Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The stores I visited in order: Richmondville, Walton, Sidney, and Oneonta.
Route: I-90, I-88, NY 10, NY 206, NY 8, local roads in Sidney, NY 7, NY 357, NY 28, I-88, local roads and NY 7 in Oneonta, I-88 and I-90 to home.
Accomplishments: New mileage on NY 10 from NY 23 south to NY 206 in Walton; NY 206 from NY 10 to NY 8; NY 8 from NY 206 to I-88, Completed NY 357 in one shot, NY 28 from NY 357 to NY23/I-88.
Notes: It snowed much of the trip with the heaviest between 10-11 or basically from NY 23 to Walton.
NY 10 is a very nice road. It's pretty much flat but there are a few nice towns including Delhi and Walton. There are also a pair of Covered Bridges and an old stone bridge (on Delaware County 18) that are just off the highway and would be worth investigating. I didn't have the chance to do much on that.
If you are looking for old truss bridges...just travel along NY 7 from Schenectady to Binghamton. I-88 obviously is a quicker and very scenic drive. But the slower paced NY 7 goes through many small towns southwest of Oneonta, and because of the paralleling Susquehanna River and railroad tracks...unique bridges can be found on NY 7 or many of the side roads nearby. I traveled NY 7 in May 2005 and was amazed at the ammount of old and unique bridges.
Two of these bridges I encountered today. Main St in Sidney (which was old NY 8), and at the southern terminus of NY 357. There are plenty more along the NY 7 corridor but those two I crossed today.
Not many older I-88 New York signs left on I-88 still one old one left in Oneonta. If you are looking for any relics...travel NY 7...or snoop around the exits. There are still two left (and mighty big sized) on NY 357 South, I did get a photo of them.
If you are headed West (southwest) on I-88 just after Exit 20 in Richmondville, there is an old concrete arch bridge for a side street that runs right into the Westbound lanes. Of course it is blocked off, but it is something you don't see. There is even a NY historical marker there. Just haven't been able to check it out. You are able to access it via NY 7 via a few turns off the beaten path.
I got a lot done on my store visits..only two photos of some older I-88 shields. Just didn't have the extra time i thought i would have to photograph, the store visits went longer, but there was so much to cover.
Til Next Time.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I'm not surprised that this happened once the two senators from Orangeburg threw in admendments for tolling I-95. Senator Grooms blocked the bill only because of the I-95 toll proposal and the other two blocked it because they were not going to get their wish for a toll booth on I-95.
A bill that would make Interstate 73 a toll road stalled indefinitely Thursday after two senators put a block on the measure.
Supporters of the road hoped to get the bill out quickly to show Congress that South Carolina is ready to pay its share to build Horry County's first interstate highway link. Congress kicked in $81 million for I-73 in last year's five-year highway bill, and members have promised more each year, but they want to see a toll put on the road because they can't promise the entire $2 billion price tag.
The House passed the bill in three days, but the same measure in the Senate came to a halt last week when two senators tried to amend it to include a toll on I-95.
One senator who wants the toll on I-95 put a block on the bill until his amendment is accepted, and a senator who opposes a toll on I-95 also blocked the bill.
Senate rules allow a member to block consideration of a bill indefinitely, unless a two-thirds majority forces the measure to a vote.
Sen. Larry Grooms, R-
Bonneau, said he put his block on the bill to prevent the I-95 toll amendment and he hopes the dispute can be worked out soon.
"I am a friend of the bill. I want the I-73 thing to pass," Grooms said.
He said he wants the bill held up until supporters can muster enough votes to overcome the I-95 amendment.
Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, and Sen. John Matthews, D-Bowman, proposed the amendment to the I-73 toll bill that would put a toll booth on I-95 near Orangeburg, with the money to be used to maintain and improve the highway.
Hutto put a block on the bill when objections were raised to his amendment.
Grooms said a toll on I-95 might be needed but the I-73 bill isn't the place to accomplish that. "That's a separate issue, and it should be a separate bill," Grooms said.
"My hope is that we get that taken care of," said Sen. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. "It's a great project, and we need to get this bill out of here."
This is just normal politics whether at the federal or local level. The I-95 measure should be on a seperate bill espescially since it is an existing Interstate highway and would need Federal approval first. If the two Orangeburg Senators believe that this bill would create tolls on I-95, they are largely mistaken.
It will take awhile for the issue to sort itself out. But this will not be the last we hear of a toll proposal for I-73. This will be an issue during each new legislative session. Stay tuned, this week's defeat for tolling I-73 is only a slight diversion towards its eventual completion. The bill does not stop any current studies on the eventual path of the highway or the plans for the $85 million in funding for the highway gained last year.
Horry County Officials applied for $150 million in early January to extend the Carolina Bays Parkway (SC 31) another 1.5 miles to SC 707 then to widen SC 707 to five lanes to the US 17 Bypass. This will essentially complete the Carolina Bays Parkway. The parkway was origianlly planned to curl back towards US 17, but the county never bought the land and developers have already built over the proposed right of way.
