This report is from a daytrip up to Washington, D.C. on November 10, 2002.
Spent the day yesterday driving up to D.C. to see some fall colors, plus do
some sightseeing and biking around. Lots of good biking trails up there,
including the 45-mile Washington-and-Old-Dominion Trial (runs from Purcelville
to Arlington), the 18-mine Mt. Vernon Trail (from Mt. Vernon to Rosslyn, in
front of Theodore Roosevelt Island), and the 4-mile Custis Trail which connects
the two. Each of the central D.C. Potomac River crossings (Key, Theodore
Roosevelt, Arlington, and 14th St) have bike/ped paths to connect from the Mt.
Vernon to the trails and pathways that wind around the monuments and the Capitol
Mall on the D.C. side.
And of course, some highway notes:
- Left Hampton Roads on I-64. Going through the "Coliseum project", construction of the median barrier and the inside lanes is well underway between I-664 and Hampton Roads Center Parkway. As part of the construction, I-64 is narrowed to 2 lanes each way from roughly I-664 to near Magruder Blvd...naturally, rush hour is a mess.
- The Magruder Blvd bridge over I-64 has had steel I-beams placed. However, all construction on the bridge is on hold, as there is a big snafu with the bridge that VDOT is now investigating. The Daily Press has an article at http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/dp-93377sy0nov09.story (may disappear next Thursday, though).
- Fall colors started in earnest just before Williamsburg, and lasted well past Richmond. If they weren't at peak, they were very close.
- Took I-64 to I-295 to I-95. Never noticed before, but the ramp from NB I-295 to NB I-95 has a 3-lane section, but only 2 lanes open (since I-95 north of the interchange is limited to 3 lanes each way).
- On I-95 just north of Exit 86/SR 656, construction is VERY noticeable on the new "Atlee/Elmont Interchange"
- The NB I-95 off ramp to VA 30 has 2 lanes, which feed into a 2-lane "free right" to EB VA 30, on approach to Paramount's King's Dominion.
- Took US 1 from VA 30 up to VA 207. For those who aren't in a hurry, and want to avoid heavy traffic, US 1 is an excellent alternative to I-95 outside of the urban areas.
- Took VA 207 up to Bowling Green. VDOT has posted milemarkers along the length of VA 207. Also, unlike many of the older 4-lane divided highway segments in Virginia, VA 207 has a rudimentary form of paved shoulder (ranging from 4' to 8', but still significant).
- Contrary to many maps, the "interchange" at US 301/VA 2/VA 207 near Bowling Green isn't really an interchange. Even with the recent 4-laning of the Bowling Green bypass, the junction simply became an improved "connector" road. VA 207 is bridged over US 301/VA 2, with the connector road in the northeast quadrant. One can even see the old grade from the old connector that existed prior to the widening. Also of interest was a MP 112 milepost (presumably for US 301's mileage) just northeast of the overpass, and on the overpass itself were a set of END VA 207/BEGIN US 301 shields, and vice versa in the other direction. Funny...I thought US 301 ended in Florida...
- VA 2 is a scenic drive between Bowling Green and the outskirts of Fredericksburg.
- For those who have wondered what the deal is with the blue line on the VDOT map along US 17 south of Fredericksburg, VDOT basically built the US 17 "bypass" as a 2-lane highway with partial access control (i.e. access at intersections only...no private driveways). The "bypass" has a smattering of intersections, and traffic signals at a few of them. The route shows up as a "2 lane freeway" on RMcN, but not on the NG-series maps.
- Back on I-95 from Fredericksburg noth to Dumfries...traffic was it's usual thick self.
- Detoured to US 1 to grab ends of VA 234, VA 123, VA 242, and VA 235. MANY sections of the original 4-lane undivided along US 1 here.
- Hopped across the Woodrow Wilson to see the opening gambits of the bridge replacement, then turned north on I-295.
- After crossing over the Anacostia River (enroute to I-395), noticed that a section of the Southeast Freeway (or whatever they call it) was recently rebuilt....the concrete looked very new.
- Crossed the 14th St bridge, then took the first ramp (Exit 10C) to head north on George Washington Parkway enroute to my destination: the parking lot at Theodore Roosevelt Island (access to the lot just past the on-ramp from WB I-66).
