-29 highway corridor history report:
- "Key regional businesses" (e.g. Union Pacific intermodal center(s) in Omaha and Council Bluffs area; locations of regional shopping centers)
- Economic development officials in Mills County
- Economic development officials in Monana County
- Iowa DOT Council Bluffs District.
- Extend the Length of Time Period. Need to confirm precisely when construction began on I-68. First segments opened in mid-1960s but this may have been before the route was officially designated as an interstate highway.
- Increase the Breadth of Data Coverage. The following data elements were identified as important to the augmentation of the I-68 highway corridor history report:
- Consider excluding Washington County from the economic data analysis or somehow only include the western portion of the county. Though this sub-section is primarily intended to recommend additions to the data covered by the highway corridor history reports, the overall goal of the augmentation process is to refine the studies based on issues identified through the original research and to highlight as accurately as possible the connection that exists between interstate development and economic development. In this particular case, it was found that the inclusion of Washington County in the data had the potential of skewing the overall data analysis, thereby affecting the ability of one to accurately assess the connection, if any, between interstate development and economic development. This view is based on the fact that I-68 traverses a sparsely populated section of Washington County. Most of the economic activity in the county is related to I-70 and I-81 (especially in the Hagerstown area).
- Add retail sales data
- Add aggregate property valuation data expressed using the index (highway corridor completion year = 100.0) in order to compare corridor to state and nation. Data can be obtained from the Maryland Tax Assessor's office
- Add employment by industry
- Add unemployment rate data including corridor as a percent of the state rate and corridor as a percent of the national rate.
- Increase the Depth of Understanding. Beyond the many interviews conducted in the development of the I-68 highway corridor history report, interviewing key regional businesses such as the Mead Westvaco paper mill in Luke, MD could be done.
- Extend the Length of Time Period. The beginning construction date for I-81 in Virginia needs to be confirmed. It was likely in the late 1950s.
- Increase the breadth of data coverage. The following data elements have been identified as important to the augmentation of the Virginia I-81 highway corridor history report:
- Add Page County data. Although I-81 does not traverse Page County, it is within the Shenandoah Valley. It is on the south fork of the Shenandoah River on the other side of Massanutten Mountain from I-81. U.S. 211, a four-lane divided highway, crosses the mountain to link Page County with I-81. A glance at a Virginia county map shows that Page appears to be a "missing piece."
- Retail sales data. A possible source for this data is the Virginia Department of Taxation.
- Lodging tax revenues. This data may be available from local governments.
- Aggregate property valuation data expressed using an index (highway corridor completion year = 100.0) in order to compare corridor to state and nation.
- Employment by industry
- Unemployment rate data showing the corridor as a percent of the state rate and the corridor as a percent of the national rate.
In addition to these data elements, the following books in the University of Virginia collection could be reviewed:
- Call number: VPI 2/IN8. Title: A Proposal for Strategically Developing the Interstate-81 Corridor Region. Developed by the Interstate 81 Corridor Council assisted by Economic Development Assistance Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Publication info: Blacksburg, VA., The Center, 1990
- Call number: Masters 2299 Title: A Study Of The Economic Effects Of The U. S. Route 11 Bypass At Lexington, Virginia On Business Volumes And Composition. Author: Harrison, Joseph W. (Joseph Wellman), 1929. Publication info: [Charlottesville, Va.] 1958. Description: 60,  leaves illus., col. map. 28 cm.
- Call number: HE356.5.L4 C48 1958. Title: The Influence Of Limited Access Highways On Land Value And Land Use, The Lexington, Virginia Bypass. Author: Childs, George W. Publication info: Charlottesville, VA. Virginia Council of Highway Investigation and Research, .
- Increase the Depth of Understanding. In addition to the many interviews conducted in preparing the I-81 in Virginia highway corridor history report, the following interviews could augment that report:
- Key regional businesses (e.g. distribution centers, Virginia Inland Port-Front Royal and major factories such as the Volvo truck plant-Dublin).
- Economic development officials in all parts of the corridor except for Winchester and Roanoke.
Based on the economic trends highlighted in the corridor history report, two industry sectors might well deserve more in-depth study including, (1) the distribution center industry, which exist primarily in the northern part of corridor; and (2) the automotive parts industry; which is located primarily in the southern part of corridor.
