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Showing posts from May, 2007

Robbing 14 Peters to pay one Paul

Bruce Siceloff blogs about the tug of war between the Legislature and Gov. Easley regarding who's going to pay for the repaving of I-40 in south Durham (and, presumably, something to this effect will be in tomorrow's N&O):

Gov. Mike Easley's proposed budget would have let his DOT pay for its colossal blunders on I-40 in Durham County -- a 10-mile paving mistake that prompted a $21.7 million repair job, scheduled to clog traffic on nights and some weekends for the rest of 2007 and into spring 2008 -- by reducing its spending plans for other Triangle highway projects.

The House and now the Senate have a different idea: Take that pain to DOT statewide.

The Senate spending plan released today would cut $11.7 million from DOT administrative budgets for all divisions statewide this year and another $10 million next year, to finance the I-40 fix. (The House version released a few weeks ago proposed to take the entire sume [sic] from this year's DOT allocation.)

Triangle leade…

An I-540 Preview

With the next segment of I-540 about a month away from opening to traffic, I took a small ride out to Western Wake County and took a look at the highway before it opens.

Note: The official exit number is within the parentheses. An error in signing plans caused the exit numbers to be 20 miles off.

Exit 47 (67): NC 55
This exit will be a six ramp partial cloverleaf interchange. This will be the current end of I-540.

Approaching I-540 from NC 55 West in Morrisville.

This time I am on NC 55 East at the interchange. I-540 will include the 'Future' designation. This is because of a rule that says Interstates must end at a National Highway System (NHS) route. NC 55 obviously is not a part of the NHS.

Exit 49 (69): Davis Drive/Research Triangle Park

This exit is an expansive Y-shaped interchange linking I-540 to the heart of Research Triangle Park. The interchange flows into Kit Creek Drive which provides quick access to Davis Drive.

Kit Creek Drive ends as the ramps to/from I-540 begi…

Myrtle Beach to host I-73/74 Association Meeting

This coming Thursday and Friday, Myrtle Beach will host the first meeting of the I-73/74 Corridor Association in nearly a decade. The meeting will consist of representatives from six states - South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan.

The meeting is to re-establish the Association with drafting of bylaws, election of a new board, and the appointment of a new executive director. After that, the goal is to establish a Association meeting in Washington with representatives from all six states. The goal is to show support for the two highways by increasing awareness of the need.

Progress for the I-73/74 project varies in all states involved. However, two states, Michigan and Ohio, stopped planning for the highway in the late 1990s citing a lack of need, money, and interest in the routes. Ohio and Michigan sending a delegation to the Myrtle Beach - and later Washington - summit may be a positive impact for the other four states involved.

United States S…

Paper: Expecting I-785? It may be awhile.

In Saturday's Greensboro News Record, there was a lengthy article discussing the progress on the Future I-785 corridor. Well make that the lack of progress.

Since the corridor's designation in 1997 - the first Future I-785 Corridor sign were first posted in June 1998, there has been not much done to upgrade current US 29 in Guilford or Rockingham Counties to an Interstate quality highway. US 29/Future I-785 also cuts through the northwest corner of Caswell County.

The cost to upgrade the highway has doubled from an estimated $100 million in 1998 to $200 million today. Most of the upgrading would be on a four lane at-grade section of US 29 from southern Rockingham County to Greensboro. US 29 from Reidsville north to the to the Virginia border is currently a freeway with not as much upgrading necessary.

Currently, the state funding priorities have been towards completing the Greensboro Urban Loop (Interstate 840) and upgrading US 220 to Interstate 73. Interstate 785 may be ro…

NC House halts work on I-73/74 Welcome Centers in Randolph County

This past Wednesday, the NC House unanimously approved a bill that halts construction of two highway welcome centers in Randolph County along Interstate 73/74. Construction can only proceed after officials from the Department of Commerce and the DOT consult with the legislature.

The bill also requires both agencies to get a legislative committee's approval before building any future welcome centers.

The I-73/74 rest area's were originally slated to be 'visitor centers'. Visitor centers are operated by local counties promoting their own region. However, over time the visitor centers were promoted to Welcome Centers which are staffed and paid for by the state. Both welcome centers would cost the state $180,000 each to operate.

