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Showing posts from October, 2010

I-70 Overpass to be replaced by July of 2011 - is a six lane I-70 possible?

PennDot quickly announced it's plans to rebuilt the Kammerer Interchange overpass that was destroyed by an over-height vehicle last week.  The new bridge that will carry McIlvanie Road over Interstate 70 should be re-opened in July of next year.

The new bridge will also be longer, wider, and higher.  The old bridge was built in the 1950s with a 14'9" clearance.  The new bridge will be built to modern interstate standards, and that means a higher vertical clearance of 16'6".  The cost will be between $4-$8 million.  The design-build contract will go out to bid on November 4th.

In the comments section of the original blog entry, Steve Williams suggested that PennDOT should bill the trucking company, driver, and insurance company for the cost to replace the bridge.  And according to PennDOT's Joe Szczur, they will be doing exactly that.  In the meantime, PennDOT is using emergency funds for the bridge replacement.

The new bridge will also be longer.  It will be …

Edmond, OK Road Signs - 1978

Just this evening, Bill Manning sent me over a photo of this classic overhead sign scene in Edmond, OK.  (You are able to click the photo to enlarge to a full size view)

This button copy overhead complete with US 66 shield would have been located on US 66 W (East 2nd St) at I-35 Ext 141 in Edmond.  It was taken in August 1978. Thanks again for sending this shot along, Bill!

Could a Diverging Diamond Interchange be coming to Southeastern North Carolina?

It's not every day that a driver gets to legally drive on the "wrong side of the road".  But if a recent NCDOT proposal for the US 74/76 interchange with NC 133 in Leland is approved, Brunswick County motorists will be able to do just that.

The DOT is considering building a "Diverging Diamond Interchange", also known as a DDI, as a replacement of the current and heavily congested diamond interchange when the US 74/76 causeway is widened in 2013.  The DDI is one of a few possible plans for the interchange when the $19 million project begins.

A diverging diamond is unique as the travel lanes on the surface road- in this case NC 133 - are flipped to the opposite side before and after the interchange.  This flip is controlled by a traffic light at each end.  Traffic to and from the interchange ramps also intersect at the signals. 

The result is left turns onto and off of the interchange ramps now go unimpeded - that is the driver does not have to worry about crossi…

Mon-Fayette Expressway News

The Washington (PA) Herald-Standard has some new reports on the progress of the Mon-Fayette Expressway in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

First, West Virginia has approved the plans on the toll plaza for WV 43 and construction is underway.  WVDOH plans to open the highway in the Spring of 2011.  As a result, PA 43 will now have a straight shot from Uniontown to Interstate 68.

On the Pennsylvania side, construction on the highway sections of the remainder of the Uniontown-to-Brownsville Link are well underway and ahead of schedule.  The Mon-Fayette highway bridge over the Monongahela River near Brownsville is schedule to be completed in 2012.

If the fast pace of the highway work continues, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission may consider opening parts of the highway prior to the Mon River bridge completion in the Spring of 2012.  This would most likely include: the opening of the high speed interchange with US 119 in Uniontown - creating a continuous freeway link in the area - an…

Yes, I've updated again!

They're small updates but I've been able to add some new website material this week.  And considering the last time I updated was in January, updates twice in a month is an earth shattering event.

Pennsylvania:
Two more Keystones added to the PA Keystone Town Marker project.  Ron Stafford sent in shots of Dixonville and Rossiter in Indiana CountyWest Virginia:
New Corridor H information (pretty much from items discussed here on the blog) New information and a photo from Jennings Starcher on former WV Route 56.

Without TIGER II funding, I-77 HOT lanes in jeopardy

NCDOT's plan to convert the existing I-77 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes and extend them suffered a major setback earlier this month when the Federal Highway Administration did not award any TIGER II grant money for the project.

NCDOT had asked for a maximum of $30 million in grant money for the project.  2,500 applications were made for the $400 million in grant money.  Only 42 projects were awarded grant money.

The project would convert the existing I-77 HOV lanes to toll lanes and extended the single restricted lane northwards to Davidson (Exit 30).  The toll lanes would work similarly to HOV lanes as vehicles with two or more passengers, buses, and vanpools would be able to access the lanes for free.  Vehicles with one passenger would have to pay a toll.

The project is slated to be completed by 2014.

As a result of not receiving the funding NCDOT will have to come up with another plan to convert and extended the restricted lanes.  The cu…

14 new miles of Corridor H to open soon

The West Virginia Department of Transportation will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday to mark the completion of another 14 miles of Corridor H.  Though the ribbon cutting is on Wednesday, a definite date that the new four lane highway will be open to traffic is unknown.

