Skip to main content

Freeway Signing in Greensboro: The Saga Continues

Today's Raleigh N&O's Road Worrier column is devoted to driver confusion caused by the re-signing along Greensboro freeways due to I-40 being put back on its old alignment:

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1660986.html

In the article an NCDOT traffic engineer, Kelvin Jordan, admits the I-40 East interchange with I-73 on the west side of town is confusing with those needing to stay on I-40 having to exit the main highway. However, since the interchange was designed when I-40 was to use the Loop, it's understandable. He also says that NCDOT is considering removing the Business 85 designation through Greensboro in the future as well. From the article:

"Getting through Greensboro will be easier now, Jordan said, with just one I-40 and no Business 40.

But DOT may never finish trying to untangle Greensboro's Urban Loop.

There are more plans to simplify markers at the three main approaches to the city. And there's still the confusion of two freeways called 85. DOT could decide one day to get rid of Business 85, too.

'I won't say that change won't come at some point," Jordan said. "That is something we will look at, but it won't be changed in the next year or two.'"

See the URL for the entire article.

Commentary
I was interviewed for the piece and suggested they should have given Business 85 perhaps a 3di number, in the first place since having two highways with the same number, is naturally confusing. I guess I wasn't confused enough as a driver to be quoted for the article, however.

Business 85 was conceived when I-85 and I-40 were to use the Loop, leaving the freeway east of Death Valley with no designation. With the I-40 re-routing this is no longer the case and only adds another route between the US 29 and I-40 interchanges which, even with the rerouting of US 421 is still also I-40, US 29, US 70 and US 220. South of the I-40 split the Business 85 route does have other designations, US 29/70, for the three miles or so back to I-85.

The questions I would ask are: if an NCDOT traffic engineer is mentioning removing Business 85 sometime in the future, why was this not thought of, or thought of and not done, at the same time they were (I guess they still are) re-signing the original I-40 route? Isn't the new NCDOT supposed to be more efficient and cost sensitive?

My solution would try to solve two problems with one new route number and possibly provide NCDOT with additional money in the process. The 2 biggest with how the highways are signed now are that people are supposedly confused due to the two 85 routes, and drivers are also confused about how to get to US 220 South (Future I-73) from I-85 North. You can't get there on the I-85 Loop but have to exit onto Business 85 travel a mile or so north and then take the US 220 South exit. I would remove the Business 85 designation completely through Greensboro, I would then replace it south of US 220 with a new 3di, I-273 (To I-73, too obvious?) which would travel with US 29/70 to the US 220 exit and then back south on US 220 to the Loop and I-73. NCDOT could then claim interstate maintenance money for the route like they did by putting I-40 on its original alignment. As to the argument that the route is not up to modern interstate standards, so are parts of I-40 through Death Valley, yet the FHWA let NCDOT move I-40 back anyway. The Business 85 part was also marked as I-85 for decades.

Trying to figure out why NCDOT does the things it does is sometimes frustrating, but it always makes life interesting for those interested in roads in North Carolina.

Comments

Anonymous said…
They should have signed it I-685 for the business 85 in Greensboro. Since it is a loop and it will make the road more qualifying for federal money.

The sign heading to Greensboro from I-85 should read "I-685 North, US 29 North, US 70 East (TO US 220 South/I-73 South)

BUT the one thing of all.. they should have signed I-73 along US 220 anyways (even if some stretch is not interstate standards)
Bob Malme said…
Looks like there's some progress on completing the signage work. I-73/US 421 in both directions was closed during the midday hours today for what was described as sign installation. This may mean the last I-40/I-73 sign on the SW portion of the Loop has been updated.

Also in looking at the traffic cameras on the I-85 portion, I believe that one of the former green signs that had both I-40 and I-85 on it, now just has a centered I-85. I guess they decided not to waste the signage already up there by replacing it with a stand alone I-85 shield on a signpost.
Bob Malme said…
The I-73 closings were lanes near Wendover Avenue. The I-85 sign was heading southbound on the portion north of the US 421 interchange.

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 88 the Carson Pass Highway

Between 2016 and 2017 I drove the majority of California State Route 88 from CA 99 in Stockton east over Carson Pass to CA 89.






CA 88 is a 122 mile state highway from CA 99 in Stockton east over the Sierra Nevada Range to the continuation route Nevada State Route 88 at the Nevada State Line.  CA 88 is known as the Carson Pass Highway.  Carson Pass at 8,574 feet above sea level along CA 88 is an all-year Mountain Pass in the Sierras and on occasion designated as Temporary US Route 50 when conditions are bad over Echo Summit. 

CA 88 was not one of the original Signed State Highways.  CA 8 was the original designation over Carson Pass which can be seen on the 1938 California State Highway Map.

1938 State Highway Map

CA 8 was substantially different than CA 88 west of Jackson as it largely follows the current route of CA 26.  From US 99E in 1934 and later US 50/99 in 1936 from Stockton CA 8 originally used the following route to reach Jackson:

-  Legislative Route 5 from US 99 in Stockton …

California State Route 49; The Golden Chain Highway (CA 41 north to CA 16)

Last year I traveled California State Route 49 from CA 16 north to CA 89 in one continuous trip.  The prior two years I traveled the rest of CA 49 south to CA 41 in Oakhurst.  This blog post consists of photos of the highway from that time period and historical information about the southern part of CA 49.






This blog post is meant to be a continuation of the previous one I did regarding CA 49 from CA 16 north to CA 89.  A link to said blog post can be found below:

California State Route 49; The Golden Chain Highway (CA 16 north to CA 89)

As stated in the previous blog post; CA 49 is an approximately 295 mile long north/south highway which traverses the traditional Gold Rush Country of California.  While I intend to discuss county level historical alignments of CA 49 as I did in the first blog post I thought this would be a good place to discuss the backstory of highway.

CA 49 was first signed in 1934 along a series of Legislative Route Numbers ("LRN") that were largely located…

Caliente-Bodfish Road/Kern County Road 483

Back in 2016 I took Caliente-Bodfish Road south towards California State Route 58 while leaving the Sierra Nevada Range after looking for the town site of Old Kernville.






Caliente-Bodfish Road is also known as Kern County Road 483 which I believe is an internal designation for mountainous roadways within the Sierra Nevada Range.  Caliente-Bodfish Road begins at Kern Canyon Road (Old California State Route 178) at the southern extent of Bodfish and climbs over the southern most extent of the Sierra Nevada Range approximately 35 miles to Bena Road near Caliente.  Caliente-Bodfish Road is a full two-lane road despite traversing some narrow terrain in the Sierras.  The high point on Caliente-Bodfish Road appeared to be near 4,000 feet above sea-level and I would estimate that there grades as high as 10% in places.

South of Bodfish Caliente-Bodfish Road ascends quickly above the community on a series of switchbacks.  There is no official overlook but there is a hell of a view of Bodfish an…