It appears that miscommunication between the NCDOT and the Department of Commerce led to the rest stops becoming full blown welcome centers. The DOT claims that Commerce insisted on the two rest areas becoming Welcome Centers. The Commerce Dep…

Latest section of I-540 to open by July 4th?

Well, all the dry weather we have had here in Raleigh recently may have at least one benefit.

According to a News 14 Carolina Report, work on Interstate 540 from I-40 near Raleigh-Durham International Airport to NC 55 in Morrisville is two months ahead of schedule. DOT engineers note the dry weather has allowed crews to pick up momentum on the project.

If all goes well, the work on the highway could be finished on July 1st. Currently, some ramp paving, sign installation, and line painting is needed to be done.

Story including video:
New I-540 span ahead of schedule ---News 14 Carolina

DNR rejects SCDOT's I-73 wetland proposal

It didn't take long for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources' Board to reject the DOT's $450,000 wetland mitigation proposal. Without hesitation, the board accepted DNR director John Frampton's suggestion that he negotiate a better deal with newly named DOT director, Buck Limehouse.

Limehouse has experience working with the DNR on wetland issues before as he helped to broker a deal that allowed the state to purchase 9,167 acres of land on Sandy Island as compensation for lost wetlands during the construction of the Conway Bypass and Carolina Bays Parkway.

27 acres of the Little Pee Dee Heritage Preserve would be impacted by the construction of I-73. Also, another three acres would be impacted by the construction of a new SC 917 bridge. The DNR has stated that they do not want to block the construction of I-73; however, they do expect fair compensation.

The $450,000 mitigation proposal authored by interim DOT Director Tony Chapman suggested that the DNR u…

DE Gallery Update

I have updated one of the best kept secrets, well not a secret anymore, of the Gribblenation empire. The Delaware Submitted Photos page. A number of photos from my 2007 trips through the First State has been added. In this update you will find photos from the Wilmington area, the DE 1 Turnpike and also Sussex County.

Enjoy!

http://www.gribblenation.net/depics/gallery/

Residents express some concern on possible North/South Corridor routing

Maryland residents participating in a public meeting discussing the corridors for the US 220 North/South Corridor expressed concern on two possible routes that would run through wildlife management areas.

One of the original five corridors ran through much of 9,500 acre Dan's Mountain Wildlife Management Area. That corridor has since been removed from consideration. However, two of the remaining three possible corridors has a routing that goes near or through parts of the wildlife area.

Other residents voiced concerns of possible routes going through the towns of LaVale and Cresaptown.

Maryland State Senator George Edwards said he hoped that the proposed corridors are still large enough that through the process of determining a route that the final route can be adjusted to where the concerns of the communities involved would be addressed.

The public open house meeting was held at Bel Air (MD) Elementary.

Story: State Highway Meeting ---Cumberland Times News

Port Authority of NY/NJ to go all electronic?

From the News-Journal of Wilmington, DE, there was a recent story about how the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is considering removing traditional toll booths from their toll facilities and gravitating towards electronic toll collection. This would be put in effect to improve traffic flow into New York City, as all Port Authority tolls are levied into traffic driving eastbound into New York City. The last toll booths that were removed in the New York City area were some of the toll booths at the Spring Valley Toll Barrier on the New York Thruway (in Rockland County) and the elimination of a 25 cent toll on the Hutchinson River Parkway at the Bronx-Westchester County line near New Rochelle. This took place about 15 years ago.

The authority now uses a mix of electronic toll collection and staffed toll booths where drivers can pay with cash at its bridges and tunnels that span between New York City and New Jersey. Under an all-electronic tolling system, the authori…

Campaign to eliminate I-190 Grand Island, NY tolls

Buffalo businessman and developer Carl Paladino is up to something again.

Paladino, who led a successful drive last year to remove toll barriers on the I-190 (Niagara Thruway) section of the New York State Thruway, has set forth on a new cause, ending the collection of the Grand Island bridge tolls. The Grand Island Bridges carry Interstate 190 and NY 324 across the eastern channel of the Niagara River between Tonawanda and Niagara Falls, and there are no other bridges that connect Grand Island to the rest of the world.

