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Showing posts from May, 2008

Work to Start on US 70 Goldsboro Bypass in Fall

With work on one new US 70 Bypass (Clayton) almost over, constructing another one is set to begin. The US 70 Bypass of Goldsboro (or in actuality a bypass of an existing bypass) is set to begin in the fall. Residents got to make comments last Thursday (5/22) at a forum sponsored by the U.S. 70 Corridor Commission which aims to improve the route from I-95 to the coast. The Bypass will be built in 4 phases, only the one to begin this fall running from I-795 (or maybe I-795/US 117) to Wayne Memorial Drive and costing $234 million is funded. The remaining 3 projects are unfunded and will start sometime after 2015.

Story: Goldsboro News-Argus

Commentary: Well, it appears building this bypass will certainly take longer than the US 70 Clayton Bypass. Hopefully this one will have more control over development than that of its predecessor preventing the building of yet another bypass in 10-20 years. What do you think the designations will be when the entire route is finished? Will Business 70 g…

Carolina Bays Parkway Extension sees alignment shift

Earlier in the month, I blogged about the possibility of part of the final segment of the Carolina Bays Parkway being shifted away from a subdivision.

Well last week after a public meeting, SCDOT decided to shift the highway and the interchange at its terminus at SC 707 1,500 hundred feet to the north. The change will spare numerous homes at The Meadows subdivision along with a few businesses. The move will actually trim $5 million in right-of-way purchases from the cost of the $235 million project.

In addition to the cost savings with the new routing, SCDOT is looking at changing the design of the Parkway's bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway and possibly having Enterprise Road cross over the highway than underneath it.

Despite the possible $20 million in savings, SCDOT is holding firm to the $235 million project cost estimate because of inflation and the rising costs of materials.

The 4.2 mile extension of the Carolina Bays Parkway, signed as SC 31, should see construction beg…

Zigzagging through Eastern NC

Took one more weekend trip today. This time it was all over Northeastern NC. The main purpose was to get photos of some of the missing NC Highway Ends.

Route: I-540, US 264, US 264A, NC 581, US 64A, US 64 Business, US 64, I-95, NC 43, NC 48, NC 481, NC 561, US 258, NC/VA 35, VA/NC 186, US 301, NC 48, NC/VA 48, Va. Secondary 611 and 659, US 58, VA 4, US Bike 1.

Whew.

Accomplishments: Clinched NC 481. Added miles to: NC 43, NC 4, NC 48, NC 581, NC 561, US 258, NC/VA 35, NC/VA 46.

Notes:

Over 50 photos on the trip. Of course, head over to flickr, if you want to see 'em all!

At the crossroads of Glenview, which is the Western Terminus of NC 481, is this old abandoned B.M. Sykes General Merchandise store.

A few years ago, a short NC 481 bypass was built to the south of Enfield. The reason was to bypass the heavily traveled train crossing through the center of town. Well, here's proof of why.

At NC 481's East end in Tillery was a great former gas station.


Who would've thunk tha…

Tolls Along Boston's Interstate 93

Tolls along I-93 in Boston? It could happen, as one top transportation official in the administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has hinted that the concept is worth investigating. Officials are considering the idea of tolling I-93 as a means to reduce congestion, but a formal study would be conducted first before any decision is made.

There are a number of other options on the table as well, 37 options in fact. Among the options that are also being considered are raising tolls on Interstate 90, reducing discounts for those who carpool and bringing back the toll barrier along I-90 in West Newton.

Among the options being considered if I-93 were to be tolled would be converting a carpool lane to a tolled express lane, or installing sensors that would read license plate numbers, and send a bill for the tolls owed. That is similar to the ETR 407 in Toronto. The Federal Highway Administration has stated that they do not prefer tolling plans that would tie up traffic.

Read …

Big Dig Telecommunications Ducts Go Unused

In keeping with this morning's theme of cellular technology and highways. This latest news comes to us from the Hub of the Universe - Boston, Massachusetts, and a series of ducts that were constructed when the Big Dig was built. When the Big Dig was constructed, designers had drawn plans for a duct system that was meant for telecomminications wiring for cell phone technology and any other future technologies that come about. This cost about $13.9 million dollars. However, the ducts have gone unused, as cell phone companies are finding it cheaper to resort to other measures.

Read the article...
Big Dig's $13.9m ducts go unused - Boston Globe / Boston.com

Cell Service Increasing in the Adirondacks

Today's Albany Times Union had an article about increased cell phone coverage within the Adirondack Park. More cell phone towers are popping up within the population centers of the Adirondacks as the technology becomes increasingly common. However, while four cell phone towers along the I-87 Northway have been approved by the Adirondack Park Agency, the cell towers have not been built yet. Those plans should be coming along later in the year.

