This report is from Day 14 of our 2005 Summer Vacation, on August 10, 2005.

Day 14 of the Froggie/Ladymegs 2005 Great Circle Tour (long)

The Froggie/LadyMegs 2005 Great Circle Tour, Day 14:  first leg out.

We spent four nights in the Twin Cities visiting family, and Meaghan even "gave me" one day for road research at the MnDOT Library and the History Center.  Morning of the 10th is when we started our trek back, as I needed to drop her off in Syracuse, NY then get down to Mississippi by the 15th.

- Heading north away from the metro on I-35W.  Just north of US 10, the only indication that the rightmost lane is exit only to Lake Dr is a white "Right Lane Must Exit" sign right before the exit.

- Saw for the first time the reconstructed interchange at I-35W and Anoka CSAH 52/95th Ave NE.  What used to be a standard diamond is now a partially-folded diamond, in that the northbound ramps are folded to the north.  This was done in order to provide a "free right" for traffic going to northbound CSAH 52 from the northbound off-ramp (the busy movements are between I-35W South and CSAH 52 North), and also to tie the interchange ramps into a single intersection with CSAH 52 and Naples St NE.

- The ramp junctions at the I-35/MN 97 interchange have two rarities for Minnesota:  wire-span traffic signals and a 5-lens doghouse signal.

- Reconstruction on US 8 through Chisago City, mainly adding turn lanes and a couple frontage roads.  More construction on US 8 between Lindstrom and Center City.

- I'm not certain where MN 95 goes from being signed north-south to east-west, but it's somewhere north of US 8.  The northern US 8/MN 95 junction is signed "NORTH MN 95".

- WisDOT has recently reconstructed the western US 8/WI 35 junction as a standard diamond interchange.  From what I recall, it used to be a trumpet interchange.

- WisDOT has also done some widening on WI 35 south of US 8.  There are 4 lanes for about a half-mile south of US 8, then a southbound passing lane extends further, to south of CTH (County Trunk Highway) S.

- There's a "TO MN 95" shield (proper Minnesota shield too) next to the WI 243 WEST trailblazer at the WI 35/WI 243 junction in Osceola.

- Construction continues on the Somerset bypass and 4-lane widening of WI 64.  From just east of CTH C (east edge of Somerset) to near where the New Richmond bypass will begin, WI 64 has been shifted onto the newly constructed and future westbound lanes, including a realignment across the Apple River.  The new lanes are in concrete, and it looks like there will be full paved shoulders in asphalt.

- South of WI 64, to the south edge of New Richmond, WisDOT has also reconstructed WI 65 into a 4-lane urban arterial, done in full concrete.

- At the western US 12/WI 65 junction near Roberts, where WI 65 South splits off of US 12, there is a trailblazer for an "ALTERNATE WEST I-94" to follow WI 65 South.

- The eastbound I-94 ramp intersection with WI 65 is an all-way stop, with the added feature of an overhead mast-arm-mounted stop sign on both sides of WI 65.

- Overhead banners above one of the intersections where WI 72 makes a 90-degree turn in Elmwood proclaimed "Celebrating 100 Years of Community".  It seems Elmwood was having their centennial.

- The US 10/WI 25 crossing of the Chippewa River at Durand is a long thrugh-truss bridge.

- The US 10/WI 93 junction in Eleva is another location where WisDOT uses overhead mast-arm-mounted stop signs.

- US 10 has been reconstructed in the vicinity of the I-94 interchange.  The road was reconstructed in concrete as a 4-lane urban arterial with traffic signals at the I-94 ramps.

- There's a BUSINESS US 10 in Neillsville.  Chris Bessert's website notes it as a locally-designated route.

- US 10 skirts the south edge of Marshfield, while WI 13 has been realigned around the southern part of the city with a BUSINESS WI 13 replacing its old routing.

- On CTH M approaching US 10 in Auburndale, the "JCT US 10" shield has "US" above the route number within the shield.

- US 10 follows a pair of one-way streets through the central part of Stevens Point.  This of course will change when the new US 10 bypass is built north of the city.

- A slew of banners on this one:  there were trailblazers for a DETOUR SOUTH BUSINESS US 51 in Stevens Point.

- East of Stevens Point, there's an interchange at CTH J.  The 4-lane ends just east of there but picks up again near the start of the Amherst bypass at Amherst Junction.  There was no indication of a widening project to bridge the gap between CTH J and Amherst.

- A separate sign assembly next to the guide signage for the CTH B interchange at Amherst is a trailblazer for "TO EAST WI 161".

- The Amherst bypass is effectively a freeway-segment.  Then about a mile southeast of the CTH A interchange are signs saying "Cross Traffic Next 9 Miles".

- The Waupaca bypass is also freeway-grade, from WI 49N/54W to CTH A.  At one point there is a 4-way multiplex along the bypass:  US 10/WI 22/WI 49/WI 54.

- The CTH A interchange on the east side of Waupaca appears to be new...much newer vintage that the rest of the Waupaca bypass.

