Ooh, the debate over whether or put the West Side Highway underground for a stretch on the Upper West Side (Lincoln Center area, really) in the West 60s is examined in the NY Times. And there's a graphic of how the tunnel would be placed and how new parkspace would be created as a result. The undergrounding of the highway won't happen for at least 10 years, and the project's funding is debatable, but the Riverside South Planning Corporation is excavating the ground.
But with the box ready when the viaduct needs to be replaced, the cost of rerouting the highway could be about the same as building a new viaduct. Some excavation would still be necessary, because the space for the box between 65th and 69th Streets was filled in when the first of the apartment buildings was being built. The box was suggested in the city's 1992 agreement that allowed Riverside South to be built, and the responsibility for building it was the developer's.
The RSPC's executive director Michael Bradley emphasizes that the $180 million is not Westway or Boston's Big Dig, and says this project, a "Rubik's Cube of construction" will "save a ton of money and heartaches." And Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe likes the idea, saying, "I think a lot of people now realize no matter how nice Hudson River Park is, it would have been nicer if Westway had been built in some configuration. The highway would have been underground, we would have had a much larger park and a much better connection from the community to the park."
Graphic from the NY Times