Other areas of investigation include:
- As highlighted in the I-81 highway corridor history report, Virginia's I-81 corridor has an unusually high percentage of its workforce in manufacturing. This phenomenon should be investigated further to determine if factories clustered here only after I-81 opened. Economic data from the 1950s, and '60s will have to be collected in order to do this. From the research to-date, it appears this may be true for Frederick County (Winchester area) where many factories opened in 1960s, around the same time that I-81 opened in that area. A possible source of information may be state manufacturing directories that sometimes include "year opened" in their entries.
- The informal "quad state" forum of economic development officials along I-81 in VA, WV, MD, and PA is worthy of further examination. This group is mention in the current research, but was not investigated in depth.
- The construction/routing history of I-81 in Virginia should be augmented. More information on this topic may be available in the Commonwealth Transportation Board archive.
- This corridor has a very deep history that is being used to boost tourism. For example, the U.S. 11 corridor is being promoted as a scenic tourist roadway. More information could be collected on the importance of I-81 to the tourism industry. Some information may be available from the conference, "The Valley Road of Virginia: History and Landscape, 1700-2000," held June 4-5, 2004 at Shenandoah University Historical and Tourism Center.
State Route 99 California
- Extend the Length of Time Period. It is difficult to define when the SR-99 project was "complete" in the San Joaquin Valley. Likely, the best measure is when the four-lane expressway was completed throughout the valley -- that was in 1960 - the segment north of Fresno in Fresno County
- Increase the Breadth of Data Coverage. The following data elements were identified as important to the augmentation of the SR-99 corridor history report:
- Retail sales data. Data on sales tax revenues for counties and communities in the SR-99 corridor would provide a metric for the San Joaquin Valley's retail sales growth. The best source of "off-the-shelf" data on taxable sales is the California State Board of Equalization, Taxable Sales in California (Sales & Use Tax), an annual report. It includes data on sales, tax permits and taxable transactions by county and for the 272 largest cities in California (e.g. Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton, Modesto, and others cities in the SR-99 corridor). Data are provided at the aggregate level for the particular jurisdiction and by "Type of Business" (e.g. service stations). Data for taxable sales in California extend from 1943 to present. The report was titled California's Retail Outlets from1943-45, Trade Outlets and Taxable Retail Sales in California from 1946-71, and Taxable Sales in California from 1972 to present.
If available, a customized data set for taxable sales that are generated with one mile of SR-99 interchanges would be recommended. The California State Board of Equalization Research & Statistics Section is a potential source for such data.
- Occupancy tax data. Counties and cities that collect taxes for hotel/motel use are possible sources of this data.
- Aggregate property valuation data expressed as the index (highway corridor completion year = 100.0) in order to compare corridor to state and nation. Collecting this data at the county level is recommended. The California State Controller aggregates the data at the county and state level and presents them in the Assessed Valuation Annual Report. The annual report is available since the late 1990s on the State Controller's website. Reports for years back to the 1950s are stored at major libraries. For individual parcels, assessed valuations of real property are available from county assessor offices.
- Track values of parcels adjacent to SR-99 interchanges over a period of time to study the effect of SR-99 on their values. However, because Proposition 13 has capped growth of assessed valuations since the 1970s, these data are not ideal proxies for actual property values. Nevertheless, since the assessed valuation for a particular parcel is changed to reflect market value whenever the parcel is sold, recent sales correlate with actual values.
- Employment by industry
- Unemployment rate data showing corridor as a percent of state rate, and corridor as a percent of national rate.
- Housing start data, which is available from Construction Industry Research Board, Burbank, Calif.
- The California highway department's publications California Highways and Public Works and California Transportation Journal should be reviewed in order to augment the understanding of the timeline of the corridor's development and economic impact of the highway on local communities.
- California highway department economic development studies. In the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, the Land Economic Studies Section, Right-of-Way Department, California Division of Highways did studies of the economic effects of highways on communities. Some were of SR-99 projects in the San Joaquin Valley. In recent years, the Caltrans Division of Transportation Planning, Office of Transportation Economics has commissioned similar studies such as Transportation for Economic Development
(June 2003). The Office of Transportation Economics should be contacted to obtain studies that concern SR-99.
