This report has various notes from the first week of July, 2005.
Starting with my trip back to Virginia Beach from Mayport, FL on Friday the
- My previous time in the Jacksonville/Mayport area was March of '04. Since then, the bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway connecting Wonderwood Dr to McCormick Rd has been completed and opened. It's a nice 4-lane span, and offers another way to get to/from the Mayport Naval Station without having to use the often-congested Atlantic Blvd/FL 10 span.
- The McCormick Rd side, curiously, was signed as FL 116 between Girvin Rd and Monument Rd. It appeared that this is an isolated state route segment that doesn't connect to any others. This segment also appeared to be *VERY* recently opened to 4 lanes.
- While part of the airport access road to Jacksonville airport from I-95 is limited access, there's a signalized intersection just west of I-95 where Duval Rd splits off, which combined with the Airport Rd service roads made for a mess of an intersection. Here's a link to Google Satellite:
Fixing that would require taking out some commmercial establishments.
- Passed through 2 construction zones on I-95 in Georgia related to bridging the 6-lane gap. Out of about 29 miles of 4-lane I-95 remaining in Georgia, widening projects were underway on about 6 or 7 miles.
- Ran into a nasty 15 mile traffic jam just north of Savannah that I lost about an hour of time on. The drop from 3 northbound lanes to 2 lanes at the Savannah River combined with heavy Friday afternoon traffic and an accident near MP 11 in SC is what caused the jam.
- This being the Friday afternoon of the 4th of July weekend, it was a little surprising to see that traffic dropped off considerably north of the US 17 split-off towards Charleston. Did not run into any more traffic issues the rest of the way home.
- Pavement condition on I-95 northeast of Florence is still pretty bad.
- No noticeable construction relating to the US 74 project between Maxton and I-95. However, the eastbound US 74 bridge was removed, presumably for reconstruction, at the existing I-95/US 74 interchange. There was a long wait for traffic on the northbound off-ramp.
- Passed through the then-partially-opened I-95/US 13/Future I-295 interchange. While most of the guide signage along I-95 was still covered, enough was uncovered to notice that the new freeway route will be signed as FUTURE I-295, with the "INTERSTATE" missing from the I-295 shields. There was also END and BEGIN signage for both US 13 and Future I-295 at the I-95 interchange.
- Bailed from I-95 at NC 46, in order to take a NC 186/VA 186/SR 671 routing to cut the corner off and bypass Emporia.
- Last item of note: the speed limit on the Suffolk bypass has indeed been raised to 60 MPH. Given what traffic really goes at, though, 65 would have been more appropriate. Also, the speed limit along the Franklin bypass was still 55 MPH.
- Cheapest gas heading home was $2.039 at the I-95/US 258 interchange.
Now some notes from this past Wednesday (the 7th) on my trip up to Syracuse:
- Construction at both of the CBBT toll booths...an additional toll booth is being added on each side (northbound in VA Beach, southbound in Northampton County). Appears to be a standard toll booth like the others are...don't know yet if they will be adding SmartTag (VA's equivalent to EZPass) to the new booths or not.
- Some new/replacement route signage has gone up along the Eastern Shore. Amongst other entities, VA 181 is now partially signed from VA 178 in Belle Haven.
- Two of the last three concrete sections of US 13 on the Eastern Shore are getting asphalt overlays: northbound between Accomac and VA 176 and southbound between Nelsonia and VA 176.
- Gas prices on the Virginia Eastern Shore were generally $2.099...the cheapest I saw between Virginia Beach and Syracuse.
- After years of taking US 113/DE 1 north of Milford, it was weird seeing an "END US 113" shield at the end of the merge onto DE 1. As has been reported previously, all vestiges of US 113 have been removed north of Milford. Some brand new overhead guide signage southbound at the DE 1/US 113 split.
- In Dover, the "Last Exit Before Toll" on northbound DE 1 is signed as just DE 10.
- A 4 mile backup on I-95 through Chester, PA...nothing really new here, especially at 6pm on a weekday. Culprit was a couple of broken down vehicles in the right shoulder.
- What was very surprising, again given the time and day, was that the Blue Route (I-476) was almost empty. There were *NO* backups or even slowdowns along I-476...the only reason I can think of was that people in Philly were taking an extended 4th of July vacation.
- Was nice to see the speed limit at 65 MPH between Mid-County and Lansdale. Of course, that doesn't stop the average speed from still being near 75...
- A pair of ~6 mile long construction zones on I-476...one south of Allentown, the other north of I-80. Both were upgrading the center median barrier from a metal guardrail to a Jersey barrier.
- PennDOT has a 13 mile construction zone on I-81 between Exits 217 and 230 for an overlay project. When I drove through on Wednesday, the southern 4 miles were opened to 4 lanes, but there were still lane reductions on the rest of the project.
- No work yet on the upcoming bridge replacement on I-81 between Marathon, NY and Cortland, NY.
- Last year, NYSDOT had most of the Cortland County section of I-81 in a construction zone for pavement overlay and guardrail repairs. This year, the zone has moved to southern Onondaga County. Portable VMS were suggestion I-481 for through traffic, as the construction zone extends into southern Syracuse. Northbound was down to a single lane north of I-481 (up to near the downtown viaduct) Wednesday night for bridge joint repairs.
Lastly, Meaghan and I took a trip over to Albany yesterday to meet up with Adam Prince, Doug Kerr, and Chris Jordan. Main thing of note on this trip (besides me clinching NY 5S) was checking out the completed part of NY 840, between Clinton St and NY 5/8/12. Found out the hard way that the entire project wasn't finished yet. Still a lot of grading and other work to go on the north end at Halsey Rd. Although NY 840 is open southeast of Clinton St, not all lanes are open.
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