Read the article...
You can 'hear me now' way up north - Albany (N.Y.) Times Union

Memorial Day Weekend Roadtip into Central Virginia

Gas prices be damned...I went on a roadtrip yesterday.

Route: NC 50, I-85, US 15, NC/VA 96, US 501, VA 129, US 501, US 60, I-81, VA 232, US 11, VA 8, US 58, NC 86, US 158, US 15, NC 50.

Accomplishments: Clinched the Independent Cities of Buena Vista and Radford. Cliched VA 129, 262, and finished VA 8. Completed US 501 in VA and I-81 within Virginia along with adding miles to US 58, US 60 and US 11 within Virginia.

Notes:

Of course for the entire photo set on flickr, go here.

On NC 96 prior to Virgilina was this great remnant of an old highway store.


I did a quick jaunt on the very short VA 349 in Halifax. It is signed when you turn on it off of US 501 and pretty much has no real purpose.

It appears that in the past few years US 501 was slightly realigned in Volens at Secondary Route 603. The old alignment is now a Frontage Road (See below) and also is considered a 'Weight-Turn' out.

I stopped to take photos of the town of Brookneal.



Followed US 501's crazy course through…

NCDOT Meets with Residents about Greensboro Urban Loop Noise

Don't expect a lot of "Kumbaya" moments during tonight's public meetingabout traffic noise and the city's western loop.

Some residents along the 7.5-mile route are hoping a recent review by the state Department of Transportation will result in more noise walls being built between their neighborhoods and the new interstate bypass.

The article goes on to say its doubtful NCDOT will provide more noise walls for residents bordering the new leg of the Greensboro Urban Loop (I-40/I-73). They say legally they are not responsible for providing sound walls for people who built houses after the project was announced back in 1996. Some residents cry foul saying either NCDOT was not honest about constructing the road, calling it Painter Blvd. which implied to some a 4-lane surface roadway not a 6-8 lane freeway. Others suggest the noise analysis done for the road was flawed either due to bad design or an undercount of potential traffic, particularly trucks, using the road. NCD…

Plans for Peace Bridge Staggering Over New Concerns

Those terns I mentioned a few weeks may have been a laughable concern at best, as other issues seem to loom over the upcoming Peace Bridge construction. More common concerns in regards to the truck plaza at customs that would be greeting Buffalo-bound commercial traffic would also mean the removal of a number of homes in the nearby Columbus Parkway neighborhood.

Over time, there was discussion on how to accomplish the task of expanding the customs station for commercial vehicles. I recall that at one time, there was a proposal to have the U.S. customs station on the Fort Erie side of the bridge, as there is more space to work with on the Ontario bank of the Niagara River than in Buffalo.

Instead, the consensus seems to be that removing a number of residences, a number of them historic, is the way to go.

http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/ontarioniagara/story/346343.html

Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to undergo unplanned repairs

This story could push the discussion of getting the 'gap funding' for the Cape Fear Skyway approved along though the next few months.

A recent inspection of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge that carries US 76/421
and 7 Business over the Cape Fear River in Wilmington exposed cracks in the
bridge's infrastructure. The cracks are in need of repair but NCDOT
officials say drivers shouldn't be worried.
The bridge will see one lane shutdowns beginning May 27th - Monday through
Thursday. From 10 pm through 6 am - Monday through Thursday - the bridge
will be shut down altogether.
The bridge will remain open during the weekends for beach traffic. NCDOT
plan on the repairs to be completed in their entirety this fall.

Story: WWAY-TV
HT: Joe Babyak

Leland town council opposes Wilmington Bypass tolls

Last Thursday the Leland Town Council unanimously passed a resolution voicing their disapproval on any tolls of the yet to be completed Wilmington (Interstate 140) Bypass.

Recently, the NCTA has presented a plan that would include tolling parts of the yet to be constructed I-140 Wilmington Bypass to help pay for both the remaining piece of the bypass (Cost: $550 million) and the $1 billion Cape Fear Skyway. The NCTA also says that the toll projects would allow both the bypass and the Skyway to be completed sooner rather than later.

And that's what the Leland town council objects to. The tolling of the remaining unbuilt sections of I-140 in addition to the Skyway.

Currently, construction for extending I-140 from US 421 to US 74/76 near Leland is scheduled to begin in 2012.