- Just east of the Waupaca CTH A interchange is another cross-traffic sign:  "Cross Traffic Next 4 Miles".

- The Weyauwega bypass is another short freeway section.  WI 110 joins here for a 5-mile long triplex of US 10/WI 49/WI 110.  Also, the southern interchange is only a half-interchange to/from the south/east.  Just south of that half-interchange is a "Cross Traffic Next 3 Miles" sign, representing the last at-grade segment before Appleton.

- The WI 49 South interchange marks the start of a 20-some mile freeway segment of US 10 extending to US 41/WI 441.  This also marks where WI 110 departs to follow US 10's old routing between WI 49 and Fremont, while the next interchange down is WI 96's western terminus and where WI 96 picks up US 10's old routing.

- The western US 10/US 45 interchange is a trumpet with an EB 10 to NB 45 loop.  By comparison, the eastern 10/45 junction is a 3-way directional T-interchange.

- Given the lack of a ramp from eastbound 10 to northbound 41, traffic wishing to go north on US 41 is directed to exit US 10 at WI 76.

- Bridge repairs on the US 10/WI 441 bridge over Lake Butte des Mortes had traffic briefly down to a single lane.  The bridge itself is fairly narrow with minimal shoulders.

- The US 10/WI 441 freeway is mainly WI 441 freeway, as US 10 exits off at Oneida St.  There were no exit numbers along the route, but there were a few "next 3 exit" distance signs, as well as overhead guide signs at the exits that included WI 441 (and US 10 where applicable) pull-through signs.  The freeway is 4 lanes with occasional auxiliary lanes between interchanges, but not between every interchange.

- The northeastern US 41/WI 441 junction is a trumpet interchange, with a SB 41 to SB 441 loop.  The ramp from NB 441 to SB 41 is a tight 30 MPH ramp that starts as 2 lanes but narrows to 1 lane before the merge onto SB 41.

- Exit 139 along US 41, at WI 15/CTH OO, begins the 6-lane section along US 41 heading southbound.  The 6-lane section extends down to Exit 129, Breezewood Ln.

- Heavy construction at the US 151/Military Rd interchange in Fond Du Lac had the interchange closed.  Traffic was direction to the Hickory St interchange (next interchange south).  Then, further south, construction on the future US 151 bypass interchange had the WI 175 interchange permanently closed.

- US 41 picks up a 3rd lane where US 45 merges in near Germantown.  From here south, the freeway exit numbers use US 45's mileage.

- The Mequon Rd overpass over US 41/45 (just north of the WI 167 East interchange) is extra long.  I've heard it was built like this to accommodate the never-built Belt Freeway.

- Near Milepost 52 was a form of a cable-stayed pedestrian bridge over US 41/45.

- Southbound US 41/45 briefly narrows to 2 lanes between the WI 145 freeway exit (Exit 48) and Good Hope Rd.  This is also where the speed limit dropped from 65 to 55.

- Where US 41 exits from the freeway at Appleton Ave, southbound US 45 is also signed as "TO I-894 Bypass".

- Although I missed it at the time, the US 45/WI 190 interchange is a "volleyball" interchange.  Also known as the 3-level diamond.

- Congestion at the I-94/I-894/US 45 "Zoo Interchange" had southbound US 45 traffic backed up to North Ave, about 4 miles away.

- At I-43, southbound US 45 "through traffic" faces a nasty weave situation, as that traffic merges onto southbound I-43 via the on-ramp from eastbound I-894, then has to cross 1-2 lanes of traffic as the exit to southbound US 45/WI 100 from southbound I-43 is on the left.

- WI 120 has recently been realigned around Lake Geneva.  It now follows US 12 briefly between Exit 328 and Exit 330, then just west of US 12 it turns south from WI 50 along a new connector.  It begins as a 4-lane urban arterial from WI 50 south for a couple miles to CTH H, then narrows to 2 lanes as it turns southwest back towards old WI 120, meeting old WI 120 at Willow Rd, where bypass traffic must then make a 90 degree turn back onto existing WI 120.

- WI 120 becomes IL 47 at the WI/IL state line, and thus began a long, slow slog along IL 47, which is the main (some would say only) north-south route through the outer exurbia of the Chicago area.  Most of the state highway junctions were signalized, as were several other streets in the larger towns (a few exceptions I noticed were 4-way stops at IL 173 and at US 52).  There were only a few short 4-lane segments along IL 47:  a little bit right at US 14, about 2 miles just north of I-90 (but not at I-90), from just south of I-88 to just south of US 30, a little right at US 34, and from just north of I-80 through Morris to the north side of the Illinois River.

- The US 30/IL 47 interchange is somewhat strange.  It's a 6-ramp par-clo, but with 3 loops.

- IL 47 currently crosses the Illinois River at Morris via an old through truss bridge.  A new replacement bridge is being built right next to it.

- Made our way over to Kankakee where we stopped for the night.

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