This report is from a Burnsville, MN to Roselle Park, NJ trip in late December, 2001.

Belated MN-NJ Roadtrip Report (long)

Continuing my holiday travels, this time from my parents' place in Burnsville, MN to a friend's in Roselle Park, NJ:

Day 1 (Friday), Burnsville to Auburn, IN:

- General route taken: Dakota CSAH 42/US 52/MN 139/IA 139/IA 9/US 52/IA 62/IA 64/US 61/I-80/I-180/IL 71/I-39/I-80/I-65/US 30/US 35/IN 14/IN 114/IN 105/IN 205/I-69.

- Not exactly a "direct route"...side trips involved in order to collect some counties I didn't have, as well as get some MN end pics for myself, and some IA end pics for Jeff Morrison/Jason Hancock. End pics for Jeff/Jason include both ends of IA 139, IA 325, IA 24/150 (both end at the same intersection), IA 51, IA 13, IA 128, IA 136, and both ends of IA 386 and IA 62.

- Some have noted that the US 52 freeway through Rochester, MN ends at a folded-diamond interchange at I-90, and have called for a full cloverleaf at I-90. While I agree with this sentiment, there are what appears to be new houses behind the trees that would potentially be in the way, in the SW quadrant of the interchange.

- IA 9 must turn to "stay on itself" at the IA 9/IA 139 junction (a T-intersection). IA 139 ties directly into IA 9 to the east.

- Lots of concrete on Iowa's primary routes...much more so than other states...

- Anyone know if ND signs US 52 as E/W or N/S? Iowa, as I was reminded, signs US 52 as north-south, like Minnesota does.

- Truck lane on SB US 52 heading up the hill away from Decorah. IA 9/US 52 intersection is a 4-way stop.

- US 52 between Decorah and Dubuque goes through lots of small towns, with lots of lower speed limits, and one must turn six times to stay on US 52 (in Calmar, Ossian, Postville, Luxemburg, and at both US 18 intersections).

- Except through Postville, US 18/52 is a nice wide 2-lane highway that is fairly straight, with good sight distances, and wide (albeit gravel) shoulders.

- Good views of the Mississippi River on US 52 in/near Guttenberg.  There's a scenic overlook south of town that gives an EXCELLENT view of the Mississippi River valley to the north.

- US 52 between Luxemburg and Dubuque is rather twisty, with many hills, and generally a 50 MPH speed limit.

- US 52 through north Dubuque goes from (heading south) 2 lane highway to 4-lane arterial to 2-lane street to a pair of one-way, 2-lane streets.

- Took a side trip on US 61/151 to see the freeway section and the Mississippi River bridge.

- Why does US 52/61/151 have that pair of stoplights near downtown Dubuque? Doesn't seem like it'd take much to upgrade to a freeway there.

- A fair number of truck climbing lanes on US 52 between Dubuque and Bellevue.

- Saw a lot of old sections of the former 2-lane alignment of US 61 between Maquoketa and De Witt. Would make a good Lost Highway feature. Didn't take many pictures because it was getting dark by the time I got to Maquoketa.

- Flyovers at I-80/74 on the Illinois side would be nice SOONER rather than later.

- Noticeably heavy traffic on WB I-80 all through Illinois...moreso than on EB I-80.

- Took a side trip to collect Putnam County, IL, as well as to see I-180...could not immediately see any significance of I-180 (traffic was very light along it, but there WERE a few cars), but it looks like part of it could make a useful connector to Peoria (along/parallel to IL 29).

- Wondering when IDiOT will get around to reconstructing I-80 through Joliet. Besides being just 2 through lanes each direction, the lower speed limit (in between a pair of 65 MPH zones) was troublesome to many drivers (including myself).

- WAY TOO MANY stoplights along US 30 in Indiana....hasn't InDOT ever heard of Access Management?

- Had to wait for a train on US 35/IN 8 in Knox.

- Traffic is no longer able to cross US 31 on IN 14 near Rochester (it was dark, but looked like a pair of "right-in/right-outs", with left turns from US 31 allowed). Instead, traffic is detoured via US 31/IN 25.

- Very interesting 5-lens doghouse on NB IN 9/IN 205 in Columbia City.  The green/yellow lights were for a right-turn arrow, and a diagonal arrow to the left.

- Contrary to what some maps say, IN 205 ends at IN 327, a couple miles short of I-69.

Day 2 (Saturday), Auburn, IN to Roselle Park, NJ:

- General route taken: IN 8/OH 18/US 24/US 20/I-80/OH 53/OH 19/Sandusky CR's/US 20/OH 113/US 250/I-80/US 42/OH 82/I-71/I-480/US 422/OH 82/OH 11/I-80/I-287/NJ 24/Union County roads.

- A couple early side trips to collect more counties, and a sidetrip through Strongsville to go by where I used to live as a 1st grader many years ago.

