This trip was made during a port visit to Mayport, FL on March 16, 2004.
Yesterday (3/16) was Day 2 of our port visit, and this one found my co-worker
and I making an attempt to "hit the beach". Mother Nature, on the other
hand, had other ideas...
- Left out of base here, but instead of taking FL 10/Atlantic Blvd towards Jacksonville, we headed east towards Neptune Beach. To answer a question of SPUI's from last year, yes the FL A1A/10 duplex is signed on the reassurance shields. There is no END FL 10 sign at the intersection where A1A turns south, though.
- Kept south on FL A1A, which for the most part through Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach is your "typical" crowded 4-lane divided arterial through heavily tourist-oriented commercialization (try saying that fast 5 times).
- A1A dips inland just before the trumpet interchange at FL 202, with CR 203 taking a more "beach route". FL A1A finally sees a decrease in business driveways at this point, and the speed increases to 45 MPH. At CR 210, FL A1A drops down to 2 lanes, but is on a 4-lane ROW down to CR 203.
- Just south of CR 203, FL A1A narrows down to a 45 MPH tree lined roadway with some fairly expensive real estate on each side. This lasts until one hits the north end of Guana River State Park (a few miles down), where state park land occupies both sides of the road. Through the park, there are occasional parking areas, with pedestrian crossings and stairs to access the beach. We stopped at one public access to get out and check out the beach.
- After slowing down for Vilano Beach, FL A1A makes a right turn and crosses the "Frances and Mary Osina Bridge" across the Intracoastal Waterway and into St. Augustine. FL A1A duplexes with BUS US 1 in St. Augustine, passing by some of the old sites, before making a left turn to cross the "Bridge of Lions" and towards the oceanfront.
- Once crossing the "Bridge of Lions", FL A1A opens up to a 5-lane undivided until south of FL 312. Through here, we found what is pretty typical of FL A1A along the beach: a mix of parkland, beachfront houses, and tourist-oriented commercial businesses. This sums up virtually all of FL A1A down to Melbourne (as far south as we got today).
- After passing through Daytona Beach, at Halifax Estates, FL A1A turns inland, as there is no outlet following the beach towards the Ponce de Leon Inlet, where the Halifax River empties into the Atlantic. We headed in a bit, and followed US 1 south from here.
- Rather than take US 1 all the way into Mims, we took a side road through the Canaveral National Seashore, and towards Cape Canaveral. This side road has a drawbridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, with what looks to be an old gate for the space station just south of the drawbridge. A sign warned that no bicycles were allowed during rush hours (roughly 2 hours each in the morning and evening).
- At former FL 402, we found out the hard way that the public has to go into Titusville in order to continue south. The public is not allowed through the Kennedy Space Center, and contrary to both DeLorme and my American Map atlas, there is no road along the beach (at least not open to the public). So we wound up heading west along old FL 402 into Titusville.
- Rather than take US 1 south, we continued west along FL 406 over to I-95. Noticed that I-95 is only 4 lanes in this area, but has a 70 MPH speed limit (thank you Florida!). Traffic was heavy, but light enough to where we made good time going down to FL 528 (a cloverleaf with C/D roads along I-95), and we took FL 528 east.
- FL 528 is a freeway all the way into Cape Canaveral, also picking up FL A1A at the US 1 interchange. There were also exit numbers between I-95 and the Banana River. Lots of advance guide signage for the Port Canaveral exits...and interestingly the signage for the "A" cruise terminals and North Cargo Piers had a blue background vice the normal green. The interchange at FL 401 North (also for the north piers) is a trumpet, while the last interchange along the freeway (for the south piers) is a standard diamond. FL A1A continues as a 45 MPH arterial.
- Related to an earlier thread, Patrick AFB covers both sides of FL A1A.
- At Indialantic, we'd seen enough rain (it had been more or less raining since just south of St. Augustine) to where we bailed on the beach and headed inland. Our target route: US 192.
- US 192 is a 4-lane divided across the Melbourne Causeway, but only has 1 through lane each direction at the intersection with US 1. The right lane becomes right turn only, and has the largest "Right Lane MUST Turn Right" sign I've ever seen...looked to be 48"x48"...
- West of US 1, US 192 is heavily urban all the way out to I-95. West of I-95, US 192 rapidly becomes a rural 2-lane road, but construction is underway to expand US 192 to a 4-lane divided west of I-95. The overall project runs from I-95 to about halfway between Deer Park (FL 419) and Holopaw (US 441 South), and is in various stages of construction, with the easternmost 8-or-so miles the farthest along (roadbed grading underway), and only clearing underway west of Deer Park.