When opened, Corridor H will extended another 14 miles eastward from US 220 in Moorefield to County Route 3 (Knobley Road).  Through traffic will be asked to leave the new highway three and a half miles earlier at an interchange with County Route 5 (Patterson Creek Road).  The remaining three and a half miles to Knobley Road will be open to "Local" traffic only.  Mainline traffic will be able to continue to Knobley Road and beyond in 2013 when an additional 11 miles of Corridor H is expected to open - completing the highway to WV 93 in Bismark.

Details and directions for the ribbon cutting are as follows:


The ceremony has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 27, at 1:30 p.m.  The event stagin…

I-74/US 311 Randolph County Progress Report

While on the trip taking photos previously posted of the near finished I-74/US 311 freeway, I also took some photos of the Design/Build Section between Spencer Road and US 220. Currently behind schedule at 41% complete (ideally 50% would be completed by now), there has been some progress, particularly in the southern part of the project since I last visited.

A. Spencer Road and Banner Whitehead Road
Not much progress hear except the moving around of some construction equipment. As can be seen in the photo south of Spencer Road, no grading of the future roadway has begun yet:
B. Branson Davis Road
This road features both a new alignment and bridge and the creation of an access road back to a farm on Nelson Park Road which is being cutoff by the freeway. Here's a photo looking north back at Nelson Park, the new access road is to the right paralleling the westbound lanes:
Across the road the alternate alignment and bridge are being built. Here looking south is where the bridge for the ne…

Wake County Commissioners support original routing of the SouthEast corner of the 540 loop

Wake County's Board of Commissioners unanimously resolved to support the original planned routing of the southeastern extension of the Triangle Expressway - once called the Southern Wake Expressway.  The commissioners have agreed to support the original "protected corridor" for the future toll road.  The "protected corridor" for the highway dates back to 1996.  As a result of being "protected", commercial and residential development has been limited within its boundaries.

That said, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority is studying three other alternative alignments.  A number of residents and municipal leaders in the towns of Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina have begun to voice their concerns. 

Though the NCTA admits there is strong support and reasons for the nearly 15 year old "protected corridor", the Federal Highway Administration requires them to look at other possible alternatives.

The NCTA has an overview video of the project, shown …

Interstate 70 overpass in Kammerer, PA hit by 'Hit & Run' overheight tractor trailer - bridge damaged and later demolished

An overheight tractor trailer load, which had special hauling permits, damaged the McIlvanie Road overpass at the Kammerer Exit (Exit 31) on Interstate 70 in Washington County, PA on October 18.  The resulting damage forced PennDot to issue an emergency contract to demolish the nearly 55 year old overpass.

The emergency demolition forced the closure of Interstate 70 in both directions.  (Traffic was detoured along the Exit 31 interchange ramps.)  Interstate 70 was re-opened in both directions by 6 pm this evening.

The driver, Tony Kyle, had a special hauling permit to operate his tractor trailer with the overheight load.  The driver had specific instructions to exit the Interstate at Exit 31 to avoid the 14' 9" bridge.  Mr. Kyle did not exit the highway - and the overheight load struck and damaged the bridge.

Kyle continued on his way after the collision.  Pennsylvania State Law requires that a motorist report significant damage.  Kyle did not, and the incident was treated as…

Sign Find or A Major Sign Foul?

While touring the construction progress of the Triangle Expressway with Bob Malme today, we came across this well - NC 540 detour shield.



Not sure where to begin with this: a rare orange NC shield? the hand drawn diamond? the lack of an official detour posting?  The reason for the orange shield is a detour for Davis Drive and Kit Creek Road to NC 540.  Currently, the interchange with 540 and Davis/Kit Creek is closed for construction of the Triangle Expressway.

And here we thought the possibility of the Toll NC 540 shields being purple was out there.

Keystone Town Marker Restorer featured in local publication

This past summer, Jim Carn, who as a one-man restoration team has restored numerous Pennsylvania Keystone Markers in North Central Pennsylvania, was featured in the Webb Weekly, a local publication in the Williamsport Area.

In just over a year, Carn has restored over one dozen of the historical highway markers.  He has a flickr site detailing some of his work, located here.

Carn's work has also been recognized by the Keystone Marker Trust, and his work has inspired other Pennsylvanians to do the same.

A belated congratulations to Jim for being recognized for his unselfish hard work!

Latest on I-74/US 311 Freeway Opening Date

A TV station has a website article and video confirming earlier newspaper reports that NCDOT expects the section of I-74/US 311 between Business 85 in High Point and Cedar Square Road in Randolph County to be open by Thanksgiving. Click on the Blog title to access the URL.