A few new details also came out in the article. The state only owns 75 feet of right of way along SC 707 and would need 110 feet. A number of homes may possibly have to be taken for this project. The board was very inquisitive including asking about mass transit. Finally, the chairman of the bank board, Don Leonard, is a business owner from Myrtle Beach.
The bank's board also went to Charleston to gather information about their requested projects.
From the article, I finally learned why the link to SC 707 is called the last piece of the Parkway. It was always to go to US 17, but I was not aware of the developments that led to the highway to be truncated at SC 707 vs. US 17 Bypass. This is like I-540 in Raleigh, NC where many developments were built with the I-540 Right-of-way kept in mind.
Going back to that, I am rather surprised that the state and the county did not purchase the right-of-way for the SC 707 to US 17 link.
With the bank's board visiting the other projects this month. A decision will be announced soon.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
First, the opportunity to have memories of what I like to call my second home, Gaston County. One of the routes NC 274, I lived off of and my work was off of it so I was on it daily. But also in doing the updates top the pages for NC 161, 273, 274, and 275, I recalled all the times I saw the termini. Also, each of them had photos I took of my own when I lived there. I could remember a lot of it. Some like the ends for 161 and 275 I took in April of 2001 when I first moved there. It was really my first exploration of the county and it was the first trip that really allowed me to call the area home. Other photos were taken in the summer of 2001 and I just remember how the area was along the border. It was a nice surprise to get those photos in the mail.
Another Gaston County memory was the abandoned I-85 ramps near Eastridge Mall. These ramps were once part of a connector between Franklin Blvd. and I-85. It also was a temporary end of the highway around 1963. Now it serves as an access road and a bypass of heavy traffic around I-85 and Cox Road. I never got down to take photos (I also didn't have a digital camera then) and I was surprised to see that a lot of the paint on the old ramps are still there. Chris Curley took great shots as always.
Oriental, NC is another one of my favorite places. I really grew attached to the place in taking sailing lessons from a work colleague in 2004. I added five photos taken December 2004 the last time I was out there. I moved to NY in February-March 2005. The sunset bridge photo was the subject of my 2005 Christmas Cards. I showed Craig and his wife the page, and they both commented, "Looks awesome, but it needs more photos, when are you coming back down?"
I am very proud of the I-40 History Page. It really is the first detailed NC Road History page I have done. It has been on the drawing board for about three years. What I find the most amazing about the entire backstory is that, the state really has tried for 40 years to build interstates to Morehead City and Wilmington. Oddly, what I-40 became was never part of either the 1963, 1968, or 1970 proposals. Plus, I do wonder what the three spur proposals made in 1959 entailed. As always, there are new questions to ask. Why were the various proposals rejected in 1963 and 1970. Were there more made in 1968? Were there more made in other years? When and why did Gov. Hunt change I-40 to go to Wilmington? Was there really any consideration for I-40 going to Morehead City. And as some have suggested, are the upgrades to US 70 part of a compromise to Morehead when they lost out on I-40. However, the page is now out there, and who knows more leads can come from that.
I did not do two items to the update. The 4 US 70's of Selma/Smithfield I decided to hold since Brian LeBlanc is hoping to get photos next weekend. I also decided to not add some of the older postcards of the Central Highway because I'm not exactly sure what my plans for them are at this time.
So what is next: Virgina...cutouts and signs..Mike Roberson sent me some US 15 photos, I have some photos of my own, and i may extend US 29 to DC with some information onthe Lee Highway. Depends on how much information I can dig up.
Florida...Steve Williams has sent me some photos and I am trying to get some more before I introduce a page. Hopefully, the next roll of film will have more St. Augustine photos and I can tie that in with a gallery.
Friday, January 13, 2006
First, SCDOT narrowed the studied alternatives to the highway. Basically it is down to two possibilities. One follows and uses most of US 501 from Marion to SC 22. The highway would use part of the US 301 Marion Bypass, jump on to a new alignment, return to US 301 north of Galivants Ferry around SC 41 and then the road leaves US 501 to bypass Galivants Ferry and Aynor. South of Anyor the road uses US 501 until SC 22 and then follows the Conway Bypass to its end.
The Second is a new path alignment that runs north of the US 501 Option. It runs closer to Mullins (bypassing the town to the south) and reaches SC 22 near the SC 319 interchange.
There are crossovers between the two main alternatives, so a hybrid of both options may be the final routing. What is also intersting is that both options cross I-95 north of SC 38, which is the current consensus for the north segment of the highway.
To see the corridors in detail go here:
The next big chunk of news is that the Toll consideration for the highway is pushing forward. The bills introduced have been fast tracked and will bypass going to committee. A vote could be early as NEXT WEEK.
Although the bills do not mention the amount of a toll or where the booths would be placed - that would be up to the DOT - there are some more details given. Tolls would be reduced for local residents perhaps by way of a pass system.
First on the new alignmnet alternatives: As the picture gets clearer on where I-73 may go, some predictions can be made. The state knows that using the existing US 501 corridor with upgrades will be cheaper to build. So look for US 501 on all or parts of the route. The key is the influence of Mullins, which really wants the highway to be near it. Also, how close of an impact will Anyor want I-73 to have. I do think that the state will pick the northern alterntive to Mullins and use the crossover to US 501 near SC 41 and follow US 501 down to SC 22.