- Along the railroad between Hicksville, OH (heck of a town name) and Defiance, many at-grade RR crossings have been closed, and all of the remaining crossings have been upgraded with new surface, flashing lights, and gates.

- Stop control on OH 18 at the junction with US 127 in Sherwood.

- US 24 between Defiance and Napoleon is a 2-lane highway on a 4-lane ROW. Also, there are no stoplights along US 24 from the east end of Defiance all the way to Waterville.

- Contrary to many maps, parts of the Napoleon bypass on US 6/24 could be considered freeway.

- From US 6 east to Maumee, US 24 closely hugs the Maumee River, and would be difficult to 4-lane along the existing alignment on much of the route. This section also goes through TEXAS, OH (just for Jeremy).

- US 24 goes back to 4-lanes just north of Waterville. About a mile north of this point, there is a wide section in the median, and a couple of mainline ghost stubs on the east end of the wide median section...presumably for an eventual westward expansion of US 24 to 4-lanes on new alignment. From this point east to I-475 (a couple miles), US 24 is freeway-grade.

- Some interesting overhead BGS along US 24 and US 20 in the Toledo area.

- Construction underway on some bridge widenings on OH TPK/I-80/I-90 in the Toledo area. The western end of the completed 6-lane widening is now just east of I-75.

- OH 53, between I-80/90 and US 20/OH 19 is 2-lanes on 4-lane ROW.

- OH 4/OH 113 is signalized. Just north of here, OH 4 has a 4-lane bridge over a massive railroad area. East of here, OH 113/OH 99 is a 4-way stop.

- US 250 is 4-lanes (combo of divided/undivided) from Milan up to I-80/90.

- OH TPK/I-80 goes back to 4-lanes just east of either I-90 or I-480 (forget which). The 6-lane section starts back up about a mile west of Exit 161 (I-71/US 42).

- Ghost ramps at both I-80/Exit 161 and at the TPK connector/US 42 were visible.

- My old apartment building still exists on US 42 in Strongsville. My old school (where I went for 1st grade) is no longer at US 42/OH 82, though. South of OH 82, near I-71, a MASSIVE shopping mall (forget the name offhand) exists where there was almost nothing 20 years ago.

- I-480, which was still under construction when I lived in Strongsville, is a nice 8-lane freeway from I-71 to I-77, and 6-8 lanes from there east to I-271.

- US 422 drops to 2 lanes just after crossing La Due Reservoir. Looks like this is a problem stretch, and there's a stoplight at OH 700 which is in the middle of an incline that looks like it's a SERIOUS problem. Does ODOT have any plans to 4-lane this stretch.

- Substandard 4-lane on US 422 both through Parkman, and from Parkman east to OH 534.

- Only one stoplight on OH 82 (east of OH 46), that is keeping it from being a freeway all the way to OH 11. Didn't look like it'd be too much to add an overpass or underpass in there, although closing access to OH 82 would further complicate the serious traffic problems at the OH 82/OH 46 interchange (which looks like it should be rebuilt into a SPUI, or at least have a NB 46 to WB 82 loop).

- Heard on the radio about some lake-effect snow along the Lake Erie waterfront, including in downtown Cleveland. Fortunatley, all I saw along my route was flurries.

- OH 82 and OH 11 are co-signed as "ALT I-80".

- Noticing the stubs and ghost ramps at the I-80/OH 11 interchange, where would the OH 11 freeway have gone, south of I-80?

- Early in the day, I had heard of the massive crash and closure of I-80 near Loganton, PA. When I stopped at the PA Welcome Center (at about 2:30pm Eastern), the lady said that it had not been reopened yet, and that traffic was being detoured via US 220 and I-180 through Williamsport.

- Overall, I-80's pavement was in fairly good condition, although there are still some problem areas, particularly some of the high-bridges. Weatherwise, things were a little windy, but the pavement was fairly dry and flurries were the only precip.

- Eastbound traffic was open by the time I got to US 220. At the eastern US 220 interchange (Old Exit 26/New Exit 178), there was a noticeable backup on SB US 220 approaching I-80 (this 3-mile section of US 220 is only 2 lanes). Westbound I-80 had just been reopened as I traveled through Loganton...things went from no westbound traffic to regular westbound traffic rather quickly.

- Did not see the actual crash site due to it being after sunset, and a large disparity between the EB and WB lanes.

- I-80 through Stroudsburg and approaching the DE Water Gap is a "rather tight fit"....lots of turns, narrow shoulders, a 50 MPH speed limit, and a lot of traffic. I can see now where some on this newsgroup have called for a new river crossing, and widening to 6 lanes.

- Once you get past the DE Water Gap, I-80 opens up to 6 lanes, and NJDOT is rather generous with providing a 4th "truck climbing lane" on the EB side.

- Still some old HOV lane markings visible along I-80 near I-287 (even in the dark).

- Glad to see NJ 24 at 65 MPH (except at I-78)...was disappointed to see I-287 as still 55 MPH between I-80 and NJ 24.

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