The Leland Town Manager, Bill Farris, indicated that he would send the passed resolution to other Brunswick County municipalities so they can sign on to opposing the tolls if so desired.

Story: Wilmington Star-New…

Photo of the Day Preview

Here's a preview of a new blog feature that I am trying to start, whether it is here on Sure, Why Not?, or if it is spun off on another blog. It's a daily photo feature, basically showcasing various photos from my collection. I've checked out some blogs that have Daily Photo features, and I think this may be a good area to present photos that you may have not seen before.

To start things off, here is a photo of the Robert Moses Causeway bridge that connects Captree Island with Fire Island over the Great South Bay. This photo, from near my native Long Island, was taken on August 2006.

New York State Route 22 Truncated?

Based on recent personal observations, it appears that NY 22's north end has been moved from the Quebec border at QC 219 and is now at US 11 in Mooers (pronounced "Moores"). Any remnants of NYSDOT signage has been removed between US 11 and QC 219, except for a bold button copy sign that greets you southbound just before the U.S. Customs station. There is also end signage on NY 22 northbound at US 11, I am told. However, there is nothing that shows this on the NYSDOT website. If anyone has more evidence of this, please respond.

Interstate 40 Knoxville, TN SmartFIX40 Construction Photos & Video

The SmartFIX40 project in Knoxville is underway and is noteworthy because the project closes Interstate 40 through downtown Knoxville for approximately 14 months. The I-40 shutdown began not that long ago on May 1st and last through June 2009. TDOT is rebuilding from the ground up I-40 from James White Parkway (Exit 388) to Hall of Fame Drive (Exit 389).

TDOT says that the 14 month total closure will save two to three years in construction time vs. traditional piecemeal methods.

During the closure, this segment of I-40 will be widened to six through lanes and four auxiliary lanes. In addition to interstate improvements, work will include the construction of nine bridges, 14 retaining walls and three noise walls. Additionally, two existing bridges will be demolished, 12 side roads will be completed and seven new ramps will be constructed.Through traffic on I-40 heading in both the eastbound and westbound direction will be detoured onto I-640 (the northern bypass arc of Knoxville.) Lo…

Raleigh TV Station Criticizes NCDOT

WRAL TV has completed an investigation into the possible spending of millions of dollars by NCDOT on a consultant report that may not have been needed.

Riddled by delayed and botched road projects and criticized for its inefficiency, the North Carolina Department of Transportation paid millions of dollars for a report last year that offered some of the same recommendations it got at no cost nearly a year earlier.

That's according to Kathryn Sawyer, executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina.

In May 2006, the member organization paid to bring experts and transportation department officials from Florida, Missouri and Virginia -states that lead the nation in transportation project management - to find ways to help North Carolina become more efficient and successful when it comes to finishing projects on time....

Among the think tank's findings were needs to improve productivity, use key performance indicators and increase acc…

Snowmobile Route Signage in Quebec

Recently, I took a trip around Quebec, visiting rural landscapes, small towns and cosmopolitan cities alike. One thing that I stumbled across, in a couple of instances, was Quebec's snowmobile trail system. The Quebec Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (FCMQ), who represents that snowmobile clubs in Quebec, has set up an extensive trail system for snowmobiles around the province that appears to be loosely based on the highway system in Quebec. There are Trans-Quebec trails, which tend to be longer, and regional trails which are just within a smaller area, but just as fun. The signage appears to be on par with highway signage as well. The various member clubs maintain the trails for the most part, with the Ministry of Transportation Quebec (MTQ) helping with maintenance where necessary. Here is an example of the signage I saw near Sherbrooke in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec.

A Carolinas Road Meet Preview

Bob Malme and I did a brief road trip today to scout for the upcoming Carolinas Road Meet on Saturday, May 31.

The meet will be featuring a tour of the soon to be completed US 70 Clayton Bypass. The bypass will carry US 70 around one of the more congested areas of the triangle, the town of Clayton. It will run from Interstate 40 at milemarker 310 to the current US 70/US 70 Business split west of Smithfield and Selma. Besides the two interchanges at the bypass' terminal points (I-40 and US 70 Business) there will also be diamond interchanges with NC 42 and Ranch Road.

The meet will be held at the Cleveland Draft House on NC 42 in Garner at 12:30 PM on Saturday, May 31st. The group will meet up for lunch and then head on a tour of the Clayton Bypass and perhaps a few other items. We should be done around 3:30-4 pm.

If you are interested in going to the meet, just send me an e-mail.

Since I usually never get around to taking photos the day of the meet, here are some photos from the …