This report is from Day 1 and the first half of Day 2 of my transfer from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Norfolk, VA, on December 1, 2001.

Roadtrip Report #1 (MS-VA)

Found Internet access at a public library, so making a quick post here while things are still fresh in my mind.

As many of you know, the Navy is transferring me from Keesler AFB (at Biloxi, MS) to Norfolk, VA. Departed the Gulf Coast yesterday afternoon, and am taking my time heading up, in order to grab as much as I can in MS/AL (since this is the last time I'll be here for the foreseeable future).

Day 1:

General route (for those who follow these things): US 49/US 98/I-59/US 49/downtown Jackson area/I-20/Meridian area/I-20/59/AL 14/MS 69/US 82/US 45/Columbus AFB.

- Not much here. Was raining like the dickens on the way up to Jackson, so wasn't able to add any MS end pics. Picked up a couple things at MDOT HQ in Jackson before they closed (including a rough outline for Phase III of "The Stack", which is the eastern I-20/I-55/US 49 interchange complex).

- Thanks to work the past few years, I-20 is a fairly smooth ride now between Jackson and Meridian.

- MS 19 is now 4-laned east to MS 496, and reconstruction out to Vimville is basically complete (going from a narrow 2-lane with 10' lanes and no shoulders to a wider 2-lane with graded shoulders and left/right turn lanes at Vimville).

- Pavement rehabilitation still ongoing on I-20/59 between Meridian and the MS/AL state line. As part of this, many of the trees that were formerly in the median have been cut down...including one patch of trees east of Toomsuba where a trucker missed a curve a couple years ago, slammed into the trees, and was killed.

- Verified the signage upgrade on I-20/59 in Sumter County, AL. Exit 23 includes a CR 20 shield on the BGS. Also, the reassurance shields were replaced...are oversized...and show I-59 on the left now (used to be I-20 on the left). The shields also have the state name (took a couple pics for Alex).

Day 2 (thus far)

Route so far: Columbus AFB/MS 373/US 45/US 82/MS 50/AL 96/County roads/AL 18/US 43/AL 102/AL 124/US 78/Jasper area/AL 69/AL 91/I-65/AL 160/US 231/AL 132/US 278/AL 77/Gadsden area/I-59/AL 68/US 411

- Picked up many AL ends along the way.

- Tornado damage very noticeable in 3 locations: AL 96 just east of Kennedy...AL 18 on the west side of Fayette...and AL 132 in Altoona.  These 3 towns were hit during a killer tornado outbreak last Saturday.  The tornado in Kennedy killed 2 people...a mother and daughter. A convenience store clerk I spoke with in Fayette said she saw the tornado skipping along the west side of town that day (the convenience store is in the middle of town, at the US 43/AL 18/AL 171 junction).

- Not suprising, but interesting to see the large amount of westbound traffic on MS 50/AL 96 heading towards Columbus in the early morning.

- AL 96 is 4-lane undivided from west of Millport to AL 17.

- AL 18 is 4-lane undivided from AL 107 to an intersection on the west side of Fayette.

- US 43/AL 171 is 2 blocks east of its former alignment in Fayette.  The former alignment is now a city street....still 4-lanes, and with many of the old-style single-mount overhead stoplights still up and operational.

- US 43/AL 171 is 4-lane undivided from the US 43/AL 18/AL 171 junction north to AL 102.

- AL 13/AL 102 intersection is a 4-way stop.

- AL 102 still ends at AL 124 in sign of any extension or construction to US 78/Corr X.

- Verified that US 78/Corr. X is now open from the interchange east of Carbon Hill to the split near Jasper. This section is 6 lanes...the lane drops are at the interchanges on either side. The Carbon Hill interchange will have a single exit westbound which becomes a C/D road with the ramp to EB ALT US 78 and loop to WB 78. Also, located and photographed three sets of ALT US 78 shields.

- Appears that the next section to open will complete a bypass of Jasper for US 78, between AL 269 and "Industrial Pkwy". Snuck back on EB here (through the barricade), and saw new signs (since my last run) saying the temporary end of US 78 is at the Industrial Pkwy interchange. Industrial Pkwy is being built as a 5-lane undivided between Corr. X and existing US 78, just east of the AL 69 intersection. Also, Corr. X will be 4 lanes between US 78 west of Jasper and AL 269, and 6 lanes east of AL 269. It is not immediately apparent whether the 6 lane section will continue all the way to I-65, or if it will break again beforehand.

- AL 91 is a narrow, twisty, pothole-ridden road.

- AL 79/AL 160 intersection has stop-control on AL 160.....nasty place to try and cross AL 79.

- US 231 is nominally 2-lane between Columbia and Oneonta, but picks up a 2nd EB lane well before Oneonta (for an uphill climb).

- US 231 has a 1-block jog on AL 75 in Oneonta.

- US 278/AL 77 intersection is signalized. The US 431/AL 77 intersection is not (stop control on AL 77), but ALDOT is in the process of installing a stoplight here.

- BUSINESS US 411 is cosigned with AL 25 through Centre. US 411 takes the bypass around.

That's it for now...

Back to the Roadtrip Report Archive
Back to Magnolia Meanderings

(C) 2007, Adam Froehlig