We’ve all driven through congested interstate road work, and the landscape is a series of orange cones, equipment and rubble. The result is a smooth blue-black asphalt stretch of road, but in Seattle, their 277 mile-long Interstate 5 could possibly be on its way to becoming something more – actual green landscape.

Originally built in 1962, Interstate 5 quickly became a disruption to the community, and sliced through Seattle’s downtown, “creating not only an eyesore but an abundance of noise and pollution.” Though the problem has been evident for years, it is not until recently that local firm Patano Studio Architecture has proposed an innovative solution brimming with benefits: “Capping the freeway with a two-mile-long, 45-acre elevated park that would hide the roadway and offer space for affordable housing.”

The Seattle C.A.P.itol Hill Park would start, “at the Lakeview overpass on the north end, running along the western edge of Capitol Hill towards the downtown core.” The park would eventually wind its way around to a proposed hybrid arena with the potential to support 20,000 people.

Architectural Digest’s Nick Mafi reports, “By covering the ten lanes of traffic with a park including pedestrian paths, bike lanes, ample green space, and affordable housing, Seattle could set an example for other cities. Los Angeles is currently looking into ways to cover parts of Highway 101, while Boston officials want to cap a section of Interstate 90.”

Mafi further makes a valid, poignant observation, “The new park space could also fill a major urban need missing from Seattle today: A large central downtown park.”

Scott Bonjukian wrote at the Urbanist, “The Center City … is now so intensely developed that there are few vacant sites left for new buildings. But growth will continue for the foreseeable future, and the unused airspace over Interstate 5 will inevitably beckon developers and city planners.”

As with any large infrastructural project, this solution will take time to be fully executed, but simply by beginning the transformation, the momentum, support, and interest from natives and observing cities alike will come.

See more about Patano Studio’s C.A.P.ITOL HILL PARK concept here.

Photography by Pantano Studio