Hmm, guess NCDOT wants me to return to NC to drive the new freeway when it's open. Maybe, stay tuned.

Vintage New York

After checking out the Thruway and Binghamton film as mentioned in the Binghamton in 1951 post, I browsed the collection of the New York State Archives on YouTube and found a couple more videos from the 1950s.

Erie Canal Relocation (1952) - Video shows the relocation of the Erie Canal in Herkimer in order to make way for the New York State Thruway.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rJKcmS8rPY

Tappan Zee Bridge Opening (1955) - Video explains the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which carries Interstate 87 and the New York State Thruway over the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland Counties.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaReVTZkNNg

Binghamton in 1951

As a former resident of the Binghamton, NY area (I lived in neighboring Johnson City for about a year and a half), I was curious to check out a 1951 film on YouTube from the New York State Archives that promoted the benefits of the New York State Thruway to Binghamton and Endicott. But wait a minute, you may say. The Thruway doesn't and never went to Binghamton. True, but this video touts the economic, industrial, agricultural and recreational opportunities that come with the construction of the Thruway. Plus, fans of old signs will enjoy some of the gems seen in this video.

I was also interested in seeing the Washington Street Bridge carrying vehicular traffic over the Susquehanna River, as this bridge is now a pedestrian bridge. You can check out the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA3XzrLAG-4. Thanks to area resident Dylan Lainhart for advising me to check out the video.

The New York State Archives is posting a number of videos on YouTube, and if you want to see m…

Travels without Charley

One of the most well known American travelogues is John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley: In Search of America.  The story of the author's nearly 10,000 mile cross-country roadtrip with his dog Charley in the fall of 1960.

Well a half-century later, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Bill Steigerwald is retracing Steinbeck's epic journey, and he's keeping his own travelogue in a daily updated blog called, Travels without Charley.

Be sure to check it out!

After decades of frustration...PA 51 and PA 88 intersection finally to be redesigned

For decades, residents and commuters in Pittsburgh's South Hills have waited for drastic and much needed improvements at the intersections of PA 51 and 88 in the city's Overbrook neighborhood.  From failed expressway plans and intersection redesign plans, this was one bottleneck that many thought would never go away.

Well, by 2014, the notorious left lane back up on Northbound PA 51 with traffic wanting to turn onto Library Road (PA 88) , Glenbury St.,and buses wanting to access the South Busway will be no more.  The daily mess will be replaced by a two-lane jughandle which will run from near Fairhaven Road, behind the existing Rite Aid Pharmacy, and then utilize Ivyglen St. 

The jughandle will be the key feature to a project that will eliminate all left turns from PA 51 at the dangerous intersection.

Other improvements include a second jughandleon PA 51 South at Fairhaven Road.  This jughandle will also utilize Stewart Ave.  In addition, three structurally deficient bridges …

FHWA Secretary Discusses I-73 in SC

According to the article linked in the title from a news conference held today in Florence, SC, FHWA secretary Ray LaHood "was positive it (I-73) will get some federal funding. The interstate would start in Michigan, pass through Ohio and two other states.Supporters of I-73 were thrilled to have LaHood in their backyard, discussing the virtues of their favorite road. But their enthusiasm depends on what Congress does with a new transportation funding bill that will come up next year.""LaHood says, next year, President Barack Obama will put a 6-year, $500-billion transportation funding bill before Congress. He says I-73 is a perfect fit for that bill. "If this is South Carolina's priority, if this is the region's priority, I have no doubt it will be a part of the 6-year plan."I-73 supporters have been waiting a long time. Chamber of Commerce leaders told LaHood, the interstate was first proposed in 1980, when textiles and tobacco were South Ca…

Final(?) I-74/US 311 High Point East Belt Progress Report

NCDOT's Construction Progress Report produced a new estimate of completion for the I-74/US 311 freeway between Business 85 and Cedar Square Road on September 20, about 10 days earlier than usual. The report indicated the project was 94.2% complete. Assuming, even with the rainy weather, that this completion percentage was approaching 95% by the first Sunday in October, I took, what I hoped would be, a final trip to the corridor to confirm progress on building the freeway hoping it appeared almost completed (and hopefully to be opened before November, more on that later). What I found was most of the work on the road itself had been completed, with a few exceptions, all that's left to do is some final landscaping, placing covers on the remaining open median water drains, the placement of signs, both overhead and at ground level, and the putting down of lane markings (much of which had been preliminarily marked along the roadway). Here's a summary heading west to east or nor…