Ghost Highway

Friday, May 9, 2008 

This is a really cool post about some vestiges of a highway that was almost built through Boston and Cambridge. When I was in school I heard a rumor of this 695 project and that MIT, for obvious reasons opposed to having a freeway run through the middle of campus, did a few things along the way to deter construction:

  • Building 20 was declared a national historic landmark (where radar was invented during world war II) though it was originally intended as a temporary structure and in the time it took MIT to undo that declaration it became increasingly rickety. It is now the site of the new Stata center.
  • Parking structures (W45) were built along the path (it was said for the difficulty in demolishing them, thought that makes less sense now than it did as an undergrad)
  • The MIT nuclear reactor was built right in the path. My favorite lab experiment ever was testing neutron wave/particle duality in 8.13
  • A couple of fusion reactors were built along the same path, though these came later I think. I remember that test firings, especially of the tandem mirror confinement, caused some cool effects even in the control rooms.
Posted at 01:00:42 GMT-0700

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