We reported on federal highways that tore apart US communities and are now coming down for NBC News. Ask us anything!
EDIT: Thanks for participating, everyone. This was fun and we hope you continue to follow our reporting.
Hi, we’re NBC News reporters Suzanne Gamboa, Phil McCausland, Josh Lederman, and Ben Popken
We reported on how some communities are taking down or starting to consider removing federal highways that bulldozed and bisected predominantly minority neighborhoods starting in the 1950s, displacing over 1 million people.
Our research looked at the dozens of highways under consideration and highlighted three that represented different stages of the process:
- The I-81 in Syracuse, New York
- The Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans, Louisiana,
- The multiple interchanges dividing the Boyle Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, California.
We spoke to residents on the ground and policymakers, combed through archive photos, built interactive maps, flew a drone over the highway, and recorded audio from a highway 130 feet from an elementary school.
With over 41,000 miles of interstates we couldn’t cover all the highways, but hoped to give an overview of how these highways came to be, where they stand, and where they might go as the administration earmarks $20 billion for highway renewal.
Many of these highways no longer meet their intended function or have reached their end of life. The debate about what to do with the highways reopens old wounds. It raises questions about who would stand to gain community resources or lose business. Our reporting showed that some of these highways were deliberately built in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
We’ll be here Tuesday, August 3rd at 3pm EST to answer your questions.