Skip to main content

Freeway Signing in Greensboro: The Saga Continues

Today's Raleigh N&O's Road Worrier column is devoted to driver confusion caused by the re-signing along Greensboro freeways due to I-40 being put back on its old alignment:

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1660986.html

In the article an NCDOT traffic engineer, Kelvin Jordan, admits the I-40 East interchange with I-73 on the west side of town is confusing with those needing to stay on I-40 having to exit the main highway. However, since the interchange was designed when I-40 was to use the Loop, it's understandable. He also says that NCDOT is considering removing the Business 85 designation through Greensboro in the future as well. From the article:

"Getting through Greensboro will be easier now, Jordan said, with just one I-40 and no Business 40.

But DOT may never finish trying to untangle Greensboro's Urban Loop.

There are more plans to simplify markers at the three main approaches to the city. And there's still the confusion of two freeways called 85. DOT could decide one day to get rid of Business 85, too.

'I won't say that change won't come at some point," Jordan said. "That is something we will look at, but it won't be changed in the next year or two.'"

See the URL for the entire article.

Commentary
I was interviewed for the piece and suggested they should have given Business 85 perhaps a 3di number, in the first place since having two highways with the same number, is naturally confusing. I guess I wasn't confused enough as a driver to be quoted for the article, however.

Business 85 was conceived when I-85 and I-40 were to use the Loop, leaving the freeway east of Death Valley with no designation. With the I-40 re-routing this is no longer the case and only adds another route between the US 29 and I-40 interchanges which, even with the rerouting of US 421 is still also I-40, US 29, US 70 and US 220. South of the I-40 split the Business 85 route does have other designations, US 29/70, for the three miles or so back to I-85.

The questions I would ask are: if an NCDOT traffic engineer is mentioning removing Business 85 sometime in the future, why was this not thought of, or thought of and not done, at the same time they were (I guess they still are) re-signing the original I-40 route? Isn't the new NCDOT supposed to be more efficient and cost sensitive?

My solution would try to solve two problems with one new route number and possibly provide NCDOT with additional money in the process. The 2 biggest with how the highways are signed now are that people are supposedly confused due to the two 85 routes, and drivers are also confused about how to get to US 220 South (Future I-73) from I-85 North. You can't get there on the I-85 Loop but have to exit onto Business 85 travel a mile or so north and then take the US 220 South exit. I would remove the Business 85 designation completely through Greensboro, I would then replace it south of US 220 with a new 3di, I-273 (To I-73, too obvious?) which would travel with US 29/70 to the US 220 exit and then back south on US 220 to the Loop and I-73. NCDOT could then claim interstate maintenance money for the route like they did by putting I-40 on its original alignment. As to the argument that the route is not up to modern interstate standards, so are parts of I-40 through Death Valley, yet the FHWA let NCDOT move I-40 back anyway. The Business 85 part was also marked as I-85 for decades.

Trying to figure out why NCDOT does the things it does is sometimes frustrating, but it always makes life interesting for those interested in roads in North Carolina.

Comments

Anonymous said…
They should have signed it I-685 for the business 85 in Greensboro. Since it is a loop and it will make the road more qualifying for federal money.

The sign heading to Greensboro from I-85 should read "I-685 North, US 29 North, US 70 East (TO US 220 South/I-73 South)

BUT the one thing of all.. they should have signed I-73 along US 220 anyways (even if some stretch is not interstate standards)
Bob Malme said…
Looks like there's some progress on completing the signage work. I-73/US 421 in both directions was closed during the midday hours today for what was described as sign installation. This may mean the last I-40/I-73 sign on the SW portion of the Loop has been updated.

Also in looking at the traffic cameras on the I-85 portion, I believe that one of the former green signs that had both I-40 and I-85 on it, now just has a centered I-85. I guess they decided not to waste the signage already up there by replacing it with a stand alone I-85 shield on a signpost.
Bob Malme said…
The I-73 closings were lanes near Wendover Avenue. The I-85 sign was heading southbound on the portion north of the US 421 interchange.

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 49; The Golden Chain Highway (CA 41 north to CA 16)

Last year I traveled California State Route 49 from CA 16 north to CA 89 in one continuous trip.  The prior two years I traveled the rest of CA 49 south to CA 41 in Oakhurst.  This blog post consists of photos of the highway from that time period and historical information about the southern part of CA 49.






This blog post is meant to be a continuation of the previous one I did regarding CA 49 from CA 16 north to CA 89.  A link to said blog post can be found below:

California State Route 49; The Golden Chain Highway (CA 16 north to CA 89)

As stated in the previous blog post; CA 49 is an approximately 295 mile long north/south highway which traverses the traditional Gold Rush Country of California.  While I intend to discuss county level historical alignments of CA 49 as I did in the first blog post I thought this would be a good place to discuss the backstory of highway. 

CA 49 was first signed in 1934 along a series of Legislative Route Numbers ("LRN") that were largely locate…

Throwback Thursday - April 26, 2018

This week's Throwback Thursday takes us to a throwback that never was. Interstate 291 was planned to be a loop around the west and north sides of Hartford, Connecticut, but for a number of reasons, such as community opposition and environmental issues put the kibosh on the proposal. However, there are a few places to check out parts of I-291 that were built, such as the existing stretch of I-291 in Windsor and Manchester. What was to be the interchange between I-84 and I-291 was built in Farmington, along with the ramps, but most of the ramps and through carriageways were never opened to the public. I visited in April 2008 and took some photos. In the distance, you can see the stack interchange with I-84 that was built but never put into operation.




Sources and Links:
Kurumi.com - I-291

Alaskan Way Viaduct Legacy Part 2; Alaskan Way, US Route 99 and the Alaskan Way Viaduct

Upon my arrival in downtown Seattle after taking the Bremerton-Seattle Ferry across Puget Sound I stopped to see the soon to be razed Alaskan Way Viaduct.  The Alaskan Way Viaduct is an elevated freeway and a former segment of US Route 99.  Interestingly US 99 is still signed at the southbound Viaduct Ramp located at Columbia Street and 1st Avenue in Pioneer Square.






This blog entry is the second in a series of two related to transportation in Seattle related to the Alaskan Way Viaduct.  The first entry in the series can be found here:

Alaskan Way Viaduct Legacy Part 1; Alki Point, Duwamish Head and Railroad Avenue

Continuing from the previous blog entry I mentioned Railroad Avenue as a major planked wood road corridor spanning Elliott Bay and the Waterfront of downtown Seattle.  By the early 20th century it was fairly obvious the wooden plank road was woefully inadequate for Automobile traffic. When US Route 99 was plotted out in 1926 it appears to have likely used the following route …