In a letter to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer this week, Paladino laid out his argument against the levy of bridge tolls in both financial and moral terms. While the letter does not mention the course of legal action, Paladino is hoping Spitzer will do the right thing and continue to tear down the Berlin Wall against Buffalo-area commuters. Paladino's reasoning: The Thruway Authority collected $20.6 million in toll revenue from the Grand Island bridges last year,…

Sure, you can trust the government. Just ask any Indian.

The latest dispute between New York State and the Seneca Nation of Indians involves billing the state for each car that passes through the Cattaraugus Reservation on the New York State Thruway near Silver Creek, NY. This comes as part of Governor Eliot Spitzer's 2007 budget, which aims to raise money more as a result of user fees as passing the buck onto others as opposed to raising taxes for ordinary New Yorkers. As a result of the budget, New York State is aiming to collect sales tax from non-Senecas who make purchases from reservation stores, mostly from cigarette and gasoline sales. These taxes would imposed on non-Seneca customers only.

In the often-peculiar relationship between the two parties, this isn't the first time that the Senecas and New York State have come to quarreling over the matter of tax collection. In 1997, then-Governor George Pataki tried to collect tobacco taxes from the Senecas, which led to tire burnings that closed down the Thruway and possibly th…

Old NC 10 in Orange and Alamance Counties and an old Hillsborough bridge

Took a brief trip after work today. I just wanted to check out a former alignment of NC 10 (Central Highway), and I found a few surprises on the way.

Sometimes you have a hunch that you may find an old sign at a specific place or down a specific road. Well, I had a hunch that there may be an I-85 North Carolina shield on the roads around Exit 164 in Hillsborough. So I stopped for gas, and I played the hunch right.


Then came one of the oddest signs I have ever seen. If you exit I-85 at Exit 161 (US 70/Truck NC 86), the road there is called the I-85 Connector. (Note: Years ago this is where the US 70 expressway - the predecessor to I-85 - returned to the two lane highway west of Hillsborough).

"Tolerance Ends". Now some of you will make wisecracks about North Carolina here...but all joking aside. What the heck does Tolerance Ends mean?

The I-85 Connector ends at Dewey Rd. and West Ten Road. Turn right onto West Ten and you are on the Old Central Highway. This section has …

SC House and Senate battle over $5 million for I-73

The SC House and Senate are currently in a budget battle and one of the points of contention is $5 million for Interstate 73. The $5 million for the Interstate is found within the House budget; however, in the Senate's version, the funding was removed.

It is not said what the $5 million would be applied to.

UPDATE: The $5 million would go to the state infrastructure bank to assist in planning. State Representative Tracy Edge hopes to up the state's funding committment for I-73 and 74 to $5 million/year vs. the annual one million dollars allocated for the past four years. Edge claims that the Infrastructure Bank could finance $50 million for each project. He also said that the $5 million was allocated to speed up fulfilling the state's share for constructing both Interstates.

Progress on the budget is currently stalled as the House wants the Senate to pass a DOT reform bill. The reform bill is currently being filibustered by Sen. John Land (D-Manning). The issue has be…

New I-485 Pictures

Busy here at the blog tonight.

Today, Chris Curley sent over some photos from the recently extended I-485 in Charlotte. Another 3.5 miles of I-485 opened - from NC 27 (exit 14) to NC 16 (exit 16) - last Tuesday, May 8.

Here's where I-485 had ended at NC 27 (Exit 14). I'm trying to get where the 3.5 miles of new highway came from when the exit is 2.25 miles beyond the former terminus. Oh, take a look at the NC 16 exit sign. It is a rare case of the exit number (16) matching the route number at the interchange (NC 16).

Here's the current end of I-485 at NC 16 in Northwest Mecklenburg County.

Chris gives a sneak peak of what's to come for I-485. This is beyond the current terminus at NC 16 as the unopened highway heads to I-77. It'll be empty for a little while. As the next part of the highway to I-77 and NC 115 near Huntersville will open in early 2008. (That's the current target opening.)

Here's a guide sign on NC 16 for Future South Interstate 485 Outer.…

What's in a name? Interstate 540 or Triangle Expressway

David McDowell over at the No Tolls on I-540 website writes about the official decision to call the 540 toll road the "Triangle Expressway" or the "Tri-X". He writes:

...they officially approved a motion to call the road the "Triangle Expressway" and to nickname it "Tri-X", which is what they hope traffic reporters will call the road. There you have it, the road will not be called 540 if the NCTA has their way.You can see the full post here.