- Newspaper articles about highway improvement projects and highway-side development should be obtained and reviewed. Because transportation infrastructure is vital to a community's sustenance and development, newspapers extensively cover transportation projects and their effects on communities. Many newspapers in communities along SR-99 have archives that extend throughout the highway's existence as a paved road. The best source of information about newspaper archives in California is the California Newspaper Project's (CNP) website: http://www.cbsr.ucr.edu/cnp/. The University of California, Berkeley main library holds microfilm of all major newspapers in the SR-99 corridor, generally from 1930 to 1990. Major newspapers in the SR-99 corridor include: Bakersfield Californian, Visalia Times-Delta, Fresno Bee, Madera Tribune, Merced Sun Star, Modesto Bee, Stockton Journal, and Sacramento Bee. The Fresno Bee and Modesto Bee have extensive on-line archives. Although there is a charge to view articles, searching is free. For example, the Modesto Bee contains many articles about the Livingston Bypass, a five-mile-long SR-99 project that eliminated the last traffic signal on SR-99 in the San Joaquin Valley in 1996. Articles in the November 19, 1992 and August 26, 1996 issues focused on economic development aspects of the project. Public libraries and historical societies in San Joaquin Valley communities may also maintain newspaper clipping files that would include articles about SR-99 and economic development activity.
- Highways & Byways, a 1978 road tour book that consists of reprints from the Fresno Bee should also be reviewed.
- Maps and aerial photographs. Aerial photographs and maps should be compared to track how communities have evolved in relation to SR-99. The pictorial resources are especially useful for identifying "before/after" changes, such as new residential subdivisions. The University of California, Berkeley Earth Sciences Library maintains files of city and county road maps and U.S. Geological Survey maps for most of the 20th century. The USGS maps are helpful in that they annotate changes from the base-year map. The U.C. Berkeley library also has a collection of aerial photographs taken approximately a decade apart beginning circa 1940. This photo collection includes shots of the SR-99 corridor in 1979 on a 1:120,000 scale.
- Increase the Depth of Understanding. Interviews that could be conducted in addition to those conducted for the existing SR-99 highway corridor history report include:
- Key regional businesses. Interview large facilities that recently located or expanded along SR-99. Interviews should also be conducted with large business establishments that recently located/expanded or closed/contracted along SR-99 to assess how the highway affected their business decisions. For example, the largest cheese manufacturing plant in the world located near Hilmar in the mid-1980s. Interviews would also be done with the large distribution centers that have recently been constructed in Kern and Tulare counties (e.g. Ikea, Sears Logistics, Wal-Mart, Target).
- Economic development officials in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, and Fresno counties.
- Caltrans Intergovernmental Review Branches (in Caltrans Districts VI-Fresno and X-Stockton) regarding California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reports. The CEQA requires environmental impact reports or statements (EIR/EIS) as a prerequisite to significant public and private construction projects in California. Caltrans must be given notice if a project of statewide, regionwide, or areawide significance is planned near a state highway. Caltrans district offices have Intergovernmental Review Branches that analyze the EIRs for the agency and recommend responses. The Caltrans Intergovernmental Review Branch staff would make ideal interview subjects for an in-depth economic development history report because they are familiar with all major recent and proposed projects near SR-99.
Other recommended areas of investigation included:
- Residential development: Many new subdivisions have been constructed along SR 99, especially in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. This phenomenon should be examined. County and city planning offices could provide background data and statistics such as housing permits by year.
- Compare recent and 25-year old aerial photographs of a sample interchanges to document changes in type of development.
Augmentation of the I-43 corridor in Wisconsin is discussed in terms of the following issues:
- continual tracking over a longer time period
- tracking new business locations by interchange
- classifying the role of the highway in different areas of the corridor, and
- focusing on small area effects.
Each of these is discussed in more detail in the paragraphs below.
- Continual Tracking Over Longer Time Period. The time period covered by the economic data could be extended through a continual process of tracking economic development changes in a time series that is updated every 2 to 5 years. This will catch the fact that economic growth does not take place overnight, but rather manifests itself in a series of steps that evolve over time. This will catch the fact that we observed the timing of economic development to shift over time, following a spatial development pattern that appears to move from big cities to smaller towns and cities.
