This report was from the first day of the trip back to Picayune, MS from Boy Scout Summer Camp, on June 23, 2007.

Summer camp roadtrip report (3.9/4, TN/NC/GA)

Report 3.9 because I split up my trip back to Picayune into 2 parts.

The weekend of 6/23-6/24 was my trip back to Picayune from the Boy Scout summer camp I attended. I broke it up into a 2-day trip in order to travel south through Georgia and add some Georgia territory to my resume. In addition, I checked out and photographed the status of several routes in-between.

Part 1 (6/23)

- After leaving camp and heading out on US 11E, I cut north on US 25E from Morristown, then eastward on US 11W to catch a section of US 11W I was missing. There's a traffic signal on US 11W a little east of US 25E (at what was likely old US 25E), but otherwise the road is predominantly 4-lane divided until Rogersville (covered in a previous trip report).

- I opted for TN 347 out of Rogersville, to cut the corner over to TN 93. TN 347, designated in the 1980s over former county roads, has three distinct segments, reflecting it's "hashed-together" nature.  The first segment, along Burem Pike from Rogersville to the hamlet of New Hope (at Goshen Valley Rd), is a 40 MPH segment with several curves, a Holston River brigde, and a very skewed at-grade crossing of some Norfolk Southern tracks a couple miles east of the river.

- TN 347 then turns "onto itself" for the second segment along Beech Creek Rd, which is a lot straighter, especially in the creek valley it follows, and a higher 50 MPH speed limit. Then, at the Hawkins/Sullivan County line, the third segment is even more hilly and twisty than the first segment, with a 35 MPH speed limit and a lot of slow traffic as one is approaching the Kingsport area.

- Turned onto TN 93 heading north at the 93/347 junction. The junction marks the transition from a 2-lane road to a 5-lane undivided highway heading north along TN 93.

- North of I-26, took photographs and notes along TN 93 for a future exit list feature, as the road forms the eastern leg of a loop around Kingsport and has one segment that could arguably be considered freeway. Starting at the junction with the I-26 East ramps and "BUSINESS TN 126" (as it's labeled on one guide sign), TN 93 is briefly 6 lanes, albeit with private access points. The 3rd lane ends at the Moreland Dr interchange. Further along, TN 93 crosses the Holston River, passes by the Eastman Chemical Company, and has a traffic signal at Lincoln St.

- The "freeway section" along TN 93 begins just west of the TN 36 interchange, and continues to just north of the US 11W interchange.  Along this stretch, TN 93 has a 50 MPH speed limit and is 4 lanes divided, albeit with substandard shoulders and VERY substandard interchange ramps. The section is also signed as a Bike Route.  There's a 5-ramp par-clo (with 2 loops) at TN 36, a diamond at TN 126, a half-diamond at Orebank Rd, then another 5-ramp par-clo (with 1 loop) at US 11W.

- Median breaks and private access points begin just north of US 11W, but TN 93 retains a 50 MPH speed limit and 4-lanes divided to the traffic signal at Bloomingdale Rd. North of there, TN 93 slows and narrows to a 40 MPH, 4-lane undivided road, narrowing again to 2 lanes at the state line.

- Stayed on VA 224 to check out the status of the planned interchange at US 23/US 58/US 421/VA 224. A lot of earth moving is going on, but except for a temporary bypass for part of VA 224, nothing is directly affecting the roadways.

- Weber City, VA: another locale in Virginia where the street signs say "Highway xx" and not "Route xx" (in this case, "US Highway 23").

- Pretty much right on the Tennessee side of the state line is where the diverge begins for where US 23 splits off towards I-26. The ramp is signed as "TO EAST I-26, SOUTH US 23", with Johnson City and Asheville as control cities. TN 36 continues straight at this location.

- Northbound US 23 does not appear to have exit numbers at this junction...I'm not sure if it did previously.

- "Mile 0" for I-26 is signposted right in the middle of the overpass over US 11W. At the end of the overpass is a "BEGIN EAST I-26" shield, with a corresponding "END I-26" shield on the westbound side.  Along with the exit renumbering, all of the exit guide signs have a secondary sign attached to them saying "OLD EXIT XX", corresponding with the old exit number. Similar to what Pennsylvania used when they renumbered their exits a few years ago.

