This report was from the second trip up to Summer Camp, on June 21, 2007.

Summer camp roadtrip reports (2/4, MS/AL/GA/TN)

Second Trip North (on 6/21):

- From Picayune to Tuscaloosa was uneventful...just a trip along I-59 with nothing new to report. At Exit 71, I bailed from the Interstate and decided to take US 11 for a change of pace, to clinch US 11 in Alabama, and to shoot a few AL route termini along the corridor.

- US 11 is 4 lanes from AL 69 to just past Exit 76, where it narrows back to 2 lanes but stays busy all the way through to AL 5.

- The AL 215/AL 216 junction has been widened to 4 lanes plus turn lanes on all four approaches, but only the 15th St E approach continues as 4 lanes beyond the intersection.

- Though the route is unsigned from I-20/59, Exit 100 is the east end of AL 216.

- With the change in amusement park ownership some time back, what used to be Visionland Pkwy at Exit 110 is now Alabama Adventure Pkwy.  This interchange was only built a few years ago to serve what was then named Visionland.

- From I-20/59 at Exit 108 northeast pretty much all the way through Bessemer and Birmingham, US 11 is a mix of 4-lane undivided, 5-lane undivided, and narrow 4-lane divided. There's one stretch for a few blocks on each side of I-65 where the route follows one-way streets, curiously with "northbound" on the opposite side of "southbound".  There were also a few abandoned rail overpasses in Bessemer and US 78 duplexes with US 11 for most of the trip through downtown.

- More Birmingham notes: US 11/78 goes through the south side of downtown along 1st Ave N and parallel to the Norfolk Southern mainline tracks. There's still an abandoned ramp where US 11 passes under US 31/280. The loop, whose concrete still remains, previously served traffic from southbound 31/280 to northbound 11. Just northeast of US 31/280 is a long viaduct over some rail lines and rail spurs. Bots dots on the viaduct suggest that it used to be a 6-lane viaduct at one point, but is now striped for 4 lanes plus a wide right-shoulder on each side.

- US 11 retains the "1st Ave N" streetname through most of northeast Birmingham, finally relinquishing it near Hawkins Park (northeast of Exit 132).

- Approaching AL 75, if you're not careful, you might wind up on the roadway leading to northbound AL 75. This junction was not very well signed, and in fact there were zero indications of AL 75 along northbound US 11.

- US 11 narrows back to 2 lanes just northeast of the Cahaba River in Trussville.

- Northeast of Trussville through Argo and most of the way to Springville was very busy along US 11, mainly due to Birmingham-induced sprawl.

- US 11 traffic stops at the US 11/US 231 junction. US 231 traffic has the right-of-way.

- Similar to the AL 215/AL 216 junction described above, the US 11/AL 77 junction has been widened to 4 lanes plus turn lanes on all 4 approaches. However, all four directions narrow back to 2 lanes after the junction.

- Because of the skew of the intersection plus a parallel railroad, left turns are prohibited from northbound US 11 to west/northbound US 278/431.

- There's a brief US 11/278/431 triplex in Attalla.

- Northeast of US 278/431 and through Reece City, US 11 is a vestige of an old, bypassed route, with old pavement, an almost worn-out centerline, and very little traffic.

- The light traffic continues northeast of Reece City almost to Fort Payne. This stretch of US 11 was also fairly straight and offered some nice farmland and hill views.

- The sign for Fort Payne announces it as the "Official Sock Capitol of the World".

- The southern US 11/AL 35 junction is a 3-way Y-junction.

- US 11 was fairly busy through Fort Payne, this in part due to the road being only 2 lanes.

- As noted before, US 11 is being widened on the north side of Fort Payne, for about a mile.

- Fort Payne-related traffic thins out quickly, well before you get to Hammondville.

- Past Hammondville, US 11 is similar to how it was between Attalla and Fort Payne...little traffic and fairly straight, albeit with old pavement. The pavement improves noticeably at the Georgia line, but the road also gets noticably curvy once in Georgia.