The I-43 Corridorin Wisconsin has shown that new private investment in business locations and new location of jobs have shifted geographically over time. The impacts on new business activity started at the endpoint (City of Green Bay / Brown County), where I-43 is seen as having improved the competitiveness and growth of manufacturing and distribution industries. The impacts evolved over time so that newer impacts are now occurring in the smaller cities located in the middle of the corridor (Cities of Sheboygan and Manitowoc, in the counties with the same name), where hospitality and retail industries as well as manufacturing have expanded in proximity to the I-43 corridor. Even newer development impacts are just now slowly moving to more rural areas, and further data collection will be necessary to identify their occurrence in other intermediate counties.
In order to conduct this analysis, the location of new business activities must be collected, disaggregated by county and distance from major cities.
- Tracking new business locations by interchange. Much of the county level aggregate economic statistics were of little value since they were too blunt to capture dynamic changes occurring just along the interstate highway corridor and at its interchange locations. Also, some of the most interesting findings pertained to specific forms of development at interchanges and along other local corridors that feed into the interstate highway interchanges. Thus, the tracking of land development should be done in terms of square footage by type, and should relate the relative increases attributable to the interstate highway with corresponding changes in land development patterns elsewhere in the region.
Specifically, the I-43 Corridorin Wisconsin showed post construction industrial and commercial sales growth focused on specific interchanges. This included:
- Mason Street (I-43 Business Center) interchange in Green Bay,
- USH 151/I-43 interchange in Manitowoc County, and
- USH10/STH42/I-43 interchange in Manitowoc County.
Further, the Waldo Boulvevard/I-43 and the STH 310/I-43 interchanges areas are expected to develop at some point in the future as a result of the development of I-43/USH 151 interchange in 1980 in Manitowoc County. Therefore, a continual tracking of economic development changes over 2 to 5 years at the Waldo Boulvevard/I-43 and the STH 310/I-43 interchanges may be useful.
In order to conduct this analysis, the location of new business activity locations should be collected over time, disaggregated by industry, interchange location, distance away from the interchange, and distance from major cities.
- Classifying the role of the highway in different areas of the corridor. To increase the depth of understanding, the function of interstate highway in the community should be classified and then data collection findings should be link to those different highway roles. Specifically, a relationship needs to be better established between the observed changes in economic development along the corridor, and the role of the interstate highway in serving as a: (1) Local commuting freeway; (2) Bypass for trucks and through car trips; (3) Highway connection or a hub of interconnecting highways; or (4) Connector route linking smaller communities to larger markets and regions. For example, the I-43 Corridorin Wisconsin serves as a local freeway route for commuters coming into downtown Milwaukee, and as part of a circumferential route in Green Bay. On the other hand, it serves as an intercity connector for the Manitowoc and Sheboygan areas. This example of different highway roles illustrates the importance of linking impacts to variations in the role that the interstate highway plays in different areas.
- Focusing on small area effects. The existing I-43 highway corridor histories report found that many of the effects were highly localized. Even when a regional-level highway connector increases total regional economic growth, significant economic changes may actually be strongly focused at specific places within the region. This makes it important to keep a more spatially detailed analysis, to see more localized effects: a) At the interchange, b) Away from the interstate highway, but connected to the highway; c) Away from the interstate highway and not directly connected to the highway.
For example, on I-43 in Wisconsin, it was found that the regional distribution centers of retail goods were generally located a little further away from the highway while trucking/transfer centers for manufacturing establishments were usually being located closer to the interstate highway interchanges. Specific locations along I-43 in Wisconsin that might warrant more detailed analysis include:
- East Troy in Milwaukee County,
- Grafton Interchange in Ozaukee County,
- Marquette Interchange in Milwaukee, and
- Intersection STH 57 in Ozaukee County
This analysis would reveal how the pattern of impacts and location for manufacturing, wholesale/distribution and/or retail/hotel developments vary from place-to-place.