- Speed limits were quite variable along I-26 (and Future I-26) between Kingsport and Asheville, starting with a 65/55 car/truck split, then going to 70 MPH east of I-81, then down to 60 MPH at TN 354, 55 MPH east of TN 354, back up to 65 MPH after passing TN 359, back down to 55 MPH where US 19W splits off, dropping even further to 50 MPH at Flag Pond Rd for the 5 mile climb up to Sams Gap. The downgrade from Sams Gap on the North Carolina side is now a 60/50 car/truck split...IIRC, it was simply 60 MPH when it opened. It goes back to 60 MPH south of US 19 North, then down to 55 MPH near NC 251 and 50 MPH again at Mile 27 (just north of I-240).

- US 23 trailblazers co-existed with I-26 trailblazers at the Bear Branch Rd and US 19 interchanges, but there were no US 23 reassurance shields on the NC part of I-26 itself.

- Except for the very first advance guide sign eastbound (still says TO US 23), all of the guide signs for Exit 3/Bear Branch Rd now say "TO US 23A". Wolf Laurel remains the control city, as it did when the new freeway opened 4 years ago.

- From what I could tell, all of the standalone US 23A shields included a hyphen between the "23" and the "A". All of the guide signage along I-26 lacked the hyphen.

- Also, it appears that US 23A only exists between US 19 and Bear Branch Rd/Exit 3. There was zero indication in the field that the designation extends north of Bear Branch Rd to Sams Gap.

- An EAST I-26 trailblazer existed on southbound US 19 at the I-26 interchange, but there were no reassurance shields once on the freeway itself...just US 19/US 23 shields. An "Appalachian Highway" sign was posted just underneath the US 19 reassurance shield after Exit 9.

- "FUTURE EAST I-26" shields started popping up once past Exit 15 (NC 197).

- Took US 19/23 west from I-26/240, both as I've already been on I-40 west of Asheville and also for a change of pace. US 19/23/74-A (as it's also signed with a hyphen) is 6 lanes from I-240 to NC 63, then a mix of 4-lane divided and 4-lane undivded southwest of there to I-40.

- Some heavy-duty construction on I-40 as seen from US 19/23. It looked like NCDOT was widening I-40 in the area.

- The 4/5-lane section on US 19/23 continues to NC 151 in Hominy, where the road narrows down to 3 lanes. Interestingly, US 19/23 is a 3-lane road between Hominy and Canton, with the center lane alternating between a passing lane for each side and a left turn lane at some intersections.

- US 19/23 briefly splits into a one-way pair in downtown Canton.  West of downtown Canton, it's predominantly a 5-lane undivided road out to where it merges with US 74.

- Briefly took US 19 at Exit 103, then south on US 276 back to US 23/74. At the US 276 South junction, a sign on US 19 South says that it's "Not Recommended for Tractor Trailers". The sections of both routes (US 19 and US 276) I took were 5-lane undivided sections.

- Back onto US 23/74 south/west, where some slope repair near Exit 100/Hazelwood Ave had the right shoulder closed. More slope repair was underway just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

- TRUCK US 64 was co-signed with US 23/74. The TRUCK US 64 designation continued south with US 23/441 where they split off of US 74 at Sylva.

- US 23/441 is a mix of 4-lane divided and 5-lane undivided, mostly 5-lane undivided, all the way down to the Georgia line. Predominantly 55 MPH, there's a number of tight 35 MPH curves on the climbs up both sides of the Cowee Mountains (a series of knobs and hills along the Jackson/Macon County line).

- The Franklin bypass is signed as BY-PASS US 441, but mainline US 23 and US 64. BUSINESS US 441 goes through the city. Also, contrary to the 2007 NC map, the US 23/64/441 triplex is not freeway...there was a traffic signal in between the two interchanges (at US 64 East and 23/441 South). US 23/441 are the "through route" at the 64 East interchange, while US 64 is the "through route" at the 23/441 South interchange.

- Clayton and Atlanta are the control cities for 23/441 South where they split off of US 64.

- Once into Georgia, the road narrows to 3 lanes, with a 2nd southbound lane continuing from the 5-lane section in North Carolina.  Through Dillard is a 4-lane section, but not a normal 4-lane...there's 2 southbound lanes, 1 northbound lane, and a center left turn lane.

