Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dayton's Lost Highway

Not a cliché but a real no-kidding lost highway…really a forgotten highway, or maybe a never-built one?

I came across this stretch of road while doing some research on uneven development and urban sprawl in west & northwest Montgomery County and was intrigued…

Why build such a big wide-open road with huge median, through a bunch of 1950s suburbia?

It just keeps on going….where could it possibly go !?

Nowhere. The road dead ends in a wooded area just south of Free Pike.

Taking a look at some aerials it turns out this highway, Brumbaugh Boulevard, appears to have been planned to go much further south, and it looks like work was started on an extension south of Free Pike…

…but never completed. The grading is there, and one can even see the start of the median, in this close up.

It turns out Brumbaugh Boulevard was part of a big circumferential highway project, the implementation of a late 1940s highway plan for the county. The idea was to develop a beltway around Dayton by connecting and widening existing roads. It looks like this was one of the connecting highways, connecting with Miller & Infirmary Roads on the south and Turner Road to the east.

Note the date on this new article. 1957. A key year as this was when a limited access interstate highway bypass was authorized for Dayton, route yet to be determined.

One has to wonder about lining a beltway with houses, but one can speculate that the county required the ROW to be set-aside when the surrounding subdivisions were platted, and the wide median would have been cut back for additional lanes when the beltway was complete and started drawing traffic. Requiring frontage roads would have taken up too much developable land

The northern part of Brumbaugh must have been reconfigured when Turner Road was extended to the Trotwood Connector, and one wonders if a row of houses was taken out to make this connection

Will They Ever Finish Brumbaugh Boulevard?

The original beltway plan was an example of how the early postwar planning was even handed, by proposing a true circumferential highway that would open up (and connect) all the parts of the county to suburbanization, especially by creating easier movement between the southern & eastern and northern & western parts of the county.

That Brumbaugh Boulevard was abandoned (and literally so, with road construction apparently stopped in its tracks), and only the eastern & northern part of a beltway built (today’s “Wright Brothers Parkway”) demonstrates how resources were shifted to “favored sectors”, which reaped the development benefits of better highway access.

It is an example of uneven development in Montgomery County.

West/Northwest Montgomery County would have to wait until the Trotwood Connector/Turner Road extension of the 1990s, 40 years after Brumbaugh Boulevard, before being connected to the regional highway system.


Admin said...

Yes quite a few of those brick homes built by Huber were consumed when Turner Road cut off the end of Brumbaugh as noted in this Dayton Daily news story.

And Jeffery is absolutely correct that it was visioned as part of the westward loop around Dayton that was never completed. Difficulties acquiring the right of way and a slowdown in development south of Brumbaugh put the concept on hold for so long that attention gradually waned and planners assumed the future Trotwood Connector would negate the need for the original inner loop.

Admin said...

Jeffery I just noticed that the 'Today' map in your Nuns and Subdivisions post shows all the lots that were absorbed when Turner road cut off Brumbaugh. Homes were lost on both sides of the street.