- US 11 is mainly 3 lanes (2 lanes plus center left turn lane) through Trenton. There's a short US 11/GA 136 duplex in town and both route junctions are signalized. A little north of GA 136, US 11 is split by and goes around the county courthouse...Trenton being the county seat of Dade County.

- Northeast of Trenton are some long views of Lookout Mountain and some buildings on top of the mountain.

- I bailed off US 11 at GA 299, having then also clinched US 11 in Georgia and also wanting to get cheap gas at the I-24/GA 299 interchange.

- My next stop was downtown Chattanooga and nearby areas to check the status of various U.S. highway routes. I'll post on those separately.

- Once done with that, I took US 11/64 east through Missionary Ridge Tunnel (which has a 2-lane tube in each direction) and on through eastern Chattanooga. The duplex begins as Brainerd Rd then becomes Lee Hwy at TN 320. It's mainly a 5-lane undivided commercial strip, though it briefly hits 7 lanes between Moore Rd and TN 320, and also narrows to 3 lanes between Shallowford Rd and just south of TN 317.

- Backtracked along I-75 down to TN 153 then up that route. As has been noted in the past from others, TN 153 was widened to 6 lanes between I-75 and Amnicola Hwy (previously TN 58, now TN 319).

- Took the short, standalone TN 319 "Dupont Pkwy" spur freeway. This route is noted as having both poor pavement (contrary to a typical Tennessee highway) and also has access ramps to/from the south only.  The north end at TN 153 is noted as having a partial ghost grade and a design suggesting the freeway would have extended further.

- North of Dupont Pkwy, TN 153 is predominantly a 7-lane arterial (6 lanes plus center left turn lane), though it briefly drops to 4 lanes at the Hixson Pike/TN 319 North interchange, and it drops to 4 lanes for the northernmost mile before intersecting US 27. Also, a little south of US 27 is a half-interchange to/from the north connecting to Dayton Blvd and presumably representing US 27's pre-freeway routing.

- US 27 has a split 65/55 car/truck speed limit north of TN 153, almost to TN 111. Near the TN 111 interchange, it's a 60/55 split, then north of TN 111 the route slows to 55 MPH overall.

- US 27 between Soddy Daisy and Harriman is mostly 4 lanes, with exceptions as noted below. It's a mix of 4-lane divided and 5-lane a general rule the 5-lane undivided segments had a lower 45 MPH speed limit and were mainly through towns (such as Sale Creek, parts of Dayton, and Rockwood).

- TN 60 and TN 378 both meet US 27 at the same junction on the south side of Dayton.

- Speaking of Dayton, US 27 through the town is typical of the problems exhibited on many Tennessee 4-lane routes: unfettered development and a lack of access control or management has turned what may have been a good town bypass when it was built into a slow slog of poorly timed traffic signals.

- Also in Dayton: the northbound bridge over Richland Creek (a little south of TN 30) was being replaced, shunting all traffic onto the southbound side. The southbound bridge looked like it had been replaced recently.

- A short gap in the 4-lane begins at TN 68 East, a little south of Spring City, and the US 27/TN 68 duplex is still 2-lanes with no shoulder and no indications of future widening.

- TN 68 departs US 27 in Spring City via a jughandle-sort of road leading to an overpass over both US 27 and the parallel Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

- US 27 through Spring City is in the process of being widened...looks to be a future 5-lane undivided section. Traffic was using the future northbound lanes, and paving was well underway on the southbound side.

- TN 61 shields appear with US 27 northeast of Rockwood, even though TN 61 is the underlying state route for US 27 between Rockwood and Harriman.

- US 27/TN 61 is mainly a 5-lane undivided through Harriman, though there's a section downtown that's 4-lanes with curb parking.

- TN 61 could stand to be widened between the US 27 split and Oliver was very busy for a 2-lane road. It'd be a tight fit through given the terrain, buildings along the road, and the parallel CSX tracks.

