This report is from Day 1 of a 2-day trip to the 2004 "Raleigh Roadgeek Meet" at the end of May, 2004.

VA-NC-VA 2-day roadtrip (Day 1, long)

Hi all. Concluded a Friday-Saturday 2-day roadtrip through southern Virginia and northern North Carolina. The primary goal of the trip was to go to the Durham Hamfest (as in ham radio) and try and get my amateur radio license (missed the test by 3 points...will be trying again next week in Rocky Mount, NC). Did a lot of driving around and photo-taking in the process.

Day 1 (Friday): Virginia Beach to Raleigh, via Greenville and elsewhere:

- With it being the Friday afternoon before Memorial Day, traffic in Hampton Roads was already a mess. A few accidents here and there only made things much worse. Ultimately took me an hour-and-a-half to clear Suffolk...a trip that can take as little as 45 minutes (but usually an hour or so). As a result, my route was rather convoluted, involving going through downtown Norfolk, taking I-464, and going through downtown Suffolk.

- On US 13/58/460, just east of the Suffolk Bypass, construction for an access improvement to the regional landfill (accessed via an at-grade intersection) has been completed (I'd noticed this a couple months ago, but didn't post at the time). The improvement was done to reduce the accident rate at the intersection, reduce the amount of left-turning traffic (now only consisting of left-turns from EB 13/58/460 onto the landfill access road), and reduce the *VERY* lengthy delays that traffic from the landfill endured in trying to get onto EB 13/58/460. What the project involved was making the movement for traffic coming out of the landfill a right-out-only onto WB 13/58/460, adding an auxiliary lane from that right-out movement to the ramp to BUSINESS 13/58/460, and the building a loop ramp from BUS 13/58/460 to EB 13/58/460 utilizing part of the ROW at the mainline/Business interchange:

You can see the interchange best at this level. You can scroll to the east to see the intersection in question (it's the first one to the east). The ghost grades were going to be connections to the never-built and recently-permanently-cancelled Southeastern Suffolk Bypass. The ramp that was recently added for the landfill traffic begins at about the point where NB traffic from the SE Bypass would have crossed over, makes a sweeping 30 MPH curve to the right, and enters the EB mainline about at the point closest to the ghost/cancelled NB-WB loop.

- Later on, while travelling through downtown Suffolk, I noticed that the former VA 337 East cut-out no longer exists and has been replaced by a pair of standard shields.

- Dropped down BUS US 13 from downtown Suffolk, not realizing that the 55 MPH zone starts so far north (just north of SR 711, previously known as TRUCK US 13). From here, I edged onto the SW Suffolk Bypass and back to US 58.

- Traffic on US 58 through western Suffolk was a mess, requiring several light cycles to get through the area. Not sure if this was holiday-traffic related or residual effects from a mid-day high-speed-chase/accident that at one point closed part of the US 58 Suffolk Bypass.

- Saw gas for $1.889 in Suffolk, and wish I'd usual station, at US 58/SR 616 (just east of VA 272) was at $1.959...though they had mid-grade for only 4 cents more, so I wound up getting that.

- Rather than get back onto US 58, I took SR 616 south and a myriad of other secondary routes, getting to US 13 near Reynoldson, NC. Took US 13 south, with the goal of clinching as much of US 13 as time allowed (I'd previously only been on one short section south of Winton).

- On the north end of Ahoskie, traffic definately favors "TO NC 11" over continuing on US 13 into Ahoskie.

- American/NG-style atlases get BYPASS US 13 around Windsor wrong. It is not fully 4-lanes...there's roughly 2.5 miles or so on the southwest side that is still 2 lanes. The 2004 NC map gets it right, though.

- Further south, in Williamston, pavement has been completely removed from a segment of US 13/17 that was bypassed/realigned as part of the recent US 64 bypass project. Along those lines, the NC map is wrong here...there is only a partial interchange at US 64 East (effectively consisting of ramps for the US 64 "through movements" at-grade signalized intersection handles all other movements), US 13/17 is not limited access north of there, and there is no interchange on the north end, either.

- That wasn't the only 2004 NC map error I discovered yesterday, either. I followed US 64A west out of Williamston, but hopped back onto US 64 (and US 13) for about 10 miles before exiting onto US 13/NC 11 South, where I got to experience the recently built Bethel bypass. The bypass, while limited-access, is definately *NOT* a freeway. There is only one "interchange", if you want to call a pair of right-in/right-out accesses on each side of the highway an interchange. The limited-access segment runs south to NC 30, which contrary to the NC map is an at-grade intersection.

- It's roughly 12 miles along US 13 from US 64 to US 264, but I passed *FIVE* distance signs showing mileage to Greenville.

- Took US 264 west to US 64 at this point. On the west end of the Greenville bypass, US 264 exits itself at a cloverleaf interchange that has ramps and loops graded (but not paved) for an eventual extension to the south. My understanding is that this extension is proposed and would become part of a Greenville bypass for US 13.

- South of Wilson, construction is underway on the ramps for the future US 117 freeway to the south. Access will be provided to/from the west along US 264...movements to/from the east, I presume, will be handed by the existing 264/301/117 interchange.

- Was approaching 5pm as I got to Zebulon. Given the evening-rush-hour tendencies of Raleigh traffic, not to mention it being Friday evening on a holiday weekend, I opted to exit 64/264 at "Lizard Lick", where I proceeded to take backroads to north Raleigh.

- Spent the evening with Adam Prince, scouting out tour stops and routes for next week's Raleigh regional meet.

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