This report is from my first trip from Virginia Beach, VA to Syracuse, NY, on November 26, 2003.
Glad to be back on solid ground, finally.....judging from the number of
deployment days I've had this past year, I've been told I won't be going
anywhere anytime soon...:o)
Anyway, Wednesday evening, just a few hours after returning to Norfolk from sea, I was on my way north to Liverpool, NY. Decided about halfway up that it was late enough (didn't get out of Virginia Beach until 3pm) to where I'd just skip New Jersey and head straight north. Will swing through Jersey to get my mail on Sunday. Overall route was US 13/US 113/DE 1/US 13/I-495/I-95/I-476/I-81.
- At both tollbooths to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, there were noticeable lines. All 4 tollbooths in each direction were open, but it still took a couple minutes to clear heading northbound. Traffic was noticeably thick, but the only slowdown on CBBT was on the northbound approach to the Thimble Shoals Channel tunnel.
- VDOT has posted a couple extra distance signs along US 13 on the Eastern Shore...in a smaller-scale FHWA font. There is also a new signal in Accomack County, at SR 702 just south of Arcadia High School, between Temperanceville and Oak Hall. This makes 22 traffic signals now along the Virginia Eastern Shore part of US 13.
- Opted for US 113 vice US 13 between Pocomoke City and Dover. Fewer traffic signals and less traffic along US 113, but I did not see any noticeable time savings over US 13.
- Ongoing construction to complete the 4-laning of US 113 between MD 90 and the MD/DE state line. Was dark by the time I got there, so I couldn't tell how far construction had progressed. For the MD types...is there any plan to 4-lane the gap between Snow Hill and Berlin?
- Construction at and in the vicinity of the mainline toll plaza on DE 1 near Dover. Due in part to the construction, at 6pm northbound traffic had only 3 toll booths open....one for EZPass-exclusive, one for HOV-2 traffic, and one for regular traffic. Result: it took me about 7 minutes to clear the toll plaza. The northern toll plaza was fairly free-flowing...no major problems there.
- The new section of DE 1 between Smyrna and Odessa is nice...much improved over the old US 13 route. As reported elsewhere, there are no interchanges along this portion.
- From Wilmington north, traffic was thick, but manageable.
- On I-95 north between I-495 and the Blue Route, saw warning signs that were called "Weaving Area" signs. Have not seen these before....the warning sign itself had two arrows...left-to-right and bottom-to-up, that were "duplexed" across part of the sign in a bottom-left-to-top-right fashion. Dunno how else to describe the sign.
- Lots of curves on the I-476 "Blue Route". Question for the Philly-types: why was it not built as 6-lanes the entire stretch?
- Traffic on the Northeastern Extension was thick, then seemingly vanished north of the Lehigh Valley exit. Remained as such to the end. Stayed on the Extension around Scranton, and as a result "clinched" I-476 in one sitting.
- Traffic on I-81 north of Scranton was noticeably thick, even at 10pm. A good chunk of it was truck traffic.
- BGS on northbound I-81 at NY 17 have a spare space for an I-86 shield, and even have a blank white shield in place.
- Relatively uneventful for the remaining trip. Some interesting interchanges in Syracuse, but it was well dark (11:30pm), and so I did not get the full experience of them (namely the I-81/I-690 junction).
Total travel time was just over 8 1/2 hours. Not bad since I was previously estimating 9-10 hours.
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