This report is from my return two-day trip to Meridian, MS from Roselle Park, NJ, on November 28-29, 1999.

Return NJ-MS roadtrip (long)

Sorry about the delay, but I got in late last night and needed some sleep before it was "back to the saddle" today. Some of this I have mentioned in other recent threads, plus I'm posting from memory:

- I remember seeing an I-95 shield on the NB NJTPK between Exit 7 and Exit 8.

- I-195 between NJTPK and I-295 is in rather good condition, which evidently is in contrast to other portions.

- All traffic on NJ 29 south of downtown Trenton is detoured to NJ 129 for a short stretch (at least for cars). It picks up again just south of the US 1 interchange.

- Question for the NJ crowd: Was the US 1 freeway in Trenton supposed to extend to the never-built I-95 gap?

- The Betsy Ross Bridge is signed as NJ 90 on I-95 BGS's.

- The US 322/Commodore Barry Bridge is 5-lanes undivided, with lane controls.

- In the DE 1 gap between Odessa and Smyrna, there are signs in the US 13 median showing where the future DE 1 will cross over.

- I noticed that US 13 through DE and MD is 4-lane divided with paved shoulders. By contrast, the VA section (north of CBBT) is a mix of 4-lane divided and 5-lane undivided, with little in the way of shoulders in many locations. BTW, even taking the Thanksgiving weekend into account, traffic was very heavy along this corridor.

- CBBT was well worth the $10 toll.

- Not sure if this has been mentioned previously, but I-264 is being extended east to Virginia Beach along the existing VA 44 freeway. Exits have been renumbered (showing both the old and new numbers), and some of the reassurance shields are up. I got a pic of the END VA 44/I-264 shield.

- Where does US 60 end in Virginia Beach? One of the locals said it's at the Laskin Rd/Pacific Ave intersection, where US 58 also presumably ends. An acute lack of END signage in VA is a problem in this case.

- Both NG and RMcN are in error on the US 13/58/460 duplex between I-664 and US 13 in Suffolk. Both show it as a freeway, when in reality, it has numerous cross streets.

- US 58 between the Norfolk area and Emporia was very busy. Certainly a possible candidate for a full freeway (probably won't happen realistically, though). Likewise, I-95 between Emporia, VA and Rocky Mount was well-traveled as well. Although only 4 lanes, this section of I-95 is well maintained.

- Pavement condition along I-40 was fairly good east of Winston-Salem, generally so-so west. West of Hickory gets VERY hilly. Between Exit 66 and Exit 72 is a 6-lane stretch that is VERY twisty and also a long grade westbound. Speed limit is 55 MPH, and for trucks is 35 MPH going EB down the hill.

- I was impressed with the Great Smokey Mountains Expressway (US 74 from I-40 to NC 28), not just for the scenery, but also the 4-lanes and the milemarkers (BTW, John, why IS it that NC roads don't have milemarkers?). Speed limit was 55 MPH, except on the Bryson City-Whittier freeway segment, which was 60 MPH. It comes to an abrupt end at the NC 28 NORTH intersection, where it becomes a narrow, twisty, hilly, 45 MPH 2-lane road. The milemarkers also come to an abrupt end at this intersection as well.

- About 2-3 miles up that road, I came upon an internet cafe/coffee house of sorts right on US 19/74, although I didn't realize it at the time and had to backtrack to get back to it (this was yesterday afternoon). Very nice place. While resting on mocha and scanning the newsgroup and E-mail, I was chatting with the owner, who mentioned about the plan to bridge the 4-lane gap between Andrews and NC 28, largely to get the trucks off the old route and away from the rafting buses (the Nantahala gorge is very popular with rafters). She talked about 4-laning NC 28 northwest from US 19/74 for some distance (evidently something going on right now), then dropping down and blasting through the mountains to link up with the Andrews bypass (isn't this one of your projects, John?). She also thought that the current route will be maintained as a scenic route after the new route is completed, which makes sense. I thought it was VERY scenic, even if it's hair-raising to drive.

- Between Andrews and Ranger, traffic picks up a bit, and instead of interchanges and freeway bypasses, there are stoplights at the major intersections. I counted 7 such stoplights.

- The 4-lanes continues to the TN 68 interchange (which, curiously, was designed with TN 68 as the main route), although US 64/74 is an improved 2-lanes (almost super-2ish) for another 6 miles west. It comes to an abrupt end in the Ocoee River valley, and once again the route is a twisty, river-hugging, 45 MPH 2-lanes, although not quite as narrow. 4-laning doesn't pick up again until about a mile east of US 411.

- There is NO I-124 sign northbound, although the southbound one is still there. And thanks to my flash finally working, I finally got a pic of it. *loud cheering*  [Editor's Note:  there have been no I-124 shields since at least 2001.]

- To clear up an earlier thread, there are 4 miles of I-24 in Georgia.

- For anyone traveling through Birmingham on I-20/59, I highly recommend using I-459 instead of just going through. It's only 1 mile longer, and the speed limit is 70 along the entire stretch. Also, there are only 6 miles that aren't 6-lanes, unlike the 17 miles along I-20/59.

- Made the final run from I-24/GA 299 to home nonstop (close to 4 hours).

- Final tallys for my weeklong Jersey trip are 2,969 miles, 6 new states, and 114 new counties. Countywise, I fully completed Delaware (easy) and New Jersey (not so easy), and have finally penetrated the New England region (only 1 county though).

Back to the Roadtrip Report Archive
Back to Magnolia Meanderings

(C) 2007, Adam Froehlig