Well he's kinda right. From everything I have read and been told it will continue to be Interstate 540. even though it will be part of the "Triangle Expressway". Just like you have the Durham Freeway as NC 147. Or specifically related to I-540, the Southern Wake Expressway or the Western Wake Expressway etc. More than likely, I-540 will be signed as Interstate 540 Toll. Just like they do in Greenville, South Carolina with the toll section of Interstate 185.

Here's an example of how it ma…

I-540 tolls move forward

Over Apex's objections, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization endorsed tolls for the new section of I-540 today.
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization voted Wednesday to approve long-range transportation plans that call for a toll road on a section of Interstate 540 in western Wake County.

Officials have said it will cost $800 million to complete the Western Wake Expressway, a 18.6-mile stretch of I-540 which includes a 2.8-mile segment currently under construction and set to open this summer from N.C. 54 to N.C. 55.

For a state strapped for cash, officials said tolls are an option that could cover most of the cost and move up the completion by at least 20 to 30 years. Without a toll, DOT officials said it will be 2032 before I-540 is finished. With the tolls, the work could be wrapped up by 2011.

Oh, by the way, remember that funding shortfall I mentioned earlier today?
Based on state estimates, there is a $6 billion shortfall in terms of meeting transporta…

For whom the interstate tolls

Hat tip to Dave Filpus on seroads for posting this story about a guy in Apex who doesn't want tolls on 540. (As if the website address -- www.notollson540.org -- didn't give it away.)

I can sympathize with the guy. No, it doesn't seem fair on the surface that the new part of 540 that bypasses west Cary and most of Apex would be tolled, and I'd definitely agree with him that there's no reason whatsoever to toll the soon-to-be-completed portion of 540 between I-40 and NC 55. It seems that the turnpike authority's only reason to toll that part of 540 is to have a continuous turnpike that continues onto the southern extension of the Durham Freeway, also planned to be a toll road. The road's done and paid for; why toll it?

The loop to the west of NC 55, however, is another story. There was a speaker at a public hearing last night that said, essentially, that it's not fair for western Wake commuters to pay for the state's raiding of the Highway Trust F…

More on NC 162

I never noticed it before -- probably because I didn't really pay much attention to the Fayetteville inset on the back of the map -- but the 2007 official NC map has the Hope Mills bypass marked as proposed, in about the same place I figured it would go (including a currently-built portion of Elk Road between Legion Road and US 301). It looks like the road will be around 4 miles long.

Which begs the question: why in the world is NCDOT wasting a state route designation on (a) a four-mile long road, and (b) a road that bypasses another road that's only seven miles long in its own right (NC 59)? Is this going to start a trend of all new bypasses getting state route numbers? (Try convincing Hickory of that one; their bypass, opened last year, has a four-digit SR number.) Looks to me like NC 162 is going to fall in line with the likes of NC 112, NC 902 and NC 400 on the List of NC Highways That Serve Less Than No Purpose.

North Carolina has a new state highway

According to this story from WRAL, the new Hope Mills bypass in Cumberland County will carry the designation of NC 162.Thirty years after it was initially proposed, the Hope Mills Bypass is ready for its first traffic.The four-mile N.C. Highway 162 is expected to open by the end of the month, after crews put the finishing touches on a leg between Camden Road and Legion Road, said Tracy Pittman, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman in Cumberland County.The state awarded the $24.6 million contract to build the highway in 1994. The four-lane, divided highway will link Bingham Drive to U.S. Highway 301, sweeping around downtown Hope Mills.It's a bit hard to figure out exactly where the bypass will go, but it seems that it will run to the north of downtown Hope Mills, but won't connect directly to I-95. Also, Hope Mills is now home to two intra-city routes, as NC 59 serves as the main street through downtown.

Who you callin' useless?

