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Showing posts from December, 2009

SCDOT to close 15 miles of northbound I-385 next week until August

SCDOT is preparing to close 15 miles of northbound Interstate 385 next week for the next eight months as part of a major rehab/upgrade project.

The project's site is here:
http://www.i385rehab.com/

"The second phase of the project will encompass the rehabilitation of I-385 northbound from mile post 0 to 14.9 and the bridge replacement of the flyover bridge that connects I-26 westbound to I-385 northbound. I-385 northbound will be closed from I-26 to SC Route 101, and will be detoured up I-26 to I-85, and all access to northbound I-385 from the crossing routes between I-26 and SC 101 will also be closed. This will allow the contractor to rehabilitate I-385 northbound quickly without the presence of traffic. Four crossovers will be constructed in the median prior to the completion of construction activities associated with the rehabilitation on I-385 northbound. Two will be at the US Route 221 interchange with the other two crossovers at opposite ends of the project on I-385. Thes…

Winter in the Laurel Highlands

When most think of roadtrips, most think of the long haul, multi-day, cross-country treks. But some of the best trips are right in your backyard. (Or in this case my parent's backyard.)

On Christmas Eve, I spent five hours on a loop through Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands. I never really had the chance to explore this area growing up. So at 11 am, off I went.

First, I spent some time in Perryopolis. Downtown Perryopolis sits about a half mile or so off of PA 51 in Fayette County. The wagon wheel street grid for Perryopolis was actually designed by George Washington, who actually purchased land here to develop a grist mill and town. The wagon wheel street grid is a feature unique within Western Pennsylvania.

One of the first things I noticed was this well preserved former theatre. The Karolick Theatre which opened in 1921.



It appears that the building housed other businesses as well.



In a lot of these older Western Pennsylvanian towns, you can find old signs. And Perryopolis…

Merry Christmas!

Though the rain is melting away the snow here in Western Pennsylvania. Everyone here at the blog would like to wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas!

NCTA awards $37.6 million in toll collection contracts for Triangle Expressway

Two companies won the contracts of three separate toll collection contracts for the under-construction Triangle Expressway. The contracts totaled $37.6 million and came in $9 million under budget.
Affiliated Computer Services Inc. won the $14.2 million toll-collection system contract. ACS will design, develop and install the automated system, including all toll-related hardware and software on the roadway, optical character recognition software and the main computer server and database.In addition, ACS won an $8 million contract to design and implement a system to process customer accounts, handle billing and produce a customer relations Web site.URS Corp. was awarded the $15.3 million contract to manage and staff all customer service facilities and related activities.At this time, an exact toll schedule has yet to be published; however, the toll is estimated to be charged at a 10-20/cent per mile cost. Also, compatibility with existing toll collection systems like E-ZPass (used thro…

Expecting I-73 Soon in Virginia? It's gonna be awhile.

Progress on Virginia's portion of Interstate 73 may have taken a few steps back this week - as two separate items may impact how long and where I-73 may ultimately be built.

First in Richmond, the US Fourth Circuit of Appeals has extended the window for Virginians for Appropriate Roads (VAR) by one month due January 25th. The original date was December 21st. VDOT and the FHWA will then have until March 1st to file their response.

From there, the appellate court could make a U.S. District Court ruling based on the legal briefs; or they can schedule a hearing. VAR is appealing a decision from earlier this year that VDOT did not adequately study improvements to the existing US 220 corridor from Roanoke to Martinsburg in their findings. District Court Judge James C. Turk ruled that VDOT did all that was necessarily required in their study.

Story: I-73 appeal ruling delayed ---Myrtle Beach Sun News

But what may have the most impact on the timing and even the eventual routing of Inters…

Cape Fear Memorial Bridge celebrates 40 years

Great article in the Wilmington Star-News discussing the history of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. Check out the historic photos section also (73 photos in total!):

Story:
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20091215/ARTICLES/912159986/1004?p=1&tc=pg

Photos:
http://www.starnewsonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=WM&Dato=20091215&Kategori=NEWS&Lopenr=121509999&Ref=PH&Profile=1004&show=galleries

Gastonia City Council waffles on Garden Parkway

The Gastonia City Council was expected to pass a formal resolution opposing the controversial Garden Parkway last night. But the announcement never came.

