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Showing posts from November, 2009

NCDOT and Skanska still battling over I-485

Remember all the drama between NCDOT and Skanska USA on various issues and delays over the last stretch of Interstate 485 to open I enjoyed blogging about over the years? Well, that chapter in the I-485 story isn't finished yet.

This time the issue is over installing the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) over the new five miles of highway. ITS syncs traffic cameras, electronic message boards, and other sensors together to report live traffic information to motorists.

But wait! There's more...since the project isn't officially completed in NCDOT's view. The highway was to be completed on March 15, 2007. Now it's over 980 days later...and with an agreed upon $10,000 per day late fee. That's just under $10 million owed!!!! Hey who needs to rename a bridge to get highway money - just collect on late fees!

So far it appears that the state has collected on $1.8 million of the fees.

Skanska is fighting back saying NCDOT added additional responsibilities and …

Wilmington Chamber supports tolls on I-140 to build Cape Fear Skyway

Tolls on the newly opened and free of charge Interstate 140 in Wilmington? The Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce likes the idea. Why do they like the idea, because it will assist in paying for the construction of the proposed toll project the Cape Fear Skyway.

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority has floated tolling I-140 as a possible funding source for the Skyway project. But adding tolls to an existing free interstate isn't easy. In order for tolls on I-140 to happen, it would have to be approved by the FHWA and Congress in addition to the NC legislature that must approve all toll projects.

I really don't see this happening, and the Wilmington Chamber is supporting a trial balloon that will have extreme difficulty getting off the ground.

Story:

Chamber backs toll for bypass to fund Skyway ---Wilmington Star-News

Gov. Perdue's BRILLIANT! new Yadkin River Bridge Idea

...and the idea: Rename the bridge.

In the never ending search for every highway dollar she can find, NC Governor Beverly Perdue is renaming the Yadkin River Bridge on Interstate 85, the Interstate 85 bridge. Why? So it stresses the regional importance of the aging structure.

So I guess the name change will put NC's bid for $300 million in stimulus/TIGER funds to build a new bridge over the top.

No word if Governor Perdue came up with this idea after a few pints of Guiness.

Story Links:
New effort to replace Yadkin River Bridge includes 'rebranding' ---WBTV
When is the Yadkin River Bridge not a bridge? ---The Meck Deck

Mid Hudson Walkabout!

Today was a fine fall day, and I really didn't feel like staying in and rotting while the sun was shining, but I had no cash. But I has feets, and there's interesting stuff within reasonable walking distance.

Here's a snap of the southern end of the recently completed Vineyard Ave overpass works on US 9W in Highland. The sign in the midground is brand new. Can you spot the Boo-Boo, Yogi?


Today was rather unique in that I finally decided to deal with one of my phobias. I have a thing about heights in general, and walking across suspension bridges in particular. In the seven years I've lived here, I've never crossed the Mid-Hudson Bridge on foot. Today I decided I was gonna man up and tackle this puppy.

This is a monument to two locals killed in Vietnam north of the foot of the bridge:

Here's the Ulster/Dutchess county line in the middle of the bridge.

A slightly dodgy US 9 advance sign...

And everybody's favourite: Button Copy! This sign has gotta be at least 35-…

NCTA reveals finalized route for Garden Parkway

Earlier this month, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority announced their preferred alternative for the controversial Garden Parkway. The northern route or 'Alternative 9' has been chosen as the recommended route for the future toll road.

Next steps for the Garden Parkway is the completion of a Final Environmental Impact Statement in the coming spring. The NCTA received heavy scrutinization from the Environmental Protection Agency and local citizens groups when a Draft EIS was released earlier this year.

Rumors of changes in the route - from elimination of interchanges, reduction of lanes, and building the entire route vs. piecemeal construction - were not revealed.

Story Links:
State locks in on official route for proposed toll road ---Gaston Gazette

VDOT prefers current planned route for I-73 vs. Henry County alternative

Earlier this month, VDOT officially supported the current FHWA approved route for I-73 through Henry County vs. a recently completed study alternate route proposed by the Henry County Board of Supervisors. VDOT has suggested to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) that the alternate route not be studied further.

The CTB has not made a decision on whether or not they will consider the alternate route for futher study.

VDOT's biggest concerns is that the alternate route costs more. But their biggest concern is that any further study of the route could delay and ultimately jeopardize the project. The current approved route for I-73 was cleared by the FHWA in 2004. However, the Henry County Board of Supervisors wants the route closer to Martinsville. They see I-73 as a key to reviving the local economy and that the current planned route is too far from Martinsville to make a positive impact.

