Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Great Underway

I don't think anyone really likes living near a highway. They're loud. (VRRRROOOOOOOOOSSSHHH!!) They're grey. They increase the amount of traffic near you. And when there's a traffic snarlup..... HONKHONKHONKHONKHONK, and then it promptly spills over to the nearby streets, because people get impatient. I'm sure the city doesn't like the loss of so much land either. So much land that could, I don't know, be a business district.
I'm imagining a layered highway. On the top layer, a two lane road with a business district on either side. Quiet. Calm. Peaceful. 35 MPH speed limit. And occasional lanes down to a lower layer. This one has no stop signs or traffic lights, and the speed limit is 55 MPH. It's enclosed, which reduces the sound the cars make, with paintings along the side showing what the next exit leads to. The exits are special lanes that go back up to the surface street. And in the middle, there's an occasional lane down one layer more.
The lowest level has speed limits of 120MPH (or higher). It's meant for the really long hauls, Interstate or further. Fans on the ceiling drop air resistance by a significant amount. Your massive rocketing speed remains unnoticed at the surface, as you are quite some way down. Exits lead back to the main freeway level every so many miles.
Ideally, this would use the earth as a sound absorber. If you lived near this freeway, you might not notice, even though the lowest level's outer lanes ran directly under your house. You would just notice that there were shops nearby, and when you needed to go in the freeway's direction, you could get going at a fast or ludicrous pace within a very short amount of time.
I have three concerns to work out. One is exhaust. If I don't vent it somehow, it will build up to lethal levels in the lowest tunnel. Another is water management. If this gets lower than the local water table, all hell breaks lose engineering wise. The last is breakdowns. If you run out of gas or your engine fails at the lowest level, then what?

4 comments:

TCG said...

There is a tunnel in central Asia called the tunnel of Doom by the locals. Its called the Anzob tunnel. The Iranians built it for them... unfortunately they did not know how to build tunnels.

Many bikers travel through it. It is knee deep in water, filled with pot holes and abandoned vehicles. It has no ventilation and thus is filled with choking diesel fumes (which already run rich because of the altitude).

This is how NOT to build a tunnel.... the Chinese moved in during 2010 to repair it.

TCG said...

Crap forgot the link

#http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C_NIYZVwoc&feature=related

Mad Engineering said...

Ack, what a poorly constructed tunnel! The road leading in was ill conceived, there were puddles deep enough to drown my poor little car, and I could barely breathe even looking at it. (And you say it's full of fumes?!)
Where was all that freaking water coming from? I saw it occasionally rain from the ceiling...

TCG said...

IIRC when David told me about it (since he lives in Bishkek) , the Iranians simply did not know how to build a tunnel. They managed to hit an underground river while digging it.

Riders who went through it in 2009 said it has since deteriorated. There are now no lights, and there are wrecks strewn on the inside and the water is waist deep.

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