This report is from a trip back to Minnesota from Norfolk, VA in December, 2001.
A little late, yes, but some notes (especially since some of my pictures came
Day 0.5 (Tuesday)
Left Norfolk on Tuesday afternoon, stopping at a friend's house in Burlington, NC. Took I-64 to US 58, then down I-85 to Burlington. Although I-64 around is longer than I-264 through, the Downtown Tunnel/Berkley Bridge area on I-264 near downtown Norfolk is not very forgiving in the afternoon.
- Construction ongoing at the western end of the Suffolk Bypass on US 58. Still not sure where the new route will be built to, but suspecting US 13 south of downtown Suffolk.
- Pavement along WB US 58 is much nicer than I remembered it being 2 years ago.
- As usual, the cops were out in full force in Emporia (for those unfamiliar with it, the section of US 58 through Emporia is a recurring speed trap).
- West of I-95, it is easy to tell that the WB lanes are the old lanes. More hills, steeper hills, and narrower shoulders than the EB side. This lasted until near Edgerton.
- Contrary to the 2000-01 VDOT map, the southern bypass of the Spring Hill CBD is complete and open.
- Many NC state police (or whatever they're called) on I-85.
- I-85 has been recently resurfaced through Henderson. This section, plus the new concrete section from MP 191-199 and new asphalt from roughly MM 185-191, represent the smoothest portions of SB I-85 northeast of Durham County. The rest of the pavement through Granville/Vance/Warren Counties was pretty poor.
- Note to John Lansford (for appropriate forwarding within NCDOT): many of the BGSes on SB I-85 northeast of Durham are missing the exit number. Also, some of the signs are impossible to read at night (no reflectivity). Lane markings were also very poor on the sections that have not received new pavement.
- Saw the construction at the US 70 interchange in Durham. Was hoping to see the widening/reconstruction extend further west (at least to the 6-lane portion near the US 15/501 interchange).
- Curious as to what the ADT counts are like along the I-40/85 duplex.
Day 2 (Wednesday)
Went from Burlington, NC to Great Lakes, IL (yes, the Navy boot camp...cheap billeting for travelers that are active duty...much less expensive than a normal hotel room).
General route taken: NC 87/Reidsville city streets/NC 14/VA 87/US 220/US 58/US 11/ALT US 58/US 23/KY 114/US 460/Bert T. Combs Mtn Pkwy/I-64/IN 135/IN 337/IN 64/IN 66/US 150/IN 37/IN 39/IN 236/IN 75/I-74/US 41/IN 55/IN 114/I-65/I-90/US 41/US 14/I-94/IL 137
- Detoured through Reidsville to get a LAN cable from a friend.
- US 158 seems to be a "super-2 of sorts" around Reidsville.
- Nice to see NC 14 as a combo 4-lane divided/5-lane undivided from Reidsville to Eden. Two interesting interchanges along NC 14 in Eden.
- Noticed the odd END NC 14 shield just shy of the VA/NC border.
- VA 87 ends at an unsignalized T-intersection at US 220.
- Lots of commercialization on US 220 south of US 58...was glad to see the US 58/220 duplex as a freeway.
- Except for a short stretch between Spencer and the Henry/Patrick County line, US 58 is complete and open to 4-lanes from US 220 to just east of Stuart. That short stretch looked like it could be open in a couple months, weather permitting. A north bypass of Stuart is also under construction, but has a long ways to go.
- It'll be VERY interesting to see how (and if) VDOT manages to 4-lane US 58 between Stuart and Hillsville. Very steep in places, very hilly, very twisty, and almost zero passing opportunities along existing US 58.
- Took lots of scenery pictures from "Lover's Leap".
- Cutout shields spotted/photographed in Hillsville. More cutouts spotted later in Abingdon.
- Odd setup at the US 58/221/VA 89 intersection in Galax (a signalized T-intersection). US 58/221 is 4-lane undivided through here...approaching from the east, the left lane is left turn only.
- 4-laning along US 58/221 ends just east of Independence.
- Steepness/hills return to US 58 west of Independence. Enough to the point that signs require truckers to use VA 16/I-81, instead of US 58, between Mouth-of-Wilson and Abingdon.
- Took a brief jaunt on VA 93 down to the state line. The "Welcome to North Carolina" sign, shown as broken on a Gribblenation pic, is back up and installed properly.
- If you like twists and turns, and valley scenery, US 58 is a VERY FUN drive between VA 16 and VA 91 near Damascus.
- Took another brief jaunt down VA 91 to the VA/TN state line.
- Some construction on US 11 between I-81 and the central part of Abingdon. Looked like 5-laning. US 11 through central Abingdon itself is a 2-3 lane street.
- Traffic on US 23 north of Wise seemed unusually heavy, given the area it's in.
- Drove the relatively new section of US 23/119 through Letcher/Pike Counties. Generally a 4-lane undivided with a wide "center lane divider" (but not striped as a center left turn lane), and wide paved shoulders. Overall am very pleased to see a 4-lane US 23 corridor through eastern Kentucky and, contrary to what some have said, think this was a good use of federal transportation dollars.
- Utility work/traffic signal installation just west of Pikeville closed the right lane of NB US 23/460 (just north of where US 119 branches off), which in turn created a traffic jam that took 20 minutes to get through.
