This report is from Day 16 of our 2005 Summer Vacation, on August 12, 2005.

Day 16 of the Froggie/Ladymegs 2005 Great Circle Tour (long)

The Froggie/LadyMegs 2005 Great Circle Tour, Day 16:  last run to Syracuse.

After a long Day 15 that ended with us finally finding a hotel room late, Day 16 was relatively straightforward, as we were more interested in getting back to Syracuse in a timely matter.  To that effect, our route was pretty basic...I-70 to I-79 to I-90.  This also marked the last time I'd be driving to Syracuse before Meaghan moves in October.  [Editor's Note:  due to Hurricane Katrina, I wound up with one more trip to Syracuse, so this wasn't the last one after all.]

- Starting out eastbound the large-area I-70/I-77 interchange, control cities for I-77 were Cleveland and Marietta.

- I-470 splits off of I-70 in the vicinity of St. Clairsville, a fair-sized town west of Wheeling.  East of St. Clairsville, there weren't any interchanges along I-70 until the access interchange to OH 7 and US 250.  The connection between the two is indirect....almost Breezewood-ish...

- US 250 is duplexed with I-70 across the Ohio River and through the Wheeling Tunnel.  Most of this stretch lacked shoulders and had a 45 MPH speed limit, given the very substandard design as well as lane drops around the US 40/WV 2 interchange.

- Saw some ghost stubs at the I-70/US 250 South interchange.  Was an extension of the US 250/WV 2 freeway to the north planned?

- I-70 is briefly 6 lanes on the east side of Wheeling, for a couple miles before I-470 merges back in.

- The western I-70/I-79 interchange is a 3-way semi-directional stack interchange....similar to the "semi-directional T" mentioned on Kurumi's interchange guide.

- Exit 43 on northbound I-79 had "Eighty-Four" as a control city.

- Once in Allegheny County, a major reconstruction project was underway on I-79, extending all the way up to and including the I-279 interchange.  All traffic was on the southbound side as the northbound lanes were all torn apart.  It looks like PennDOT is widening this stretch as part of the reconstruction.

- Approaching the I-79 Ohio River crossing from the south is a fairly long grade with several tight curves.  A truck speed limit of 45 MPH is imposed here.

- The interchange I-79 has on Neville Island (Exit the middle of the Ohio River), is partly over the southern branch of the river itself.  The northern branch of the river is apparently the main channel....the I-79 bridge here is a 6-lane tied-arch bridge, although the 3rd lane on each side is only an auxiliary lane between the two interchanges on each side.

- I-79 widens to 6 lanes where I-279 merges in...but then narrows back to 4 lanes at the US 19 interchange at Exit 76, only a mile short of the new Cranberry Connector (Exit 77) between I-79 and the PA Turnpike.

- The Cranberry Connector interchange on I-79 is in effect a huge trumpet interchange, with the ramp from the Turnpike to northbound I-79 being the loop.  Southbound I-79 has a C/D road between the Connector and the PA 228 interchange to the north, while the northbound side simply has an auxiliary lane between the two interchanges.

- The 1-mile advance guide sign for the I-80 interchange has "JUNCTION" above the I-80 shield.  It appears this is a relic of when the interchange was unnumbered, before mile-based exit numbering came to Pennsylvania.

- Our only real side trip this day was to take I-79 to its end in Erie.  Before the end, the interchange at US 20 looks like an incomplete directional interchange.  A couple of ramps to/from the east were missing.

- Exit 183B, the ramp to PA 5 West, is about 200 feet before a traffic signal at the end of I-79, where the road continues as a route to the "Erie Bayfront".  Heading the other direction, the first southbound I-79 reassurance shield is about 100 feet past the traffic light and was of note in that it had widely space numbers and also had the state name in the shield.

- To cut the corner to get to I-90, we got off at the PA 99 interchange, which didn't work out so well as it also happened to be the interchange for the mall.  In the process, I snapped an "END PA 99" shield at US 19.

- The mainline toll barriers for the west end of the NYS Thruway was just east of an interchange for Shortman Rd.

- I-90 is 6 lanes and free between US 219 and I-290, through the eastern Buffalo suburbs.  There were mainline toll plazas on each side of the free section.  The southernmost section of this, between US 219 and Exit 55 (the next exit to the north) was actually more like a 2-2-2-2 configuration...with I-90 in the middle and the ramps to/from US 219 on the outside.

- The guide signage for the I-190 exit had "TOLL ROAD" to the right of the I-190 shield.

- This has probably been mentioned before, but I-90 is 6 lanes between the eastern I-490 interchange and NY 332.

- A little east of NY 332, an overpass over I-90 was about halfway through the process of being completely replaced.  Bridge beams were in place over the westbound lanes, but not over the eastbound lanes.

Got back to Syracuse in time for dinner and a quick unwind.  Meaghan's vacation was over, but I still had 2 more days to get down to Mississippi and my next duty station. 

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(C) 2007, Adam Froehlig