Over the weekend, members of Gastonia City Council began to talk about the prospects of the controversial toll road and offer alternatives.

“I think it’s dead,” said Gastonia City Manager Jim Palenick.

Palenick, with other Council members, put together alternative plans for the annual $35 million in gap funding that is allocated within the state budget for the Garden Parkway.

The alternative plan includes: completion of I-485 in Mecklenburg County, a drastic overhaul of the existing US 321/I-85 interchange, extending Hudson Blvd. west beyond US 321, and establishing commuter rail between Gastonia and Charlotte.

Palenick says that he would approach leaders in the Charlotte region with the plan and hopes that both communities can promote the idea as a region.

"We recognize your biggest problem," said Palenick. "How about if w…

Byrd scoring millions for King Coal, Coalfields Expwy, Corridor H in latest bill

Major West Virginia transportation projects are poised to gain an infusion of a few million dollars if President Obama signs the Fiscal Year 2010 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill into law.

Senator Robert Byrd has included nearly $14 million in funding for various road projects throughout the state.

They include:
$4.4 million for Corridor H (specifically for the highway between Bismarck and Foreman).$1.9 million for US 35 improvements$1.9 million for WV 10 upgrades
$1.9 million for the Coalfields Expressway - specifically for work in Raleigh County in the Allen Creek to Slab Fork Section.
$1.9 million for the King Coal Highway - to be used for extending the highway north towards the Mercer County Airport near Bluefield.
These funds will not make construction imminent on these projects, but they will be added to the pool of funds needed to start or continue work.

Story Links:
Road funds await Obama signature ---Bluefield Daily Telegraph
F…

Final Progress Report on I-74/US 311 Freeway for 2009

Made my last trip of 2009 to check out progress on the construction of the I-74/US 311 freeway from High Point to Randleman during midday today (12/12). Based on the NCDOT's Construction Progress Report there hasn't been much going on along the Business 85 to Cedar Square Road segment the last two months as far as percentage complete goes, now up to about 81% complete at the end of November compared to 78% in September. There has been, however, some noticeable progress on the two remaining bridge projects as well on some of the roadway itself.

Going West to East (or North to South depending on which route you prefer) the first stop is the Baker Road bridge. Work has been completed on the bridge decks as you can see here (yes, they were working on Saturday, making up for bad weather maybe):
The bridge is capable of supporting traffic, as the truck driving across it shows here:
You can see they still have to connect the bridge to the pre-exisiting alignment of Baker Road and build …

Reason for Decommisioning US 311 Business in High Point

During the last AASHTO SCOH US Route Numbering Committee meeting in November, NCDOT had an application for decommissioning US 311 Business through High Point accepted. The application referred to the action 'being at the request of local officials.' I sent an e-mail to the contact person listed on the application about a month ago to see if I could get more details and finally got a response yesterday (12/10). According to this NCDOT staffperson, local officials requested the application to remove US 311 Business from the former US 311 route on Main Street to end confusion and reduce clutter.

The exact quote in his e-mail was "A resolution was passed March 19th 2007 from the High Point City Council requesting the deletion of US 311 Business indicating the following reasons: reduce the confusion between US 311 and Business; allow Main Street to be the primary designation along the old US 311 designation (reducing sign clutter); and providing flexibility in association with …

It seems like the NC Treasurer's Office has been against Perdue's I-485 plan since October

Though NCDOT asserts that the NC Treasurers Office was in support of Governor Perdue's design-build-finance plan to complete Interstate 485, recently released e-mails from the treasurer's office suggest otherwise.

In an article in the Charlotte Business Journal, a number of e-mails within the treasurer's office show a strong sense of skepticism to the non-traditional construction plan.

The strongest critic seems to be Deputy Treasurer Vance Holloman who considers the design-build-finance plan as 'wild'.

Holloman goes as far to say, "[NCDOT's plan] of paying interest and principal over 10 years is not permitted by GS (General Statute)."

The Governor's office has already stated that they have consulted with the State Attorney General's office and that the plan is legal.

It appears that the root of this squabble is how to finance the road. The treasurer's office prefers to use up to $400 million in GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles) fun…