I-3 insanity

Yesterday's Knoxville News Sentinel had an update on the proposed I-3 project, which would create a $50 billion, 450 mile interstate highway from Savannah, GA, to Knoxville, TN where it would connect to I-75. Here's an AP report. Here is KNS's map of the proposed route.

Environmental groups oppose it because it runs through the wild, undeveloped Southern Appalachians in North Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, skirting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are also concerns about traffic and pollution in Knoxville, where two major U.S. Interstates (I-75 and I-40)already intersect, fed by I-81, another major U.S. Interstate.

Opponents also say there is a hidden nuclear agenda involving shipment of nuclear weapons materials and hazardous nuclear waste between the DOE Savannah River Site and Oak Ridge.

Proponents say it will connect Savannah to the Midwest to improve commerce and stimulate new industrial development.

Neither recent news article mentions an important fact, though. Maybe I'm missing something, but Savannah already has an Interstate highway route all the way to Knoxville by way of I-95, I-26, and I-40. According to MapQuest, the existing, all-Interstate route is only 419 miles, downtown to downtown, as opposed to the $50 billion, 450 mile proposed route.

Not only is I-3 not needed, and not only will it wreck portions of the Southern Appalachian ecosystem, it appears that it is nothing more than a massive $50 billion boondoggle for road builders and land speculators. Why we're spending $1.3 million to study it is beyond me.

For more info, see StopI-3.org.

(Ed. note: reposted from the author's blog.)