- US 192, and later US 441, stays a 55 MPH 2-lane highway until on the outskirts of St. Cloud, where it widens to 6 lanes (dropping to 4 just east of the FL Turnpike overpass). US 192 pretty much stays multilane and urban or semi-urban from this point on.
- US 192 goes back to 6 lanes west of the FL Turnpike, and stays that way through Kissimmee. From the west edge of Kissimmee to just east of FL 535, the road drops to 4 lanes, but a widening project is underway to fill in this gap in the 6-lane through a very heavily commercialized area (this being the edge of the Orlando area and all).
- Once at FL 535, I noticed two interesting peculiarities from here almost all the way out to US 17. First, all the lightposts, signalposts, and even some BGS signposts, were painted purple. Second, there were these "Marker" numbers at semi-regular intervals, with "Marker 1" near US 17, and increasing heading east. Noticed some business advertisements using these marker numbers to guide customers.
- US 192 drops briefly to 4 lanes (2 each way) through the I-4 interchange, but picks up to 5 lanes westbound approaching the Disney World interchange. A lot of Disney-tourist commercialization along US 192 west of the interchange, for a good 4-5 miles, before the commercialization drops off.
- US 192 ends at a trumpet interchange at US 27 (SB-EB being the loop). We headed south on US 27 here, noticing A LOT of devlopment along the route enroute to I-4.
- A lot of construction at the I-4/US 27 interchange (where we took I-4 East). Couldn't tell for sure what was going on, but looked like some sort of I-4 widening project, as the construction zone continued along I-4 all the way to the US 192 interchange.
- A lot of rapid-fire major interchanges along I-4, with "Celebration", FL 417, US 192, Osceola Pkwy, and FL 536/Epcot all in a row. I-4 picks up its 3rd through lane each way from US 192.
- Other I-4 Orlando notes: near FL 417, one of the power line poles is shaped like Mickey Mouse ears. The BGS at FL 435 (Exit 75AB) has VMS lines embedded in the BGS (nothing showing when we went through). North of the FL Turnpike, there's an overpass with "ORLANDO" embedded in the bridge fencing (looked tacky according to my co-worker). At Exit 83B (US 17/92/FL 50), the exit BGS is at the gore.
- Some useful VMS along I-4 through Orlando. We were travelling through at the tail end of rush hour, and the VMS were pinpointing the congestion spots, alternating messages between the location of the congestion, and the distance ahead (of the particular VMS) and the estimated delay. They were fairly close to what we actually saw. Would like to see this sort of system elsewhere.
- 3rd lane drops at Exit 98, Lake Mary/Heathrow. Widening project underway from there north to north of the St. Johns River. We exited at Exit 114 (FL 472, IIRC), and took that west to US 17/92. Contrary to my DeLorme, FL 472 has been extended east of I-4. West of I-4, it's a 60 MPH expressway, but drops to 45 MPH just before the trumpet at US 17/92.
- Took US 17/92 north through Deland, stopping there for dinner, then continued along US 17 north. Was dark by this time too. After dropping to 2 lanes near De Leon Springs, US 17 alternates between 60 MPH zones in the rural area, and slower speed zones going through the towns. Just south of FL 100, US 17 widens back to 4 lanes, and stayed that way through the rest of my trip along it.
- We bailed from US 17 at Green Cove Springs, and took FL 16 east across "Shands Bridge" across the St. Johns River. The FL 13/16 junction is a "3-way at-grade directional", with 2 lane connectors. Between FL 16 from the west and FL 13 from the north is the favored movement. Continued along FL 13/16, then turned left onto FL 16. At this point, I realized where I wanted to be, and we backtracked along CR 16A up to CR 210, then took CR 210 over to I-95. The last 3 miles or so before I-95 had been recently widened to 4 lanes.
- North along I-95, and through the construction zone at I-95/I-295/Future FL 9A. Too dark to see much, but it looked like a massive tangle of under-construction ramps and flyovers. Exited at US 1 to double-back to FL 9A. Girders are inplace on the FL 9A bridge over US 1. The US 1/FL 9A interchange will be a folded-diamond.
- North on FL 9A at this point...and found something odd. About halfway between US 1 and FL 202, the FL 9A roadway distinctly looks like it becomes a ramp to another roadway. I clearly saw ghost-grades for what looked like it would've been an extension of the north-south part of FL 9A. Anyone know what this would've been, or if it's still on the books?
- FL 9A/FL 202 is a diamond interchange favoring FL 202, with traffic signals on FL 9A. What's the timeline for upgrading this interchange?
- Took FL 202 east, then north on Hodges Rd and eventually wound our way back to base.
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