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Section 5: Depressed Driving Lanes

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Depressed driving lanes are usually the result of alignment geometry that requires deep cuts in order to maintain acceptable gradients.

The development of new, depressed sections in existing urban centers is generally cost prohibitive due to costs associated with excavation and utility relocation. However, there are situations where considerations of coast may be justified. The potential benefits of a depressed section are:

From an aesthetics point of view the design considerations of the depressed section are similar to those of an at-grade section. The primary difference will be in selecting special treatments for steep slopes and aesthetic details of retaining walls.

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Aesthetic Desgin Considerations

Some important design considerations for depressed driving lanes include:

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  • to moderate the dominate scale of the depressed structures, select colors and materials that minimize the concrete tunnel effect of a depressed section
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  • use consistent materials where possible
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  • use colors and materials that will not show weather and water stains
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  • use more intense colors on areas of cross structures that will be in predominant shade
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  • incorporate lighting, graphics, signage, and other information devices into cross structures (for example, street names can become part of the structure rather than being posted on posts); combining these elements reduces visual clutter
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