I-81 in Pennsylvania
Augmentation of the I-81 corridor in Pennsylvania is discussed in terms of the following issues:
- Continual tracking over a longer time period
- Monitoring traffic changes by interchange location or highway segments,
- Classifying the role of the highway in different areas of the corridor, and
- Focusing on small area effects.
Each of these is discussed in more detail in the paragraphs below.
- Continual Tracking Over Longer Time Period. The time period covered by the economic data should be extended through a continual process of tracking economic development changes in a time series that is updated every 2 to 5 years. This will catch the fact that economic growth does not take place overnight, but rather manifests itself in a series of steps that evolve over time. This will catch the fact that we observed the timing of economic development to shift over time, following a spatial development pattern that appears to move from big cities to smaller towns and cities.
The I-81 Corridorin Pennsylvania has evolved over 20+ years from being a regional connector to becoming part of a major route for interstate truck transportation seeking an alternative to I-95. This has supported economic growth for both the northern and southern regions, where there are east-west connectors to other major metropolitan areas. The result has been particularly strong for transportation & warehousing, and certain technology-based manufacturing industries. However, stronger and earlier economic development changes were noted in the southern (Harrisburg) part of the corridor than in the more northern (Scranton) part of the corridor, probably because of Harrisburg's more developed role as a hub of connecting highways. New development impacts are slowly moving to more locations outside of these two urban areas.
In order to conduct this analysis, the location of new business activities must be collected, disaggregated by county and distance from major cities.
- Monitoring traffic changes by interchange location or highway segments. The I-81 highway corridor history report revealed that traffic growth and economic growth tended to correlate, though the direction of causality went in both directions. However, we were hampered by the fact that each state counts traffic only at sporadically times and places, so that it was difficult to achieve full coverage of traffic trends over time for all segments of the interstate highway corridor. This left a gap. There is a need for earlier designation of corridors where there is an interest in having more systematic counting of traffic trends over time. For instance:
The I-81 Corridor in Pennsylvania showed uneven traffic growth over time along the corridor I-81, with notable variation among stretches of highway around:
- I-81 stretch south of I-380,
- Great Bend interchange on exit 68 and New Milford interchange on Exit 67,
- Route 706 East Montrose (Bridgewater Township) connection to I-81 via Route 11 in Susquehanna County; and
- I-81 link to I-83 via Route 581 and Route 11 east in Cumberland County.
Collecting this traffic count data could be done in order to track traffic growth by highway segment and interchange over time, so that traffic growth can be linked to different impacts on changes in manufacturing, retailing and wholesale/distribution activities.
- Classifying the role of the highway in different areas of the corridor. To increase the depth of understanding, the function of interstate highway in the community should be classified and then data collection findings could be link to those different highway roles. Specifically, a relationship needs to be better established between the observed changes in economic development along the corridor, and the role of the interstate highway in serving as a: (1) Local commuting freeway; (2) Bypass for trucks and through car trips; (3) Highway connection or a hub of interconnecting highways; or (4) Connector route linking smaller communities to larger markets and regions. For example, the I-81 Corridorin Pennsylvania serves as a local freeway for the Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre areas, as a regional connector for points north of Wilkes-Barre and South of Harrisburg, and as part of an interstate bypass route to New York City for portions in between those two cities. This example of different highway roles illustrates the importance of linking impacts to variations in the role that the interstate highway plays in different areas.
- Focusing on small area effects. The existing I-81 in Pennsylvania highway corridor histories report found that many of the effects were highly localized. Even when a regional-level highway connector increases total regional economic growth, significant economic changes may actually be strongly focused at specific places within the region. This makes it important to keep a more spatially detailed analysis, to see more localized effects: a) At the interchange, b) Away from the interstate highway, but connected to the highway; c) Away from the interstate highway and not directly connected to the highway.
For example, in the I-81 history report, it was found that the regional distribution centers of retail goods were generally located a little further away from the highway while trucking/transfer centers for manufacturing establishments were usually being located closer to the interstate highway interchanges. Specific locations that might warrant more detailed analysis include:
- Harrisburg city
- South-Hampton Township, Guildford Township, and South Middleton Township in Harrisburg city
- Route 581 in Cumberland County
- Dickson city interchange near Montage Mountains
- South Gibson Township near the Elk Mountain region, and
- Bridgewater Township.