- TN 62 from Oliver Springs south through Oak Ridge goes back and forth between a 5-lane urban boulevard and a 4-lane arterial. There's a half-interchange on the south side of Oliver Springs. It's 35 MPH through most of Oak Grove and also has a 7-lane section (6 lanes plus center left turn lane) from Tulane Ave to the Boeing Rd interchange.  There are dual left turn lanes at TN 95.

- South of Oak Grove to TN 162, TN 62 is mainly a 4-lane arterial with a mix of at-grade intersections and interchanges. There are interchanges at Bethel Valley Rd, TN 170, and TN 162. The Bethel Valley Rd and TN 162 interchanges are partial interchanges...Bethel Valley Rd is missing a WB on-ramp and TN 162 is missing a ramp from WB 62 to SB 162.

- TN 62 to the west and TN 162 to the south are seamless...TN 62 traffic must "exit/enter itself".

- TN 162, locally known as the Pellissippi Pkwy, is 55 MPH throughout and also lacks traffic signals. It also appears to lack private access could technically be called an expressway. There were "pseudo-interchanges" at Hardin Valley Rd and TN 131/Lovell Rd....I say 'pseudo' because while the cross street is grade-separated, the ramps between the two feature very tight turns to/from TN 162...almost like a right-in/right-out intersection.

- The interchange at Dutchtown Rd is a bona-fide interchange...a folded-diamond. There's also a "BEGIN I-140" green sign southbound anchored to the Dutchtown Rd overpass.

- The ramp from SB TN 162 to EB I-40/75 begins as two lanes, but narrows to one lane before the merge onto 40/75.

- With it being evening rush hour, EB I-40 traffic was backing up beginning at the US 129 interchange. I bailed off at the downtown ramp (to US 441 South). This ramp merges with the ramp from I-275 before passing underneath the Broadway/Western Ave intersection.  Stonework at the underpass shows the city name with "FOUNDED 1791" under it. These ramps in turn merge with Broadway (US 441) just before the Clinch Ave intersection.

- Did a U-turn and followed Broadway north, which in addition to US 441 is also technically US 11/70 between Cumberland Ave and Magnolia Ave.

- Because of the I-40 reconstruction, I initially missed the turn onto Magnolia from Broadway. The turn is signed, but shadowing from the I-40 overpass resulted in me missing the turn itself.

- The first half-mile of Magnolia Ave is being reconstructed as part of the I-40 appears based on maps that the route begins as a split route with one-way roads on either side of I-40, becoming a single road at Central St. But with the construction it's hard to say what the final configuration will be.

- A little further down, the mess with James White Pkwy and construction of the new Hall of Fame Dr requires a pair of turns to stay on US 11/70. Again, the construction made it difficult to see what the final configuration will be.

- East of the construction mess, US 11/70 is a 5-lane undivided street through eastern Knoxville. There's a grade-separated split where US 11 splits into US 11E/US 11W.

- Just past that split is an error "EAST US 11E" reassurance banner.

- US 11E/US 70 pick up US 25W at I-40, and for about 5-6 miles you have a wrong-way US 11E North/US 25W South along the triplex.

- Where US 11E splits off of US 25W/US 70 is a partial interchange, noted for westbound US 25W/US 70 swinging wide north at the junction with development in the 25W/70 "median" just east of US 11E.

- US 11E between Knoxville and the edges of Morristown is typical Tennessee 4-lane arterial, as described in my mini-rant above. In this case, the signals at Jefferson City were poorly timed.

- On the west side of Morristown, US 11E turns onto Morris Blvd, and follows that street through the city along the south side of the Norfolk Southern tracks. Both here and on the east side of town were signs saying "THRU TRUCKS MUST USE 11-E".

- Made it back to camp in the late evening.

Both my Chattanooga US route notes and notes from the return trip to Picayune (via much of Georgia) will be posted separately.

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(C) 2007, Adam Froehlig