The I-95 corridor is supposed to be heavily congested, and it is no wonder. Here we have the most densely populated corridor in the U.S. and it is served by a freeway that is mostly just six lanes. Moreover, the lanes are distinctly narrower than freeway lanes that I am used to in the West — I suspect 12-foot wide lanes vs. 14-footers in the West. At one point on a four-lane section of the GW Parkway, I noted the driver was unable to pass another bus because both together seemed wider than the two north-bound lanes.
THe Federal Highway Administration distinguishes between bridges that are “structurally deficient,” meaning they require extra maintenance and may not be able to support the loads they were originally built for, and “functionally obsolete,” meaning they may be in good condition but suffer from outdated designs such as narrow lanes, low overheads, and/or overly sharp curves. A similar distinction might be made for highways. I-95 seems to be relatively smooth and free of potholes, meaning it is not structurally deficient. But it is close to being functionally obsolete. If we are going to build new infrastructure, this is the kind of infrastructure that should be replaced, not high-speed rail lines that will soon be structurally deficient because we can’t afford to maintain them.