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Old September 5th, 2008, 09:30 PM   #2861
ADCS
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My (extensive) solution:

- Extend I-55 and I-57 through Chicago following the I-94 corridor to Milwaukee
- Renumber I-43 from I-39 to Milwaukee to I-139 or I-239
- Renumber I-43 from Milwaukee to Green Bay to I-57
- Renumber US 41 from Milwaukee to the Canadian border I-55

Doing this, you violate no numbering rules, you reserve both I-41 and I-43 for more substantial interstates, you turn I-55 into a truly coast-to-border highway, and you preserve the distinction of I-55 and I-57 since Illinois; that is, I-55 serving the interior cities, while I-57 is a cutoff between two major cities (Memphis and Chicago, Milwaukee and Green Bay).
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Old September 5th, 2008, 09:33 PM   #2862
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What happens with the I-94 east of Milwaukee then? (in Indiana and Michigan). Renumber it to I-96 and renumber the current I-96 to I-98? Seems like a lot of money. Caltrans can't even afford to implement exit numbering.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 12:17 AM   #2863
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Uh oh.

Federal Highway Fund About to Run Out of Money

Quote:
WASHINGTON — An important account in the federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money this month, which could hamper completion of road and bridge construction projects across the country, Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said on Friday.
And the cause:

Quote:
The trust fund’s highway account is being rapidly depleted because Americanshave reacted to the high price of gasoline by driving less, Ms. Peters said. The fund gets its money from federal excise taxes on motor fuel: 18.4 cents a gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents a gallon on diesel. But for months, Americans have been driving fewer miles than before it has been costing them more.
This will not work at all, nor should it.

Quote:
One possible solution would be to transfer money to the highway account from the separate account that the trust fund maintains to finance mass transit projects. That account is much smaller, though, and in any case, Ms. Peters said such a transfer would merely rob Peter to pay Paul. Lawmakers from large cities that rely on trust-fund aid for their transit systems could be expected to resist a transfer.
The need for replacement infrastructure in the United States is fairly obvious. It is only going to become a more pressing issue as time goes on. Of any .gov spending, I would think that infrastructure would be a priority, as it has positive economic effects across the board. The question then becomes, where do we get the money? We spend more than we take on as tax revenue already, and the indebtedness caused by entitlements + various foreign excursions are mounting. I would hope that funding is secured to complete and build additional capacity in our transportation system, from mass transit to effective highway networks.

Does anyone have information as to what current projects would be affected most by a lack of Highway Fund money?

Last edited by Grayproduct; September 6th, 2008 at 12:18 AM. Reason: link
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Old September 6th, 2008, 12:27 AM   #2864
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That happens with low taxes. Europe is the other way around though. Only 15% of government income through automobiles are actually used for roads in the Netherlands. I never understand how the US DOT can finance projects, because the fuel taxes remain low for years, yet labor, material and fuel costs only increased. I am especially worried about special structures like bridges. I doubt if most of them were build in the 1960's to last longer than 50 years. They maybe need to replace or reinforce a lot of highway structures, which costs a lot of money.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 01:33 AM   #2865
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Originally Posted by LtBk View Post
Did you report it? Such people shouldn't be driving.
Common in Seattle. Cutting people off, not signaling, passing on the right, cruising on the left, stopping in front of the stop line when waiting for a left turn, etc. All common practices. I want to move to Britain.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 02:46 AM   #2866
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayproduct View Post
The need for replacement infrastructure in the United States is fairly obvious. It is only going to become a more pressing issue as time goes on. Of any .gov spending, I would think that infrastructure would be a priority, as it has positive economic effects across the board. The question then becomes, where do we get the money? We spend more than we take on as tax revenue already, and the indebtedness caused by entitlements + various foreign excursions are mounting. I would hope that funding is secured to complete and build additional capacity in our transportation system, from mass transit to effective highway networks.

Does anyone have information as to what current projects would be affected most by a lack of Highway Fund money?
What can they do about it though? Upping the fuel tax will kill the career of everyone in office (if the masses don't murder them first). Upping any taxes means that the party in power won't be next election.

I just hope the democrats don't bring this up. The republicans are already promising lower taxes. I don't get why it's so hard for everyone to understand that in order to have stuff you have to pay for it.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 03:03 AM   #2867
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I think it comes down to having to cut spending in some areas (i.e. entitlements/military), raising taxes on consumption rather than production, private investment of some sorts, and a willingness of users to come back to reality as far as you were saying. A difficult proposition for sure, but it seems like the only way. I do think most people undervalue the most basic elements of our civilization, and in this case that would be efficient transportation networks.

Politicians are of course limited in their actions by their constituents short termed goals, and yes, of course the issue becomes looking beyond our collective nose.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 06:43 AM   #2868
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADCS View Post
My (extensive) solution:

- Extend I-55 and I-57 through Chicago following the I-94 corridor to Milwaukee
- Renumber I-43 from I-39 to Milwaukee to I-139 or I-239
- Renumber I-43 from Milwaukee to Green Bay to I-57
- Renumber US 41 from Milwaukee to the Canadian border I-55

Doing this, you violate no numbering rules, you reserve both I-41 and I-43 for more substantial interstates, you turn I-55 into a truly coast-to-border highway, and you preserve the distinction of I-55 and I-57 since Illinois; that is, I-55 serving the interior cities, while I-57 is a cutoff between two major cities (Memphis and Chicago, Milwaukee and Green Bay).
I-55 would not be a good number for a northward extension in that it does *NOT* end at I-90/94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) in Chicago - it ends several blocks to the east at Lake Shore Drive. Also, the ramp from the 'inbound' Stevenson Expressway (I-55) to the northbound Dan Ryan (I-90/94) is just one lane. (It's southbound Dan Ryan to southwestbound Stevenson counterpart is two lanes.)

