Teamwork & Problem Solving
How much would it cost to purchase the concrete necessary to construct a six-lane highway between Denver, Colorado and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma?
The distance between Denver and Oklahoma City is 681 Miles of distance or 1,198,560 yards (Google Maps).
A 6 lane highway typically consists of 6 12 foot lanes, would stretch 24 yards across (Wikipedia). 1,198,560 yards of highway with a length of 24 yards across would require 28,764,440 cubic yards of concrete just to cover the surface. The cost of that concrete would be $2,301,155,200.
The shoulder of the highway should be between 2 and 10 feet, averaging about 6 (Troop) which could cost $100 per yard of highway (Cost Helper) totaling $119,856,000 to provide adequate support and drainage.
Concrete in a cubic yard with rebar costs 7 dollars more than concrete without (Rolfe Corp), and by itself rebar can be purchased for 2.25 per yard (Home Advisor). Assuming that 5% of the 681 miles of concrete contains rebar, this is an additional cost of $10,067,904
To account for the 2% incline in highway pavement (a 9” difference in height for each direction of traffic) each cubic meter of length will require an additional 3 (Texas Access) cubic meters to compose the incline (2 sets of 12 meters across by .25 meters’ height divided in half). This cost would be an additional $287,654,400 assuming the incline contains no rebar.
There are no major mountain ranges or bodies of water directly between Oklahoma City and Denver, however one assumes that there will naturally be unmapped moats maintained in the middle of the road by feudal barons in Kansas and that all of the mountains will be busy having a rager at the Tetons, and therefore will not (Wikipedia) suddenly leap out into the great plains. If we conservatively estimate that we may need to build ten small bridges on this route, we should budget $1,726,477 per bridge (Teach Engineering) for design and material costs equaling $17,264,770.
There are an untold number of potential sites for offramps. Assuming that each one requires only half a mile of concrete with 5% rebar to construct (existing roads should have their own facilities for support and drainage already in place, possibly eliminating the need for additional shoulder construction) then that amounts to $70,708 per ramp, of which we would need 2 for each direction of traffic, assuming one pair for every 15 miles. This amount is $6,420,286.40 for the entire stretch of the highway, however costs could be saved by forcing motorists to manually lift their cars onto and off of the highway with the help of friends, family, and services like AAA.
The total cost for material and my design fee for the bridges would amount to:
In summation, it is clearly way way smarter for all of us just to walk. I mean look at Detroit and NASA—America clearly does not have the money to finance this. Unfortunately, that means that everyone trapped in Kansas will have to just stay there until a tornado whirls them away.
In other news, this is just less than half of the cost for new highway construction in Arkansas. (Washing State Department of Transportation)