Skip to main content

Who you callin' useless?

What do all these roads have in common?
  • US 264 in Wake County
  • US 258 in Onslow County
  • US 117 in Wilson County
  • US 311 in Rockingham County
  • NC 39 in Johnston County
They 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 only have to follow one road.

For example, do you need to head from Raleigh to Wilson or Greenville? Take US 264. Coming south on I-95 and need to get to Goldsboro? US 117's your ticket. US 258 connects Jacksonville and Kinston, and US 311 does the same between Winston-Salem and Eden (or it would if the signage would catch up with the map). Traffic that's going between those cities probably doesn't care that the road they're following is also US 64, 264, NC 24 or NC 135, much the same that traffic on I-85 from Charlotte to Durham doesn't care that I-40's also on the road for 40 miles or so.

It doesn't apply to absolutely everything. The formerly- (and still largely-) useless multiplex of NC 24 and 27 connects so many different places to Charlotte that it's pretty pointless; the only people that would use one road but not the other would be NC 24 traffic from Fayetteville to Charlotte, all 141 miles of it. Likewise, I'm not sure too much traffic heads from Eden to...well, wherever NC 700 ends, and NC 902 in Chatham County literally connects Pittsboro to nowhere. But overall, those useless multiplexes might not be so useless the next time you have to give directions to someone who does best only following one road.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The story on how the unbuilt US 40 Expressway in Brownsville took 40 years to complete.

For nearly four decades, the four lane US 40 just east of Brownsville came to an abrupt end - shown in the photo above - at Grindstone Road in Redstone Township.   In the late 1960s, what was then the Pennsylvania Division of Highways (PennDOH) extended a new four lane alignment of US 40 eastwards from Broadway Street slightly over one mile to Grindstone Road where an incomplete diamond interchange was built.  Earlier in the decade, PennDOH had built a four lane US 40 in Washington County into Brownsville complete with a new crossing over the Monongahela River known as the Lane Bane Bridge.  This new highway and bridge allowed US 40 to bypass the older Intercounty Bridge and downtown Brownsville. 

After this new highway opened, nothing would happen to it for nearly forty years.  US 40 traffic would use the ramps for this planned diamond interchange and then jog on Grindstone Road briefly before continuing towards Uniontown on the original National Road. 
What is unknown (at least to…

The story of the Boy Scout Ramps on Interstate 79 North in NW Pennsylvania

If you are traveling on Interstate 79 North of Pittsburgh, you may notice the remnants of a set of off and on ramps at mile 100 just north of Exit 99 (US 422).  There's a story behind these ramps.  Forty years ago, these ramps were built specifically for two Boy Scout Jamboree's that were held at Moraine State Park - 1973 and 1977.  The ramps purpose were to provide access to the north shore of Lake Arthur where the bulk of the festivities and campsite for the Jamboree were located.  (Lawrence County Memories has a great write up and map of the festivities on its site.)

Not long after the Jamboree ended the ramps were abandoned.  There are still remnants of the Boy Scout Ramps today.



Above: Sattelite view of the Boy Scout Jamboree Ramps. 
Below: A view of the ramps from I-79 South.



The google street view image above gives a view along West Park Road of where the set of ramps intersected the highway.  The ramps provided direct access to North Shore Drive (which is the right tur…

The few clues of the Northern Durham Parkway

Sometimes when you look through a box of maps for the first time in five years, you come across something you may have easily over looked.  Such was the case when I found a 2004 (so rather recent) map of Raleigh.  This map was made by the Dolph Map Company for WakeMed.  In the Northwestern corner of Wake County, there were two items to the map showing roads that are still not in existence 13 years later.

The road is the Northern Durham Parkway - this is a proposed 19 mile highway from US 501 north of Durham to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.  The first proposals for this highway date back to 1967 when Eno Drive-Gorman Road was listed on the Durham Area Thoroughfare Plan. (1)  Other proposals called the highway the Northwest and Northeast Durham Loop. (2)  The route would serve as a northern and eastern bypass of Durham almost serving as a near loop.  The route was fought vigorously for three decades by the Eno River Association citing concerns for the the Eno River, nearby n…