VDOT also is concerned that if I-73 gets changed in Henry County, Franklin and Roanok…

I-485 financing plan - already a mess

It didn't take long for doubts to start creeping in on Governor Beverly Perdue's design-build-finance plan for completing Interstate 485.

Two weeks after the announcement of the plan, NC Treasurer Janet Cowell's office issued a statement expressing concern on how the plan is financed. A spokesperson for Cowell's office said, "In the absence of contracts specifying terms and conditions of the 485 project, we are unable to determine if there are issues or concerns."

Perdue's office immediately responded with a statement of their own, "Prior to announcing the plan, we worked with the[Attorney General Roy Cooper's] office as we developed the design-build-finance program for completing I-485. During this process, the Attorney General's office indicated that our plan was legal."

Then throw in that the DOT thought that the Treasurer's office was already on board with the plan. Jim Trogdon, the DOT's chief operating officer, said that a…

Let's just renumber EVERYTHING(No one will notice anyway)!

I've lived in New York about 10 years now, and let me tell you, some of the Metro NYC interstate numbers really bug me. Actually that predates my living here, but now that I live here I have the cred to whine about it.

Take Interstate 278 for example. Now, if things had gone according to plan it would have made sense. It would have been sort of an alternate to the wackiness that would have been NY Interstate 78, which would have been twitchier than a gecko's freshly shed tail. Now, however, it's high and dry-literally-in no wise coming within 5 miles of it's alleged parent. What it does do is link into the existing IH 95 at both ends. Since there's rumours that the silly Sheridan Expressway is gonna be cashiered anyway, why not take the IH 895 number and put it on the current IH 278? Nobody will really care, since the freeways that comprise the IH 278 aren't associated with the number anyway: Ask any New Yorker what the number for the Staten Island, Gowanus, BQE…

Manassas National Battlefield Park

Prior to the DC Road Meet, I spent some time at Manassas National Battlefield Park. This was my second visit to the park, and it was my first since October 2001. On that trip, the photos I took with a $30 camera was ruined by a piece of film lodged inside. Since then, I had been wanting to get back to some of the sights on that trip to retake photos and enjoy everything again.

I only had about 90 minutes to two hours before I needed to get to the meet site, so I didn't see everything I wanted to, but I can always come back.

The National Park Service recommends that if you do not have a lot of time to spend to take a hike on roughly mile long Henry Hill loop. So that is part of what I did. The Henry Hill loop highlights the First Battle of Manassas and some of the key figures, events, and locations in that battle.

For the entire set on flick (even a few signs), head here.



A view of the Henry House. Judith Henry, who lived here, was the first civilian casualty of the war. She w…

Fall 2009 DC Roadmeet

Last weekend, Adam Froehlig hosted the first Washington DC roadmeet. So I decided to head up and attend the meet and visit family at the same time.

For the entire meet set - head here.

There's a lot going on in the Metro DC area - and the first part of the meet took a look at the recently completed Woodrow Wilson Bridge. We took a brief walk across the newly opened pedestrian and bikeway. The views of the traffic and upstream on the Potomac are impressive.



The beginning of the walkway on the Alexandria, VA side.



The US Capitol viewed from the bridge.



Washington Monument



Sailboats were out



A look at the inner loop's newly opened local lanes.

We did a driving tour of the Springfield (I-95/I-395/I-495) Interchange construction's final phase - HOV lane connections and of the construction of the missing piece of the Fairfax County Parkway. I was driving - and I didn't take any photos of that.

Next, was a driving tour of the 495 HOT (High Occupancy Toll) construction with a stop …

Road Photos on Flickr

Some of you may have noticed that I have been uploading a large number of road photos onto my Flickr account at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/ recently. I've decided to do this because I want to get all my photos online, and I find Flickr to be more manageable for this this project than the photo gallery applications offers with the Gribblenation web hosting package. I do plan greater interoperability between Flickr and my Gribblenation pages in the future, but until then, enjoy these photos that I've recently added...

Oregon
Ontario
Ohio
Quebec
Tennessee
Washington, D.C.
Maine

More I-376 signing updates

Denny Pine sends in some more I-376 signage near the Pittsburgh Airport. As you will be able to see from the photos below, PENNDOT is slowly transitioning PA 60 (north of US 22/30) to I-376. Dual signage exists and directional banners are not included.



Or...the EAST and WEST signs haven't come in yet.

PA 60 officially truncated

As a result of the extension of Interstate 376, PA 60 has been truncated. It now ends at I-376/US 22/30 in Robinson Township. PENNDOT has recently put up signage marking the new end of PA 60. Jason Reighard was kind enough send along photos of the recently signed new end.