What do all these roads have in common?
US 264 in Wake CountyUS 258 in Onslow CountyUS 117 in Wilson County
US 311 in Rockingham CountyNC 39 in Johnston CountyThey all have what roadgeeks call "useless multiplexes" -- a road that ends at a random point while sharing pavement with another road, and North Carolina seems to have more useless multiplexes than most states. For example, 264 east of Raleigh is routed along the US 64 freeway between Zebulon and the Beltline, but at the Beltline 264 ends while 64 continues. Why couldn't 264 just end at 64 in Zebulon where the two roads merge? (And to make it even more ridiculous, that's exactly what it did until about 1995!)

I think I finally figured out why these useless multiplexes exist, and they most certainly aren't useless. Look at a map and you'll notice that all of these roads go somewhere -- or, more to the point, they connect two places. And it makes it a hell of a lot easier to give directions when you on…

MD/WV: North/South Corridor narrowed to three possible routes

The five possible corridors for the US 220 North/South Connector have been narrowed to three. The two corridors eliminated from the proposed Corridor H to Interstate 68 route were the furthest west -- along George's Creek -- and the furthest east, called the Patterson Creek Alternative through Fort Ashby and Burlington.

The announcement came at the conclusion of an 18-month federally funded study. Throughout this month, Maryland and West Virginia transportation officials are holding joint public information meetings about the corridors.

Mineral County, WV officials have endorsed one of the remaining corridors. They support a route that follows US 220 from Cumberland into Keyser and through the New Creek Valley. The shorter option of this corridor runs south to connect with Corridor H near Schnerr. The longer of the two closely follows and includes upgrades to US 220 ending at Corridor H in Moorefield.

Currently, there is not funding available to continue studies beyond this poin…

Could Corridor H get more federal funding?

From Homeland Security?

According to a spokesman for the West Virginia State Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, it certainly could happen.

The state is applying for Homeland Security Grants to help fund Corridor H. The basis, residents in the Greater Washington, DC area would possibly evacuate to West Virginia in case of a natural disaster or a terrorist attack.

West Virginia has made the formal application and is awaiting approval.

For More:
Corridor H Could Get Federal Funding ---WBOY-TV

Commentary:
Well, The Greenbrier was going to be the second Capitol during the Cold War. And in one of those asteroid hits the Earth movies of the late 1990's people were rushing towards West Virginia. So I guess, there's some reasoning behind it.

Seriously, I don't know what to make out of this. Joe Thornton, who is the spokesman for the WV Dept. or Military Affairs and Public Safety, said "It could be considered along the lines as a national defense highway that would …

Robeson County towns support honoring American Indians on I-74

While construction of a new Interstate freeway progresses in Robeson County, local officials and towns are voicing their support of a petition that would name I-74 within the county as the "American Indian Freeway." Currently, US 74 - which will share the new highway with I-74 - is named the Andrew Jackson Highway.

The petition would lead to a resolution that would keep the "Andrew Jackson Highway" name while the highway within the county would also have the "American Indian Freeway" distinction.

The Lumbee Indian Tribe traces their origins to the Robeson County area.

Story:
Highway is a reminder of Indian history ---Fayetteville Observer

Commentary:
Personally, what I found interesting in this article is how American history comes into play with the current name of US 74 and the proposal for I-74. While President, Jackson's "Indian Removal" policy was and remains one of the most controversial and far-impacting issues of his administration.

Th…

Bids on King Coal Highway thrown out...process to restart June 12

More issues with the bidding process of a $20 million bridge project that will extend the King Coal Highway (Future I-73) in Bluefield, WV has delayed the bidding process another month. "Irregularities" in some of the bids has caused all project bids to be thrown out. The bidding process will be reopened on June 12.

Last month, minor changes to the project delayed the opening of the bids to April 17. It was those changes that some of the contractor's bidding on the project did not receive. As a result, those contractor's did not include the project changes in their bids; and because of that, all bids are being removed from the process.

Officials with the WV Department of Transportation do not expect that the nearly two months in bidding delays to have any impact with the project's targeted October 2009 completion date.
The project will extend the King Coal from the interchange with US 52/460 over US 19 to Stoney Ridge.

Story:
Highway hits roadblock---Bluefield D…

Can someone help a bloke out?

I received an e-mail overnight from a gentleman in England. In it he asks:

I came upon your site when I was looking for Pennsylvania signs. I am making a tour in September to look for locations from the film 'Something Wild (1986)'. Could you tell me if this sign might be somewhere in the north east of Pennsylvania? I'm thinking it may be somewhere along routes 97 or 209.Thank you for any help you may be able to give me.