This analysis would reveal how the pattern of impacts and location for manufacturing, wholesale/distribution and/or retail/hotel developments vary from place-to-place.
Note: The terms "Local Study, "Highway Corridor Study" and "Regional Study" refer to the definition of such studies used in the guidebook, Using Empirical Information to Measure the Economic Impact of Highway Investments; Volume 2: Guidelines for Data Collection and Analysis (April 2001).
San Francisco Chronicle Article about Opening of Livingston Bypass on SR-99 in 1996
Infamous Blood Alley to Disappear
New bypass around Highway 99 stoplight
- Peter Fimrite, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, November 4, 1996
Livingston, Merced County -- When a bypass is completed around the last traffic light on Highway 99 in the San Joaquin Valley next month, it will eliminate one of the most notorious of California's ``blood alleys'' and mark the end of an era.
From Mexico to the Oregon border, California highways were once littered with dangerous stoplights -- and in one ill- conceived project, a two-directional passing lane that invited head-on collisions.
Most of the blood alleys, including those near San Jose and Santa Rosa, were antiquated intersections that were never upgraded when highways became freeways after World War II. The stoplight in Livingston has been there for at least 50 years and is the only remaining signal in 275 miles of highway from Bakersfield to Sacramento.
"It will be a blessing when that light is finally gone. It's just too dangerous,'' said Fred Warden, 73, who has seen almost as much carnage on Highway 99 as he did in the Army in World War II. ``That's `no man's land' out there.''
Residents of the city of 10,000 have been fighting for decades for a freeway bypass that would allow motorists to glide through town. Caltrans completed a bypass for the southbound lanes in September. The northbound bypass will be opened around December 13, and the highway's old roadbed will become a thoroughfare for local traffic.
"It is the last segment of Highway 99 being upgraded to freeway standard,'' said Caltrans spokesman Jim Drago. ``At one time there were lights all up and down 99 because it went through all the valley towns, but times have changed.''
The project, which replaces the lights with on- and off-ramps at Hammatt Avenue and Winton Parkway, has been on the drawing board since 1958, when Caltrans promised the town that a freeway would be built there the next year.
Lack of Concern
But money shortages, other high-profile projects and a general lack of concern among state officials combined to kill the plans every year. Traffic signals in the nearby towns of Keyes and Denair were bypassed or removed by the end of the 1980s, leaving only the Livingston light.
As the rest of Highway 99 was upgraded, the hazard in Livingston increased. Motorists traveling at high speeds over long distances just did not expect to stop and signs warning of a traffic light ahead didn't seem to help.
In the winter, when thick ground fog cuts visibility to almost zero, cars stopped at the traffic light became sitting ducks for rear-end collisions.
Some of the accidents there were so horrific that they are etched into the memories of the locals. People in Livingston still talk about the time years ago when three people were incinerated in a crash between a car and a big-rig. Old-timers remember when the top of a man's head was sheared off in a collision. He somehow survived.
One that really hit home was the day in 1985 when former City Councilman Wilbur Ratzhoff was killed in a collision with a gasoline tanker.
40 DEATHS SINCE '76
In all, 40 people have been killed at the intersection since 1976, and hundreds more injured. The accident rate on that stretch of road is double the statewide average.
Dangerous highways became a major problem after World War II when Americans had a particular hankering for travel. In 1956, gasoline cost about 25 cents a gallon and a new Ford could be purchased for less than $2,000. Consequently, the number of vehicles quickly overwhelmed the state highway system.
Bob Binger, who retired last week as district manager for Caltrans after 44 years with the transit agency, said he remembers holiday and weekend traffic between 1945 and 1955 backed up on Highway 99 for up to 30 miles.
"It was a terrible mess,'' he said. "There were a lot of accidents, so we just had to build bigger highways.''
One particularly ill-conceived effort to relieve traffic congestion was the insertion around 1945 of a single passing lane in the middle of the northbound and southbound lanes of Highway 99 between Fresno and the San Joaquin River. Motorists in both directions used the lane for passing, with a predictable result.
A Game of Chicken
"It was quickly labeled `blood alley' because there were so many serious multivehicle accidents and head-on collisions,'' Binger said. ``It was sort of like a game of chicken out there.'' That six-mile section was replaced with a four-lane freeway in 1956.
