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Showing posts from August, 2006

Minnesota Notes

The past three days I have been in Northern Minnesota for work.

I spent the past the time in the Duluth and Two Harbors area. I flew in Tuesday and out early (6 am local) on Thursday. Here are just a couple of thoughts and reviews.

Airports:

Albany Int'l: The airport keeps changing and improving. The last time I flew out of Albany was in May and they were expanding the security area and also adding a few shops/restaurants in the main concourse area. The project is done now as there are now six - compared to the prior three - security lines. (Although you never had more than a 15 minute wait.) There are new places to eat (a coffee beanery and an pizza company) and a more wide open concourse area. There is also now a small coffee shop in the C concourse (only three gates) where there had nothing in the past. More options the better!

Parking, since I got to the airport at 5:30 i was able to get a very good space in the economy lot but that lot continues to expand as their is now…

Sign Error may delay I-485's opening in Charlotte

Hard to belive that I have yet to do any commentary on my second home of North Carolina and their transport issues until today.

From today's Charlotte Observer:

The opening of a little over two miles of I-485 in Northwest Mecklenburg County may be delayed because the steel structures that support overhead signs have yet to be constructed. The structures, which the overall design was approved by the state in May, are now being delayed by the steel fabricator who wants an additional $86,000 on top of the $242,000 budgetted by the state for them.

The delay could last anywhere from two weeks to three months, and no solution has been determined.

Commentary:

It looks like a game of "Not My Fault/Not My Job" is going on between NCDOT and McWhirther Grading. John Parker, who is the NCDOT engineer overseeing the I-485 project, claims that the state approved the designs in May, and the DOT did their part. Ken Stayley with McWhirther says that the state did not provide the specs fo…

Albany Times-Union takes a look at the I-88 Collapse

In this past Sunday's (August 20) Albany Times-Union ran a series of three articles covering the I-88 culvert collapse on June 28.

Rebuilding in the Face of Tragedy - Covers the efforts of the emergency repair team that has worked non-stop since July 2nd to repair the culvert, cover with fill, and pave the highway. They hope to have the westbound lanes reopened by Labor Day.

Truckers' deaths on I-88 still resonate - Tells the story of David Swingle's and Patrick O'Connell's fateful ride the morning of June 28.

Traffic's return to old main drag is hardly a boon - Features businesses and residents along the detour route (NY 7). Some are seeing an increase in business while most are not.

Commentary:

Great work in all three articles in looking at the effects of the collapse from multiple story angles. First, the repairs. The culvert that collapsed was 33 years old, it received a 5 of 7 rating in 2004 and "Inspectors reported "corrosion with minor to modera…

I-88 should reopen by mid-September and other news

NYSDOT officials expect a mid-September completion on the emergency replacement of a culvert that washed out during the floods in late-June. Two truck drivers, David Swingle of Waverly, NY and Patrick L. O'Connell of Lisbon, ME, were killed when the culvert and I-88 collapsed beneath them. Repair crews began work on July 2nd and teams in two shifts have worked 24/7 on the emergency project. The scheduled re-opening of I-88 is tentative based on future weather conditions. [WSTM]

Ironically this past June, a contract for reinforcement and repairs to the soon to be washed out culvert was let. The award was granted only a few weeks befort the flood and collapse of the culvert. The repair project would have begun this summer. [WBNG-TV]

Also, a slight increase in wrecks, about one extra every other day, has occurred in the area (on NY 7 & 8) as a result of the I-88 detour route. Most are minor fender benders. [Oneonta Daily Star]

PennDot opens bids on completing I-79/Parkway West Interchange

....thirty years later.

PennDot opened bidding on the construction of two "missing" ramps at the I-79/Parkway West (I-279/US 22/30) interchange (Exits 59A-B) in suburban Pittsburgh. I say "missing" because these ramps were not planned for in the original construction of the highway in the 1970s. The missing ramps are from I-79 South to US 22/30 West and US 22/30 East to I-79 North. Construction should start this fall and the ramps should open in 2009.

When the interchange was constructed in the early 1970s, I-79 actually was planned to actually take the ramp from I-79 onto the inbound Parkway West (I-279 North). I-279 would continue straight on what is now I-79 North today. But that changed when I-79 and 279 switched alignments in 1972. Anyways, the thinking at the time was that connections from I-79 South to the Airport and from the Airport to I-79 North could be done via PA 60 -- then a rural two lane road -- and connecting at what is now Exit 60. The hope…

Findlay Connector (PA TPK 576) open house set for October 7th.

Well good news, the PTC annouced that they will have an open house for the soon to be opened PA TPK 576 on October 7th. It's your only legal chance to bike, hike, blade, picnic, etc. on the six mile toll road.

Here's an article with a great photo in the Post-Gazette.

Also, a note at the end of the story explains that Mashuda Corp., who was contracted to build the middle segment of the connector, picked up the work for the troubled Smith & Johnson, who defaulted in February.

The delay in the southern portion was largely because of problems encountered by the original contractor, Smith & Johnson Construction, of Columbus, Ohio. It eventually was declared in default by the turnpike commission in February, and its bonding company hired Mashuda Corp., of Cranberry, the contractor for the middle portion of the job, to do the southern third as well.

WV eyes 2011 for completion of Mon-Fayette Expressway

Forward momentum is starting to gain on the West Virginia segment of the Mon-Fayette Expressway. Last month, a wetlands mitigation project was let and soon(within a month) a local road project relating to the expressway will be let. The Morgan's Run Bridge, costing between $16 and $18 million, should be let for bidding in the next six to eight months.Currently, two miles of highway - that includes one bridge - has been finished by WVDOT. The state currently sees 2011 as a target completion date with the interchange with I-68 being the largest and most expensive part of the project. Bids have yet to be awarded for that part of the highway. The WV portion of the highway will be toll free.

Article: Uniontown Herald-Standard

Commentary:

Some forward momentum on this project is good news overall. Although 2011 seems like forever from now, it was just six years ago when PA/WV 43 consisted of two segments totaling just over 10 miles. (Thanks to a recently opened segment sout…