The city of Hamburg is kicking off a massive effort to bury and cap two miles of a highway that cuts right through town. Fast Company reported that the $800 million project will create 60 new acres of green space which include “open meadows, woods, bike paths, community gardens, and tree-lined squares.” Capping the highway will also create space for about 2000 new homes, according to city officials.
While everyone likes new green space, this massive project is actually a means to solve a pretty common urban problem: noise. Since putting up walls around the increasingly crowded highway wouldn’t do the trick, the city opted for the capping option. This then has the added benefit of creating new usable space. But it’s not all urbanist dream world over in Hamburg. As Fast Company noted, the capping project also means widening the highway – and as you probably know, widening highways pretty much always makes traffic worse.
As Hamburg gets to work on this project, Montreal is starting a highway project all its own. The Canadian city isn’t burying one of its highways, but knocking it down to create a multi-modal boulevard. It is an ambitious plan with an ambitious budget and timeline; the city says it can have the project done in 2017 at the cost $141.6 million. The Hamburg project is expected to wrap up in 2022.