However, the I-376 extension has yet to be signed on this section of the Parkway.

Walkway Over The Hudson

It's a bit late, but I thought I'd post it anyway.

A few of us got together on 3rd October 2009 to check out the rehabilitated Poughkeepsie Railway bridge over the Hudson River. This is a wonderful new attraction that is well worth the visit. You can walk across the longest pedestrian bridge in the world and see some fairly nice scenery-like the Mid-Hudson bridge, here, or you can just lollygag and enjoy the day.

Being an ECHM meet, there were some preliminaries. Smilin' John OI! Krakoff, Doug Kerr, and Steve Alpert came over the night before for BEER! Sleep, and to have a look at some of my interesting road-related items.

The next day, there was a pre-meet where we had a look around Rosendale and found our way out onto the New York Central Trestle over the Rondout Creek , as well as exploring the mystery of Ulster County Highway 25-which has a significant number of State-installed signs, as well as Perrines Covered bridge, and a used-to-be street in Kingston.

Then it w…

The Laurinburg-Maxton Bypass, The Once and Future I-74

I went down to Laurinburg today (11/15) to check out the news I heard earlier in the week. First, for those not subscribed to SERoads, a recap. I sent an e-mail to a reporter for the Laurinburg Exchange in response to a quote by the city's mayor in an article of his about the appointment of a new member for their NCDOT district on the NC Board of Transportation. The mayor said one of the new members priorities should be making US 74, I-74. My question was why was the mayor making this comment when the Laurinburg and Maxton Bypasses have been signed I-74 since the fall of 2007? His response was that NCDOT took down all the I-74 shields along the route in Maxton and Laurinburg a few months ago because the freeways were not up to interstate standards. I too a quick roadtrip down to confirm this and take some updated photos for my website.

Did NCDOT take down all references to I-74 in Laurinburg and Maxton? Most of them, but not all. First of all they did not do anything to the overhe…

I-81 repairs take longer than expected - cause long delays

The Interstate 81 repairs and temporary closure at Exit 23 in Eastern Tennessee took about two and a half hours longer than expected today. The delay caused lengthy backups on northbound I-81 from about 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.

The construction project is located along the route of a recommended detour for Interstate 40, which is closed indefinitely due to a recent rock slide. I-81 will be closed in the same spot next weekend from 10 pm Saturday to 10 am Sunday, but this time the closure will be on the southbound lanes.

Story: Knoxville News Sentinel

Southeast New York Stuff

It's been a while since I checked in, so here's an upd*te of roadly goodness from my little corner of the Empire State.

Interstate 86/NY 17: There are two fairly large scale projects in the NY 17 to Interstate 86 conversion. The first, better known one is the Parkesville Bypass in Sullivan County. Initial earthworks have started and forms are going up for bridge abutments. The freeway will be rerouted south of the existing dual carriageway. The project is expected to be finished by 2012. This will leave the Hale Eddy section in Delaware County as the last section with level junctions(a 2015 construction start date is expected on that section).

The other large scale-lesser known project is the rebuilding of the freeway from j116 at Bloomingburg to J121(IH 84) at Middletown. The easternmost part of this is pretty much complete from j121 west to west of the Silverlake-Scotchtown Road overpass. This part of the project included a new overpass to allow a connexion between the Middle…

What is/was the Boone Trail Highway

A few weeks ago, I came across this interesting marker in Hillsborough.



It notes the starting point of an expedition that included Daniel Boone. But there was more on the back....



...an iron cast marker for the Boone Trail Highway. That's where the fun begins. One of the things I enjoy most about my hobby is discovering something I wasn't aware of and being able to learn the history behind it. I always have considered the hobby a research project without a due date.

So of course, curiosity rules the day and I did some quick research and found out a lot about the highway. First, the markers date back to the era of Auto Trails - when regional and cross-country highways went by names not by numbers. And most trails were marked by color schemes.

The Boone Trail Highway is a product of Joseph Hampton Rich - from Mocksville, NC - who wanted to keep the memory of Daniel Boone's travels in the automobile age. From 1913 to 1938, he successfully erected 358 metal tablets from V…

King Coal Highway Bridge in Bluefield 'complete'

According to the King Coal Highway Executive Director, a small but important piece of the highway in Bluefield is now complete.

"They’ve just got the paving to do now (below the bridge) on Route 19. But it is finished," said Mike Mitchem.

The bridge will one day become part of Interstate 73. It is unclear if there will be access to US 19 from the bridge as prior articles make it seem like that there will not be a connection to US 19 from the King Coal. Below, I have place a scan of the 2009 WVDOH map Bluefield inset showing the bridge as under construction.