Here's the photo he had attached.



I am guessing it is from the movie. I've never seen a Welcome to Pennsylvania sign like this. It looks like there are deer inside each Keystone. Has anyone seen this type of Welcome to PA guide sign before? And is his guess to its location accurate?



Another 3.5 miles of I-485 to open tomorrow

Bob Malme is Johnny on the Spot again.

According to an NCDOT Press Release, another 3.5 miles of I-485 will open in Northwest Mecklenburg County sometime tomorrow morning.

The opening will extend the highway northward from NC 27 to NC 16. This will greatly increase traffic on the northwest corner of the loop, which first opened from I-85 to NC 27 in December.

Traffic in Northeast Gaston and Eastern Lincoln County will have a quicker route to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Carowinds and South Carolina. There should be a slight decrease in traffic on NC 16 from I-485 to Uptown Charlotte.

The press release states that the next section of I-485 from NC 16 to I-77 and NC 115 should open in the Spring of 2008.

See:
NCDOT Press Release Regarding I-485 Opening

Glens Falls, NY Roundabout Now Open

I didn't even know the roundabout was being constructed, shows you how much I make it to Glens Falls, NY. This new roundabout is at the five-way intersection of US Route 9, NY Route 9L (its southern terminus) and NY Route 32. Locally, they are known as Hudson St., Glen St. Ridge St., Warren St. and finally Glen St. I do know there was talk of building the roundabout, but I was unsure how far along it was. This is something I will go see for myself sometime during the next few weeks.

Story: Roundabout in Glens Falls open to cars and people - Capital News 9 (Albany, NY)

New section of I-74 in NC to be 10.2 miles long not 6.2

It appears that NCDOT is having trouble with quality control right now. The recently awarded construction bids for the next segment of I-74 is 10.2 miles long not the 6.2 miles as originally reported (even in this blog).

The astute Bob Malme, who runs a pretty darn good site tracking the progress and sometimes lack of progress on both I-73 and I-74 in North Carolina, caught the error. It seems that NCDOT wrote 10.4 kilometers in the letting documents (the actual length in miles) and it was dutifully converted to miles. He wrote:
I did some investigation looking at the Letting documents themselves. The numbers for the distance of the two contracts closely match up to the numbers I derived from the TIP. My total is 10.3, their's 10.2. But the distance NCDOT lists in their letting document is in kilometers. Hence their 10.2 km distance got translated to 6.2 miles. This does make the $104 million price tag for the project a little more reasonable. But again you would hope there…

Now with additional bloggers

You may have noticed this week that there have been a few posts to the blog made my people other than myself. Well, that's because I've invited two guest bloggers, Doug Kerr and Brian LeBlanc, to Sure, Why Not.

So please enjoy their insight, commentary, and whatever else they may bring to the blog.

Cinco de Mayo New England Trip

Yesterday, I decided to take a roadtrip around some of the neighboring New England states, particularly Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The weather was fantastic in order to take the opportunity to go, mid 60s and sunny. One of my favorite times of year to visit New England is during the spring, when plant life and people begin to wake up from their winterlong slumber.

Route (from Albany, NY and back): I-787, NY 787, NY 32, US 4, NY 142, NY 40, NY 67, NY 22, NY 313, VT 313, VT 7A, Kelly Stand Rd., VT 100, VT 30, VT 35, VT 103, VT 100, US 4, VT 12, US 5, US 4, NH 127, NH 132, US 3, NH 11A, NH 107, US 3, NH 11B, NH 11, US 3, NH 106, I-393, I-93, I-89, NH 13, MA 13, MA 119, MA 111, MA 2, I-190, MA 140, MA 62, MA 31, MA 122A, MA 122, MA 148, MA 67, MA 19, CT 19, CT 319, CT 190, US 5, I-91, I-90, Berkshire Spur, I-87, I-787

Notes:

Clinched US 4 from end-to-end, finally. I was missing a few sections in New Hampshire, between NH 104 and NH 127. NH 13, MA 13, MA 19, CT 19 and CT 319…