- From about a mile south of Dillard to Mountain City is a normal 4-lane undivided section (2 lanes each way). Southbound loses its 2nd lane between Mountain City and Clayton, then once on the north side of Clayton a 5-lane section begins and continues through Clayton.  There's a short US 23/76/441 triplex in Clayton.

- Traffic was heavy enough to where an even 4/5-lane roadway, with a consistent 2 lanes in each direction throughout, is justified between Clayton and the North Carolina line.

- South of Clayton is a major construction project, as GDOT is in the middle of widening US 23/441 to 4 lanes from the south side of Clayton about 11 miles to the start of the existing 4-lnae highway near Tallulah Falls. There will also be an interchange along this stretch, a few miles south of Clayton, although I couldn't pinpoint the sideroad the interchange will be at.

- There's a GA 15 LOOP at Tallulah Falls. A little south of there, the speed limit increases to 65 MPH.

- The US 23/441, US 123/GA 17 junction is part intersection, part interchange. It's predominantly an at-grade signalized intersection, but there are also direct ramps between US 123 to the east (signed SOUTH going southbound, but signed NORTH going northbound) and US 23/441 to the south. There's a "US 123 END" shield where the on-ramp merges onto southbound US 23/441.

- The US 23/441 junction with GA 191 is a "one-quadrant interchange".  The two roads are grade-separated, with an at-grade access road between them.

- The junction with GA 105/GA 385 is a folded-diamond interchange. At the end of the off-ramp, BUSINESS US 441 is signed with a brown shield, with "BUS" in small letters above the number within the shield, and "HISTORIC ROUTE" as a banner underneath the shield.

- GA 105/GA 115 west of Clarkesville is a 4-way stop, as is GA 254/GA 384 east of Cleveland.

- US 129 south of GA 254 to Gainesville is mainly a 2-lane road, albeit with occasional passing lanes and turn lanes. And not just US 129...several Georgia 2-lane routes I was on over the weekend had passing lanes.

- US 129 makes four turns in the Gainesville area. From north to south: first, a left turn onto a 4-lane bypass-sort of road labeled Limestone Pkwy, with BUSINESS GA 11 continuing straight. Second, a left turn onto GA 369, named Jesse Jewell Pkwy, with BUSINESS US 129 turning right. Third, a right turn onto I-985 at Exit 24. Last is a right turn off I-985 at Exit 22 (due to the off-ramp being a loop).

- US 129 southeast of Gainesville begins as a 4-lane road, but narrows to 2 lanes at GA 323 and remains 2 lanes until the western junction with GA 332. This section was very busy as a 2 lane road and IMO warrants 4 lanes.

- South of I-85, US 129 bypasses Jefferson to the west on a newer looking bypass that even includes concrete pavement for the lanes. At the south end of the bypass is an "END GA 11 CONN" shield next to a SOUTH GA 15 ALT trailblazer.

- US 129 narrows back to 2 lanes just south of the Jefferson bypass, but a project is underway to widen US 129 to 4 lanes from Jefferson to Athens, and the section from GA 330 to the north side of Athens (where a 5-lane undivided segment begins) looks like it was VERY recently opened to 4 lanes.

- Took a spin around the loop around Athens, which is signed as GA LOOP 10 throughout. It also has milepost-based exit numbers, increasing going counter-clockwise, with "Mile 0" being at the western Clarke/Oconee County line crossing west of US 29/78. The highest exit number is 18, at BUSINESS US 78/GA 10 on the west side.

- On reassurance shields and most guide signs, LOOP 10 is signed as Inner/Outer as opposed to having a cardinal direction. All four U.S. routes in Athens: 29, 78, 129, and 441, follow the east/south sides of the loop. The southern half of the loop has a 65 MPH speed limit, from Mile 0 east to just north of Exit 8 (US 78 EAST). The rest of the loop as a 55 MPH speed limit.

- The only thing keeping the full loop from being freeway-grade is a single at-grade signalized intersection at Olympic Dr/Peter St on the east side of the loop.