The next piece of the puzzle is to extend the King Coal to WV 123 and the Mercer County Airport. Currently, King Coal supporter, Congressman Nick Rahall (D), has requested $60 million be included in the 2010 transportation bill to help extend the highway to WV 123.

I will try and check out the bridge (if opened) when I travel to/from Pennsylvania this coming December.

Story: Executive Director: King Coal Highway bridge …

WV will sign Corridor H as US 48

Adam Froehlig recently did a scouting roadtrip to check on the status of Corridor H through West Virginia. And according to his blog report, WV has installed US 48 shields on parts of the unopened highway around Moorefield.

"I can confirm that there's a US 48 reassurance shield posted westbound just before the bridge, as well as a distance sign showing mileage to Bismark, Davis, and Elkins."

US 48 will be the designation for Corridor H from I-81 near Strasburg, VA to Interstate 79 in Weston, WV. Currently, Virginia has signed US 48 from I-81 to the state line. How far WV signs US 48 (whether along WV 55 and then on Corridor H and then on various routes to Elkins and along US 33 to Weston) and if it will truncate WV 55 is yet to be seen.

I-40 distance sign to California stolen - will not be replaced

If you have been down to Wilmington as often as I have, you've seen this sign numerous times. The sign gives the distance to the Western End of Interstate 40 2,554 miles away in Barstow, California.

The sign is popular for photographs (as taken by Joe Babyak above) and unfortunately for sign thieves . Since the highway opened in 1990, the sign has been stolen four times, and this time NCDOT will not be putting a replacement sign up.

Story: I-40 Barstow, Calif., sign gone for good ---Wilmington Star-News

Emergency repairs to close part of I-40 detour route

Motorists following the Interstate 40 rock slide detour be wary - there's another obstacle in your route.

Emergency repairs to a set of overpasses on I-81 in Greene County, TN will force 12 hour weekend closures on part of the detour route. The emergency road work is on Interstate 81 at Exit 23 (US 11E).

The repairs are being made on cracked support beams that carry US 11E over I-81. . The repairs will occur over the next two weekends - resulting in 12 hour road closures - on the freeway.

The first closure will affect the northbound lanes of I-81 (the detour route for eastbound I-40 travelers) this weekend. I-81 North at Exit 23 will be closed from 10 pm Saturday, November 14th through 10 am Sunday, November 15th.

Fortunately, there is not much of a detour involved for this work. Traffic will be detoured along the Exit 23 off and on ramps. The problem will be funneling traffic into one lane and then onto the ramps. So expect some delays - even though the construction will ha…

Perdue offers I-485 financing plan, but many questions need to be answered first

Earlier today, Governor Perdue announced her plan to complete the Interstate 485 loop in the next five years. The plan is something called a design-build-finance plan, and it has yet to be used within North Carolina. However, there are a number of hurdles and loopholes within the plan

The term 'design-build' is familiar within North Carolina transportation projects. Design-build projects are where the builder also designs the overall project- often while the project is ongoing. One of North Carolina's first design-build projects was the Interstate 85 widening between miles 40-48.

'Design-build-finance' is where the contractor pays for some or all of the construction and then gets reimbursed by the state within a specified period of time. This method has been used elsewhere in the country including an Interstate 69 reconstruction project in Michigan.

The projected cost to complete the remaining five miles of I-485 is now roughly $340 million.

Under this plan, con…

Uni-Signs invade Ohio

IMG_1462
Originally uploaded by Adam's Journey Was in Columbus for a hockey game over the weekend and on the walk to the arena, I spotted this Virginia styled uni-sign for OH 315. There are more (for OH 315, I-71, I-670) throughout the Arena District in Columbus.

I-74 Construction November Road Trip Report

So I wouldn't stew over Duke's loss to UNC, or the lastest Canes loss, and with the forecast for sunny skies and a high of 74, I decided Sunday morning would be a good time to check out I-74 construction progress from High Point to Randleman, plus some extra points of interest.

Construction Progress since early October-
My first stop was Baker Road. It appears the underlying structure for the bridge is complete and all that is needed is for cement to be poured:
After the bridge is completed, the existing road will have to be widened and tied to the bridge, but that should not take long to do. Another sign of progress is the excavating of the freeway:
Further toward Baker Road, so that the existing temporary road can quickly be demolished once the bridge is completed. Another sign of progress can be seen in the distance, the first overhead sign gantry to be put up, this for the Business 85 exit (My y I-74 page will have a better photo).

Jackson Lake Bridge-
There's more work to b…