And Highway 99 was hardly the only place where there were blood alleys:
-- A congested stretch of Highway 101 between San Jose and Morgan Hill, called Old Monterey Road, was a glorified country lane with 15 intersections and a string of quaint fruit stands. Between 1973 and 1984, there were 69 deaths there and nearly 750 injuries, mostly from cars drifting into oncoming traffic or getting plowed into as they pulled onto the highway from cross streets or after buying fruit.
Caltrans finally put a stop to the carnage in 1985 when a 12-mile bypass was completed.
-- A 22-mile stretch of Highway 152 east of Los Banos was one of the most deadly roads until a four- lane expressway was built in 1967, according to Caltrans officials. That year alone, there were 25 fatal crashes at intersections and from cross-lane head-ons in those 22 miles.
-- Another deadly section of Highway 101 in Cloverdale known as ``Slaughter Alley'' was bypassed in 1994, five years after a truck hauling two empty fertilizer trailers veered into oncoming traffic and crushed a station wagon, killing a Santa Rosa baseball coach, two of his sons and three members of his team.
Havoc on Highway
The crash outraged residents who demanded that Caltrans make good on a 1959 promise to reroute the highway out of Cloverdale, where a stoplight created havoc on the highway.
Traffic lights were bypassed on Highway 101 in Novato in 1974 and Geyserville in 1975 to alleviate gridlocked traffic. The last unimproved section of 101 in Santa Barbara, where a traffic signal left over from 1948 created monumental traffic jams, was bypassed in 1991.
There is still a traffic signal on Highway 50 in Placerville, but the number of accidents there does not approach the level on Highway 99 in Livingston or other highways that were improved.
In the Bay Area, the only roadway still referred to as "blood alley'' is Highway 37 between Vallejo and Highway 121, but the dangers there aren't caused by traffic signals. Most of Highway 37 is a narrow two-lane road that cannot be widened because it is next to protected marshland. Last year, fines were doubled and Caltrans installed a median barrier along much of the stretch in an effort to make the highway safer.
Last Old Highway Link
The Livingston stoplight is the last link to a highway system that connected country towns that sprang up around railroad stations. What is now known as Highway 99 was originally a railroad service road used by horse-drawn wagons.
Binger said portions of 99 are still exactly where they were when it was designated a state highway in 1909 and the pavement in those areas is as much as six feet thick. The retired Caltrans manager said he recently found a chunk of pavement called Warrenite that was used in the 1920s and '30s.
There were traffic signals in every town, and motorists stopped regularly for gas, soda pop or a slice of homemade pie.
"99 has always been THE road that everybody took and it was fun because you got to see all the towns along the way,'' said Warden, the World War II vet. "I wouldn't mind seeing the towns like they used to be, but not the freeway.''
Despite some concern from local business owners that drivers will no longer see them, most Livingston residents say the bypass is the best thing to happen in town since the Foster Farms chicken plant set up shop.
"With the highway bypass we are now as good as any other town,'' said Danny Au, 50, a clerk in his family's store, Bo's Market, for the past 30 years. "We can now forget about our highway problem and concentrate on improving business and making the city better.''
About the Series
Today's "Commuter Chronicles'' continues a weekly series of stories exploring the practical aspects of transportation and commuting in the Bay Area. Each Monday, the series features articles aimed at getting behind the political controversies and real-life vexations that readers face every day on buses, trains and BART, highways and byways.
If you have a question, concern or story idea, please send it to Commuter Chronicles, 901 Mission St., San Francisco 94103, or send e-mail to:
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[i] See: http://www.edrgroup.com/hwy-impact.html
[ii] FHWA has a .pdf file called Interstate Histories Appendix 1: "Interstate 16 Dates Opened to Traffic," It shows the chronological opening of I-16 on a map. It was provided by Danny Mummey of the Georgia DOT Jesup District.
[iii] This assumes exemplary cooperation by agencies with data, free interviews and other favorable conditions
[iv] FHWA has a .pdf file called Interstate Histories Appendix 3: New Freeway to Bring L.A. and S.F. Closer which is a copy of a 1962 Newspaper article about I-5.