Because of pressing needs on the existing expressway system and the region’s limited financial resources, ON TO 2050 does not make major commitments to building and then maintaining new roadways to serve mostly future demand. Instead, the region must reinvest in the existing system. The region’s expressways were largely built in the 1950s and 1960s, and the standard lifespan of these facilities is 50 years. While pavement and bridge rehabilitation can extend the life of these assets, by 2050 the only economical improvement will be a complete rebuild. Due to lagging investment in the region’s road system, that rebuild is needed almost immediately in several cases. By emphasizing reinvestment in the current system, the region can also help support existing communities and, crucially, limit the environmental impacts and long-term costs of constructing new infrastructure. For all expressway projects, implementers will have to consider opportunities to defray construction costs, improve system performance, and support transit service through tolling and managed lanes, as well as consider the value for money and public risk that a PPP might provide as a project delivery mechanism.
The oldest parts of the existing system are also the most affected by chronically unreliable travel times and in some places have major safety problems, both of which can be addressed through design and investments in active traffic management as part of the reconstruction. In some cases, adding capacity through new managed lanes is also appropriate. Managed lanes make the most of any investment in new road capacity by using pricing to control the amount of traffic entering the lanes, which in turn helps keep the lanes uncongested. They also give travelers an option to ensure reliably fast trips even during peak periods.
The following are the constrained regionally significant expressway projects
Costs displayed below are the total capital costs for the projects, including both reconstruction and new capacity, in 2018 dollars. Fiscal constraint is based on year of expenditure new capacity costs and incremental operating costs.