- At the interchange at the northeast corner of the loop, coming from the south the roadway continues as US 29 North, coming from the west via LOOP 10, the road continues as a connector road to Old Hull Rd.  The interchange itself is nominally a cloverleaf, but is missing 3 ramps. Those three movements are served by a half-diamond at Old Hull Rd just south of the interchange, the connection to Old Hull Rd to the east, and an at-grade access road northeast of the interchange.

- GDOT is in the process of repaving/lengthening left turn lanes on US 29 between LOOP 10 and GA 72.

- GA 72 is 4-lanes for a good bit east of US 29, tapering back to 2 lanes at GA 172.

- A disconnected segment of multilane GA 72 begins just east of the Madison/Elbert County line. This mostly 5-lane section includes a brief divided segment at Oglesby, where the eastbound lanes pass underneath a CSX railline while the westbound lanes bridge over the tracks. The 5-lane section ends just west of GA 17 on the northwest side of Elberton. This is probably because the existing GA 17/72 junction is haphazard at best, featuring tight turns and a GA 17 bridge over both GA 72 and the railroad. A construction project is underway to realign the junction, and presumably the 5-lane section on GA 72 will be extended to the realigned junction. It was unclear from ground level just what the realignment will look like. My guess is some sort of folded-diamond interchange.

- Aside from that northwestern junction, GA 17/72 is 5-lanes undivided through Elberton. The 5-lane section continues along GA 17 a little south of GA 72 East, ending on the south side of town. South of Elberton to Washington, GA 17 is a rural 2-lane road that passes through a couple small towns and also has Bike Route 85 following it.

- GA 17 widens to 4 lanes a little north of Washington, and has a BUSINESS GA 17 through Washington. The 4-lane continues along US 78 at least past the junction with US 378/GA 47. The western terminus of US 378 is here at US 78.

- South of Washington to Sharon, GA 47 parallels a rail line that looks like it's seen better days.

- Got on I-20 from US 278 to US 78. I-20 is signed as the "Carl Sanders Highway" here.

- US 78 is a 4-lane undivided route from I-20 south to where it splits off of GA 17 on the north side of Thomson.

- At various locations along GA 17 from Thomson to Wrens were signs advertising a "Proposed DOT Widening Project", and it listed a phone number to call for more information.

- GA 17 widens to 5 lanes on the north side of Wrens. The junction with US 1/221 features 2 lanes to turn right onto southbound 1/221/17 from...a right-turn lane and a right/through shared lane.

- The 5-lane section on US 1/221 through Wrens ends at the GA 88 WEST junction.

- US 1/221 was a fairly quiet 2-lane road between Wrens and Wadley.  There's a 2-lane bypass of most (but not all) of Louisville, and a 4- lane bypass of Wadley at which US 319 has its northern terminus.

- GA 78 east of Wadley, and GA 17 beyond that, is even quieter, though it was starting to get late in the evening by this point. In Midville, GA 56 is the "through route" at the 17/56 junction...GA 17 traffic has to stop.

- A BY-PASS GA 17 exists in Millen, first following US 25 for a few blocks, then cutting southeast back to existing GA 17.

- The existing US 301 bridge across the Ogeechee River and floodplain (2 lanes with shoulders) is right next to the old bridge across the river (2 lanes without shoulders) which is still mostly intact but closed and partially overgrown/covered with nearby trees along the old bridge.

- BYPASS US 301 around Statesboro to US 25/301 South is a 2-lane road on a 4-lane right-of-way. A project is underway to widen the bypass to 4 lanes between GA 24 and US 25/301 South.

- US 25/301 is a mix of 5-lane undivided and 4-lane divided from Statesboro south to I-16, then is 4-lane UNdivided south of I-16 all the way to Glennville, narrowing to 2 lanes between Glennville and Ludowici.

- US 25/84/301 southwest of Ludowici features a 65 MPH speed limit on the Long County side of the Altamaha River. There's a very strong smell in the area associated with a paper mill on the Wayne County side of the river.

- US 301 splits off of US 25/84 on the north side of Jesup via a partial-directional interchange. US 301 then bypasses most of Jesup to the east while US 25/84 travel through town.

- Most of the hotels/commercial establishment were at the US 301/US 341(and 25) junction on the southeast side of Jesup. This is where I stopped for the night.

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