- Contrary to the Kentucky state highway map, there's a full interchange at US 23/460/KY 114. NB BGS and trailblazers mention KY 114 as a route to get to the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway.
- Except for a couple miles of 4-lane near US 23/460, KY 114 between Prestonburg and US 460 near Saylersville is a wide 2-lane highway with wide shoulders and gentle curves. US 460, in turn, between KY 114 and the Mountain Parkway, was a 3-lane highway (center left turn lane).
- Whomever built the Mountain Parkway was very generous with passing/truck lanes along the 2-lane portion.
- Noticed an at-grade intersection along the Mountain Parkway, a few miles west of the KY 30 interchange. Intersection had trailblazers for KY 134.
- Was glad that the rain held off until I got to the 4-lane portion of the Mountain Parkway.
- Construction ongoing to widen about 5 miles of I-64 to 6-lanes from the southern I-64/75 junction east. Why didn't this project extend to the KY 859 interchange (which seemed a more logical termini)?
- Heavy, but free-flowing, traffic along the I-64/75 duplex....enough traffic to where a 4th lane each direction may become necessary soon.
- I-64 east of downtown Louisville is generally 6-lanes between I-265 and I-264, and 4-lanes otherwise. Saw the tunnel along this portion of I-64.
- Traffic along SB I-65 near the I-64/65/71 interchange was at a standstill...enough to where it backed up the left lane on WB I-64 (which has the exit for WB 64 to I-65 traffic).
- Lots of steel-truss bridges over the Ohio in Louisville, including a railroad bridge east of I-65 that seemed to "dead-end" (was dark and raining, so couldn't tell for sure). I-64 crosses the Ohio on an interesting double-decker bridge (WB lanes on top).
- Whomever designed much of the secondary Indiana highway system was smoking some good stuff. WAY TOO MANY hills and tight curves along portions of IN 337, IN 66, and IN 39.
- Somewhat related to the I-69 thread, it looked to me like IN 37 would be relatively easy to upgrade to freeway between Bloomington and Martinsville. In fact, the only thing keeping the Bloomington bypass itself from being a freeway is two signalized at-grade intersections (one south of IN 45, the other between IN 48 and IN 46).
- Went through the infamous "I-65 traffic signal" at I-90/Indiana Toll Road.
- Hit the Chicago area just after midnight, so figured traffic would be light enough to have a nice drive along Lakeshore Dr. US 41 takes many turns between US 12/20 and the south end of Lakeshore Dr, but is well signed.
- The last time I was on Lakeshore Dr, US 41 went on either side of Soldier Field, unlike the current configuration/reconstruction where all traffic is on the west side of the stadium.
- At one of the side streets near Soldier Field (I want to say McFetridge Dr, but I don't remember for certain), SB US 41/Lakeshore Dr traffic has an underpass and on/off ramps, while NB traffic has a signalized intersection.
- NB lanes get VERY NARROW between Wacker Dr and Michigan Ave.
- Glad to see Deerfield Tollbooth construction completed on the Tri-State.
- 8 years ago, IL 137 between the Tri-State and Sheridan Rd was 4 lanes, and with ALMOST NO DEVELOPMENT outside of the Navy base and the VA. Today, much of the corridor is 6 lanes (although still a pesky 4 lanes at the US 41 intersection), and with LOTS of development.
- Nighted over on the NTC side of Great Lakes. Driving by the RTC side brought back some memories...
Day 3 (Thursday)
General route take: IL 137/IL 173/I-94/I-43/WI 100/WI 181/WI 167/US 41/WI 49/CTH AW/WI 73/CTH X/WI 44/CTH B/WI 22/WI 23/I-39/WI 21/CTH PP/I-90/US 61/MN 50/US 52/CSAH 42.
- Travelled and took some photos of both partial sections of the IL 137 freeway, including the ghost mainline and half-SPUI at the north end.
- Interesting to see how the 6-lanes on I-43 cuts short before WI 100, while on US 41/45, the 6-lane section extends all the way to their split.
- Interchanges at WI 100/WI 57 and WI 100/WI 181. Curiously, NEITHER of them has WI 100 as the "through route".
- Based on midday Thursday traffic, WI 167 could stand to see 4 lanes between WI 181 and WI 145.
- VERY NICE view of the marshes/wetlands in the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, as one hits the top of the bluff on the eastern side on WB WI 49.
- WI 22/WI 23 have a short duplex in Montello. The western intersection is signalized, and WI 23 takes a couple turns on city streets west of that intersection.
- WI 21/WI 80 intersection in Necedah is signalized.
- Even in the wintertime, driving US 61 along the Mississippi is a beautiful sight...
- Side note to Matt Salek: new traffic signal installed at US 14/61 and Vila St in Winona. Looked like another traffic signal was going up somewhere in Goodview (forget the side street).
- Noticeable difference in traffic along US 61 going from south of Winona to north of Winona.
- Just as I remembered it, MN 50 is very hilly between US 61 and US 52.
- Some residual work left to complete the Dakota CR 46 extension. The intersection at US 52 is open (platted for an eventual interchange).
That's about it. On Friday the 29th, I'll be driving from MN to Jersey...
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