- Mostly did sightseeing while on bike, but did grab a couple bridge pictures, my own pic of Jeff Royston's "I-66 DC shield" (see aaroads.com for more), and a BGS on I-395. Also, relating to an earlier thread, there's an interesting sign at 14th and Madison showing US 1 and US 50 shields in "Interstate-style". The shields themselves were Interstate-shaped, but were white with black lettering/numbering, and where "Interstate" would be on a normal I-shield, these said "DC - US".
- After getting back to my car, headed out George Washington Parkway to I-495 (stopping at one of the scenic overlooks for some fall foliage pics), then across the American Legion Bridge, then back east along Clara Barton Pkwy.
- Heading east along Clara Barton, just east of the connector to/from the Beltway north (near Beltway/MD 190), the parkway narrows to 2 lanes, and is set up as inbound in the morning, outbound in the evening, and 2-lane, 2-way at all other times. There's a short, 3-lane, 2-way section (with the 2nd lane alternating) between Chain of Rocks Bridge and a connector road heading north.
- The parkway becomes Canal Rd NW at the MD/DC Line, then eventually ties into the D.C. street system at MacArthur Blvd, eventually becoming M Street. At 36th St NW, there is a turn to connect to the Whitehurst Freeway.
- From US 29/Whitehurst, picked up I-66, and then headed back west into Virginia. Took a brief sidetrip into Falls Church, where I found cutout shields where US 29 and VA 7 intersect. Upon entering Falls Church, there was a sign stating something about red-light cameras, but don't remember specifically what it said.
- Back out to WB I-66, which was stop-and-go between the Beltway and VA 123 due to an earlier accident. Exited onto US 50 West then took Fairfax Co. Pkwy north to VA 7.
- Was pleasantly surprised to see that, unlike Hampton Roads, many of Fairfax County's arterials (US 50, FCP, and VA 7) have at least some sort of access control.
- Headed out VA 7 to Leesburg. Construction just east of VA 28 has all traffic on the EB lanes for a stretch. Once in Leesburg, saw that VDOT has relatively-recently constructed a flyover (and a tall flyover at that) for WB VA 7 through traffic continuing to the bypass.
- The one stoplight on the US 15/VA 7 portion of the bypass is a pain with weekend traffic. I can only imagine the mess it causes during rush hour.
- Continued west on VA 7 to Berryville, with a sidetrip into Purcellville to photograph VA 287's southern end and pick up some dinner. From Berryville, headed south on US 340. By this time, it was getting dark, so photograph opportunities waned in favor of collecting a few counties.
- Took US 340 to Front Royal, then continued south from Front Royal on US 522, with a side trip to collect Fauquier County. US 522 from Front Royal to US 211 is fairly well-built, as Virginia 2-lane roads go. Curves much gentler than I'd have expected, given the topography. Continued south on US 211/US 522.
- From Sperryville, took a side trip "up the hill" to collect Page County. VDOT has very recently widened and repaved the eastern approach up the hill to Thornton Gap. This was an awesome section of road to drive, even at night. The widening added a 2nd westbound lane to serve as a climbing lane (no trucks allowed on this section of US 211...but a lot of recreational traffic). Two switchbacks heading up the hill, plus numerous other twists and curves before one finally catches the 4-lane divided section near Skyline Drive. The speed limit is nominally 55 MPH, but there were no "advisory speeds" higher than 30 MPH.
- Once back down the hill in Sperryville, continued south on US 522 to Culpeper. Very few passing opportunities along here, which made things frustrating when I got stuck behind a trio of cars that decided they wanted to go 40 MPH.
- From Culpeper, headed south on US 15 to past Zion Crossroads (picking up Fluvanna County) before heading back home on I-64. As with US 522, fewer passing opportunities than one would hope for, but fewer "slowpokes" along this stretch. The 4-lane section between Orange and Gordonsville helped too. US 15 takes a couple turns in Orange. Meanwhile, US 15, US 33, and VA 231 all junction in Gordonsville at a roundabout (US 15 appears to have priority through movement).
- Once back on I-64, basically headed straight home, so not much else there.
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