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Showing posts from July, 2008

A detailed look at the Coalfields Expressway

Returning to the WVDOH maps I received on various projects. This time, a look at the Coalfields Expressway.

Recently, a small segment of the highway opened around Sophia earlier this year.

There are eight segments for the Coalfields Expressway (currently signed as WV 121), running from the Virginia State Line to the I-64/77 interchange south of Beckley.

Here's a look at them running South to North.

Segment 1 - Virginia State Line to Bradshaw (WV 80). Length - 7 miles:

The Coalfields Expressway will roughly follow existing WV 83 from the VA line to WV 80 in Bradshaw.

Segment 2 - Bradshaw (WV 80) to Welch (US 52) - Length - 14 miles:

This segment will parallel WV 83 to near the town of English. From that point, it will run parallel and to the west of WV 16 to US 52 a few miles west of Welch.

Segment 3 - Welch (US 52) to King Coal/Coalfields Interchange (Future I-73/74) - Length - 6 miles:

The Coalfields will run to Welch's west, and cross County Route 7 South and East of Capels. It wi…

Some Massachusetts Highway Photos

I took a trip north from North Carolina to Massachusetts for the Fourth. The route up, if you're curious was my 'land route' vs. a 'coastal route'. It is basically taking NC/VA 86 to US 29 north through central Virginia to US 17, then getting over to US 15 in MD and into PA. The rest of PA via I-83, I-81 and I-84. Then continuing on I-84 through NY and into CT then I-691, CT 66, CT 16, CT 2, I-395, and the CT turnpike stub to get to RI where it was US 6 East, I-295 North to MA getting on I-95 north to I-93/US 1 north.

Since there wasn't anything too new or interesting going up I saved my photos for new signs that had been put up along MA/Pilgrims Highway between Exits 11 and 20 since my last visit. The original signs from Exit 12 to 15 were ground mounted. The new ones are also except at the interchanges themselves where they've been replaced by cantilevered signs such as:the one above for Exit 12 MA 139. Some control cities on some of the signs has chan…

You can see me here...

Those of you who know me well know how I'd love to have this roadgeek/travel/photography hobby of mine become a possible job vs. a hobby. And to those of you that have heard me talk about this for years, I should buy lunch for putting up with me talk about it and various ideas over the years.

But anyways, another small item of being published happened this week, when I learned that a photo I took of Casa De Suenos on vacation last year in Albuquerque will be used in an online travel guide for Albuquerque. The online publication is called Schmap Albuquerque - Fifth Edition. The link goes directly to that page.

It's another extremely small start...but it's nice to have credited published online work outside of the website.

In other news, two weeks ago I was interviewed by the South Hills Record (Pittsburgh Suburban Weekly Paper) on Saw Mill Run Blvd. and PA 51. It hasn't been published yet, hopefully it will be soon.

Daytrip to Cape Lookout

Kristy and I went to Cape Lookout National Seashore and Beaufort on Sunday. It was a nice day trip. For me, it was the first time to Harkers Island and Cape Lookout even though I have been to the area numerous times. We both love the town of Beaufort so it was a fitting day.

For the entire flickr set (140 photos) - go here.

Cape Lookout National Seashore is awesome. We didn't have all the time in the world to spend there, but we spent enough to know we want to come back. There are numerous passenger ferries to various parts of the shore - Core Banks, Shakleford Banks, Portsmouth Island etc.

We took a passenger ferry over to the Core Banks and the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. It was about a fifteen minute ferry ride, and it cost $10 round trip. Most ferries you tell them what time you want picked up, and that's your return trip.

As I said the beach there is amazing. As is the light house - here are a few favorites:






The beach on the ocean side of the banks was amazing.



For the fall vacat…

Returning to NC - Featuring the Sideling Hill Cut on I-68 in Maryland

Our trip home last Sunday was along the I-95 corridor, a route I hadn't taken since 2004.

Route: PA 48, PA 51, US 40, PA 281, PA 523, US 40, I-68, US 522, VA 37, I-81, US 17, I-95, I-85, NC 56, NC 50.

This was the first time I took the I-68 - I-95 route to/from PA/NC since 2004. So in some ways a number of things changed - and some stayed the same.

First, by take a small detour loop on PA 281 and 523. I added new mileage along 281 and clinched PA 523.

All of the older signs on I-68 in Cumberland have been replaced and a few are now in Clearview.

The rebuilding of Noah's Ark by the God's Arc of Safety Church hasn't changed since 2004.

Oh well. If you want to learn more about this Interstate highway oddity, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a feature on the church and pastor in 2006.

We stopped at the Sideling Hill Exhibit Plaza and I finally was able to take good photos of the Sideling Hill Cut. (Amazing what having a real camera can do for you.)




I was actually surprised that…

Update on I-74 in NC

While I was away in New England (more on that in a later post), several developments occurred regarding I-74 in NC. I'll use this post to summarize them and provide links to those who want more information.
1. Significant progress in building the new I-74 Freeway in SE NC:
According to a source, all the bridges in the section that includes the I-95 interchange are complete. This eastern section is 92% complete as of mid-July according to NCDOT. The western section is basically complete with 99% done. I assume the remainder is line-striping and signage which may wait until the eastern section is ready so it can be done at the same time. There are some photos showing the progress on the bridges at the bottom of my I-74 Segment 16 page.