2 hurt as vehicles on New York State Thruway hit by quarry blast debris

This has not a good week for high school band students traveling by bus to competitions. First, there was the accident outside of Philadelphia as referenced at http://surewhynotnow.blogspot.com/2007/05/tour-bustractor-trailer-crash-closes-pa.html. On Friday, limestone from the nearby quarry owned by Albany, NY-based Callanan Industries, went wayward and pelted a charter bus with 52 people traveling down the New York Thruway near Amsterdam, NY. The bus was traveling from the northeastern Connecticut town of Grosvenordale to the bustling metropolis of Toronto (news reports on the radio that I heard mentioned Niagara Falls as opposed to Toronto).


Two girls were taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam for examination as a result of the 80 pound boulder that had struck the bus. One girl had injuries to her neck and back, and the other girl's injuries were not disclosed at this time. Another car was hit by another rock from the same quarry, and the driver of the car, Colin Sed…

Vermont 251 Club

Entering the Town of Sunderland on Kelley Stand Rd.


Some of you may be aware of county collecting and the tracking site for counties, which is http://www.mob-rule.com/counties/. I tend to visit the county collecting site, and if I am in a new area, I will go bonkers for county collecting. This is because it encourages myself and others to visit places around the country that they would otherwise not have visited. Canada has counties as well, but I have not found a similar map for Canadian counties. However, being a resident of Albany, NY, and having clinched most counties in a radius of hundreds of miles (the island counties of Massachusetts mock me though), I needed something to whet my appetite.


Last year, I stumbled upon the Vermont 251 Club, while reading the yearly Vermont travel guide. To my understanding, the Vermont 251 Club was founded in the 1950s to encourage people to visit every city and town in the State of Vermont. There are 251 of these cities and towns. Some are …

PA Updates

It took me about two months to do, but I finished a pretty big PA update over two parts. I enjoyed this update for a few reason first. It cleared me of two years worth of my own photos to add. But also because of the number of new features that were added.

So here's a review:

I added a new feature entitled, "Pennsylvania's Engineering Marvels". It opens with three features, the Kinzua Viaduct, the Tunkhannock Viaduct, and Roebling's Aqueduct. Three bridges that were major accomplishments of their time. The Kinzua Viaduct has a sad history as the 2003 tornado that severely damaged the structure and the impact to the local tourism business it has since made. As always, time will tell on the direction of this feature but it will include things beyond bridges.

I added two new covered bridges from Central PA that I took in 2005 for a trip to State College. I even added a few of my own Keystone's that I took over the past two years.

As always there were plenty…

SCDOT names new director

The SCDOT named Buck Limehouse of Charleston as its new director Tuesday Night. Limehouse, 68, fills the position that was vacated by the embattled former director Betty Mabry last December.

Limehouse has experience with SCDOT as he was named its first commission chairman in 1994. He held that job until 1999. Limehouse's accomplishments as commission chair include the formation of the State Infrastructure Bank which is a source of money for important projects throughout the state and he led the purchase of Sandy Island as compensation for the construction of the Conway Bypass and Carolina Bays Parkway. The 9,167 acre island was preserved from development as a result.

The announcement of Limehouse's hire has drawn many compliments from state officials. Because he is a wealthy real estate developer, he is seen as an outsider, even with his past experience with the DOT.

Story: Officials cheer new DOT director ---Myrle Beach Sun News

I-73 Wetland Proposal Delayed to May 18

SCDOT's wetland mitigation proposal to the SC Department of Natural Resources has been delayed two weeks to May 18. The proposal was to be announced on May 3.

Both the DOT and the DNR said that they weren't close enough to an agreement, but they continue to work towards a resolution. Both agencies want to have as detailed and complete a proposal as possible.

At the same time, the Heritage Trust Board is preparing a report on the impact the I-73 project, specifically a bridge near SC 917 that crosses the Little Pee Dee Heritage Preserve. The highway and bridge would impact 27 acres.

After the DOT's proposal is presented, a special meeting of the Heritage Trust Board will be called to review and consider the DOT's proposal. In the past, the Heritage Trust Board and the DNR have expressed concern on the environmental impact of the Interstate, but they have expressed a strong interest in working with the DOT because of the necessity of the project to the region.

The Trust…