As for the tolls, nothing has been said about some concerns about wanting to create a SC turnpike Authority vs. just slapping tolls on the road through SCDOT. The political debate and the eventual vote will be the determining factor on that.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
More I-73 Toll News:
From The Sun News:
The SC legislative session will be very interesting in regards to I-73. Will they come to an agreement quickly, or will it take time to create a Toll Authority like it did in North Carolina.
Tax policy may be the dominant theme for legislators in the upcoming session, but it isn't the only thing on the table.
I-73 | The 60-mile path of Interstate 73 in South Carolina would be a toll road under a bill filed by state Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach.
Clemmons, president of the S.C. I-73 Association, said the move would guarantee some of the state's required matching funds for the $2 billion road that will be Horry County's first interstate connection.
"We need to be cautious with this" so as not to discourage use of what should be a tourist magnet, Clemmons said. But he thinks tolls will be necessary to ensure the road is built.
State Rep. Tracy Edge, R-
North Myrtle Beach, agreed tolls may be necessary, but he proposes creating a S.C. Turnpike Authority, a board similar to one in North Carolina that can decide if tolls are needed and how much should be charged.
Tolls should not be a legislative matter, Edge said.
The good news is planning for I-73 continues as the state figures out the funding source.
See: First Post and Update for 2006!
Got some of the North Carolina updates done....currently working on the abandoned I-85 connector ramps in Gastonia.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
I've just recently completed an update to South Carolina Highways. The update is relatively small but a lot of good news and information has come up since July of last year.
A lot of goodies here. The $81 million allotment of funds in the SAFETEA-LU Act has really given new momentum to I-73 in South Carolina. Basically the $81 million will cover all environmental studies and give the state a head start on right-of -way acquisition. It's a major step towards the completion of an estimated $2 BILLION route. Since the $81 million was announced, the state has gained another $4 million from Congress. All good news right? Well as Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend."
In November, both of the State's senators, Graham and DeMint, offered in a bill to cut the $81 million in I-73 funding and divert it to Katrina relief. Both senators admitted that the moving of the $81 million wouldn't happen, but why as some editorials read even mess with that possibility?
Even with that political game aside, there is still a long way to go towards the completion of I-73 inside South Carolina. The new consideration is to Toll the highway. This idea was again pulled off the shelf and dusted off this past December. Brunswick County, NC commissioners have suggested that North Carolina build I-74 as a toll road to hasten construction. And although it is only a suggestion at this point, it made enough noise for leaders of communities that will be served by I-73 to go forth and plan to make a formal proposal to build I-73 as a Toll Road. This legislation will be introduced by State Representative Doug Jennings of Bennettsville. He hopes to bring it up to vote in the next legislative session so stay tuned.
Another possibility for funding that isn't mentioned yet is the State Infrastructure Bank. (I-73 may be ineligible for this funds though). Horry County is currently has an application in to receive $150 million in funds to build the next segment of the Conway Bypass. If I-73 is indeed eligible, this could be another source for funding the completion of the Interstate.
Carolina Bays Parkway:
As I just mentioned, Horry County is currently awaiting a decision on their application for $150 million in road funds from the State Infrastructure Bank. They face four proposals, one from SCDOT, another from Anderson County, and another from Charleston County. Origianlly all four were competing for $150 million but the state has recently announced if has $300 million available.
The SCDOT application is to widen a very dangerous and deadly two-lane stretch of US 17 in Beaufort and Colleton Counties. 34 people have died along a 22 mile stretch of road between Gardens Corner and Jacksonboro since 1997! The state wishes for a $90 million grant and a $48 million loan. They would also use $23 million in cash, $10 million from Congress, $2 million from Beaufort County and $200,000 each from Colleton County and the Low Country Council of Governments. (See article)
Anderson County has applied for $150 million to be used towards widening 22 miles of highway on three different roads for economic development.
Charleston County wishes for $720 million --obviously the Bank doesn't have this much -- $420 million would go towards extending I-526 to James Island. The other $300 million is for a road from I-26 to the Port of Charleston.
Horry County requests $150 million for building the Carolina Bays Parkway from SC 544 to SC 707 and widening SC 707 to five lanes from the Parkway to US 17.
Personally, I believe the SCDOT request will be granted in full and that most of all of Horry County's request will be granted. That will total -- if all the Horry County Money is granted -- $288 million the remaining $12 million will either remain or go to Anderson County. The Charleston County requests are for projects already being considered to be built by the state.
The decision should come sometime in February.
I decided against adding the Auto Trails list at this time because i do not have enough information to really start a page. Currently, I have leads on the Bankhead Highway, Black Bear, Boone, Bryan Geer, Dixie, and Jefferson Davis Trails. If you may know of any good leads for me to start with on these routes, please let me know!
Next is a few Georgia pictures that I will be adding from Steve Williams and JP Natsiatka then I will be working on North Carolina. I've gotten some new Ends photos since I posted in December.