2. NCDOT's Revised Recommendations for Brunswick County Traffic Plan includes new route for I-74:
The county asked NCDOT to revise its earlier plan feeling it did not provide enough new or updated roads to handle the county's future traffic. The n…

A trip to Pennsylvania...featuring ARC Highway Corridor L

Kristy and I headed up to Pennsylvania this weekend, and this time we did stop and take photos.

The trip up was the usual. I-40, US 52, I-77, US 19, I-79 bit the only difference was I took I-79 to I-70 in Washington and over vs. I-68 and PA 43. The reason, it was 10 pm and I didn't want to be traveling two lane WV/PA 857 and parts of PA 51 at night.

For the photo set (including the trip home), here's the flickr link:

On the way, we did a few stops in West Virginia. The first stop was at the WV Vietnam Veterans Memorial off of I-77 Exit 9 on US 460.

The memorial is well stated with a fountain, benches, and the list of those that died from the area enclosed in a circular wall.


Most of the photos from the trip up were along US 19 and specifically ARC Corridor L. The hope is to incorporate the photos into a history page on the highway.

From the South, Corridor L begins at the West Virginia Turnpike at Exit 48. The guide signs read 'TO' US 19 as US 19 actually joins/leaves…

A detailed look at the King Coal Highway

A few weeks ago, I received a packet from the West Virginia Division of Highways. I had requested maps on their proposed routings for the King Coal, Coalfields, and Tolsia Highways. King Coal and Tolsia are designated to be a part of the fun and exciting I-73/74 project.

The reason why I requested these maps is that these three routes are widely discussed but no one (that I know of) really has any clue on what the routings of these three highways are to/or could be.

So let's take a closer look at the King Coal Highway (Future I-73/74):

WVDOH has broken down the route into segments similar to what they have done with Corridor H. In total, there are ten segments and two connector routes that are to be built for the King Coal.

I will be heading South to North starting at the US 52 interchange with US 460 (just west of I-77 exit 1) to US 119 near Belo and where US 119 intersects WV 65.

Segment 1: Bluefield (US 52/460) to Mercer County Airport (WV 123). Length 2.3 miles.

The status for t…

I-73 Route through Greensboro now 'Official'

Based on an article published on July 4, apparently NCDOT has officially come to the decision as to where I-73 is to be routed in Greensboro. I know what you're saying, but haven't they already decided on that based on the signage put up for the Urban Loop? Yes and no. Obviously the route using the Loop was decided upon, but what had not been officially agreed to was how I-73 was to get from the Loop to the NC 68-US 220 Connector.

According to a previous story that appeared on July 1, NCDOT was still deciding between the Bryan Blvd. route and a route that would take a path from the Connector directly to the Loop. The NCDOT official quoted in that story cited only problems for this last route, environmental and higher costs, that implied the Bryan Blvd. route, that coincidentally has appeared in NCDOT publications for the past 5 years, would be chosen. Now that it is officially official, I-73 North will take an upgraded Bryan Blvd. west from the Loop to NC 68. It will then follo…

Triangle Expressway to become a reality

Yes, really.

We mean it.

Honest.

They're going to build the Triangle Expressway after all.

"They", of course, is the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, and according to the budget passed today by the General Assembly, they're going to receive their long-awaited "gap funding" to bridge the, well, gap between the immediate construction costs and the eventual toll revenue.

Bruce Siceloff managed to read through the budget -- no small feat, indeed -- and pulled out the details of the four turnpikes that received gap funding.
* TriEx, 18 miles in Wake County and Research Triangle Park. Total cost: $967 million. Gap funding: $25 million each year, starting this year.

* Monroe Connector / Bypass, 21 miles in Union County. Cost: $757 million. Gap funding: $24 million/yr, starting FY 2009-10.

* Mid-Currituck Bridge, 7 miles over Currituck Sound. Cost: $636 million. Gap funding: $15 million/yr, starting FY 2009-10.

* Garden Parkway, 15 miles in Gaston and Mecklenburg countie…

News 14 Carolina Story on I-74/US 311 construction

News 14 Carolina recently ran a filler story on the ongoing construction of the latest segment of the I-74/US 311 freeway in and around High Point. Not much new to report from the story, other than a May 2011 completion date; however, the video does show some construction scenes - specifically of what will be the I-85/I-74 interchange.

Story & Video: News 14 Carolina
Our own Bob Malme's I-74 Progress Page - Segment 6

I-485 still on schedule to open in September...of this year...yes I said September of this year

Hey, I haven't blogged about I-485 in awhile. According to the contractor, Skanska USA, they're still on track for a late-September opening for the section of I-485 from NC 16 to NC 115 in Northern Mecklenburg County. Also part of the soon to be open section is the much anticipated interchange with I-77 near Huntersville.

When opened, the I-485 loop will be close to if not a little more than 75% completed. Looking for that final piece of the puzzle to open soon? Don't hold your breath, unless you are able to for another ten years.

So let this post be the beginning of the unofficial opening day pool for when the upcoming segment of I-485 will open. My call....October 12th. (make your prediction in the comments section)

I'll send the winner some maps or something like that.

Story: Charlotte Observer