Posted 11 August 2016 - 05:41 PM
The actual scam related to the Chinese project notwithstanding, it's still a bad idea considering the fact that we have so many overhead utility features in this area (and throughout the US for that matter) such as traffic lights, power lines, telecom, overhead lighting. The prospect of relocating everything along a certain corridor to provide clearance for such a vehicle is difficult to imagine. The cost would be tremendous for that part alone.
Then there's the issue of clearance. A minimum of 13'-6" is required to get tractor trailers underneath. That plus the height of the cabin area makes for a very tall vehicle. Either traffic signals are located above or outside the extreme height/width of the vehicle or they are located somewhere else visible to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Any other structures that interfere would have to be addressed.
I don't know if turning is an option for a vehicle like this, but I imagine it would have to occur in a special dedicated area if it was possible at all. More likely it would just travel back and forth along a particular path. Since the footprint of the vehicle is quite small compared to its overall size, it is more difficult to notice it's moving for those close by, which is likely to result in pedestrians being struck by the vehicle as it begins to move. I work around trains and it may seem crazy, but this is actually an issue even for people who work around this equipment every day, especially at night or in other low visibility situations.
Where do the wheels actually go? Do they use the edges of the existing road where the curb is located? Do they use a special dedicated sidewalk-like path reinforced to carry a heavy vehicle such as this? If a special path is required, I have to ask why not rail because the subgrade and paving surface will need to be removed and replaced to support the vehicle.
What are the rules specific to navigating around such a vehicle for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians? Can you pass under it while stopped? What about turning at an intersection? How about emergency evacuations?
There are lots of good ideas out there. It's a good thing that someone is thinking outside the box. But this is silly. Think of the bus, streetcar or rail system you could have for the cost of the utility relocation alone. Considering how difficult it is to get any one of those things around here, this idea just strikes me as massive waste, a solution looking for an expensive problem.