OTOH, I-57's ramp connections with the Dan Ryan (I-94) to the north are about as direct as a direct feed can get.

I consider I-43 to be OK as it is currently numbered. Interestingly, what is now I-43 was originally planned to be I-57 and its original planned routing was to follow WI 57 between Milwaukee and Green Bay. A neat little tidbit here, the State of Wisconsin was able to develop a recreational trail along the west side of WI 57 between Kiel and New Holstein, WI without having to acquire any new right-of-way - the existing two-lane highway sits where the northbound side of that never-built I-57 was to go and the trail is on the state-owned right-of-way that was reserved for its never-built southbound side.

Again, I am not as 'AR' about the sanctity of the I-route numbering system plan as others are - I am perfectly fine with a 'logical' numbering extension, even if it would otherwise deviate from that 'plan'. Also, there is a severe shortage of odd (north-south) two-digit I-route numbers in the eastern USA (there are NONE available above '67') and a huge surplus of unused 'odd' two-digit numbers available in the west. If a new north-south I-route were to be developed in the east, its number will have to 'violate' that plan. Because of that, I would not want to assign an unused number without a good reason and just to put up pretty signs on US 41 in Wisconsin is not, IMHO, a good enough reason.

Available 'odd' two-digit numbers that I am aware of are: 1, 3, 7, 9, 11, 13, 21, 23, 31, 33, 41, 47, 51, 53, 61, 63 and 67.

Mike
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Old September 6th, 2008, 12:29 PM   #2869
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Caltrans wants to use I-7 or I-9 for State Route 99 through the San Joaquin Valley. I also read something about renumbering US 101 in California to I-3 or something, but some people in Georgia also want I-3 for a new proposal; the Savannah - Knoxville freeway (named after the 3rd Infantry Division).
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Old September 6th, 2008, 02:09 PM   #2870
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Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
Again, I am not as 'AR' about the sanctity of the I-route numbering system plan as others are - I am perfectly fine with a 'logical' numbering extension, even if it would otherwise deviate from that 'plan'. Also, there is a severe shortage of odd (north-south) two-digit I-route numbers in the eastern USA (there are NONE available above '67') and a huge surplus of unused 'odd' two-digit numbers available in the west. If a new north-south I-route were to be developed in the east, its number will have to 'violate' that plan. Because of that, I would not want to assign an unused number without a good reason and just to put up pretty signs on US 41 in Wisconsin is not, IMHO, a good enough reason.

Available 'odd' two-digit numbers that I am aware of are: 1, 3, 7, 9, 11, 13, 21, 23, 31, 33, 41, 47, 51, 53, 61, 63 and 67.
I'm not AR about the numbering either, but I-41 is far and away the best number for this route. That it fits the pattern is a bonus!

I know that any new N-S interstate in the east would violate that numbering, however, I-41 gives the least amount of renumbering in the Mid West and is common sense, and you can always recycle numbers used in the North East in the South East (see I-76, I-84, I-86, I-88 in both Eastern and Western varieties...) and dare I say, seeing as I-41 is a fairly short mid-western interstate, the number could be reused in the New England, New York, New Jersey area, or likewise the South, anyway.

I-67 is proposed in four places (three of them fitting the grid and you could use that number in two of them with the two MI ones being able to be sorted with adjusting the route and adding some 3dis) - Montgomery, AL to Tallahassee, FL; Indianapolis, IN up US 31 into MI; US131 in MI and the US219 corridor in PA/NY. Ideally in the East, if you're going to have a new N-S 2di you can think about numbering it 83, 87, 89, 91, 93, 97 if it's in the South (and 97 if it's in New England as well), or you could go for the crazy options - 1, 3, 7, 11, 13, 21, 23, 31, 33 that wouldn't be anywhere near their rightful place (and would allow them to also be built in their right place). The other thing you could go for is multiplexes along E-W routes so the number kind of jumps (eg using I-83 for I-99, having multiplexed along I-76, then again extending I-97 up I-83 would free up that number to be used for the PA proposed I-67 or another route, which is about the only difficult to number proposed N-S interstate at the moment. I-99 could just stay where it is).

I-61 and I-63 have also been proposed in their right places (MS and AL). From what I gather you would give these, and the I-67s a weird number (these are all a lot harder to renumber as an extension of an existing route than I-41 which is silly enough) just so that the East could have the next highest numbers - it's going to be seriously out anyway, why not have a I-2x number rather than an I-6x?

I also don't see why 3di numbers can't be used for new - if in the East things like I-135 in KS, I-380 in IA and so on would be 2dis (I-476 and I-390 NY (which may become part of I-99) being the exceptions of 2di-esque routes in the east with a 3di numbers).

Taking I-41 'out of the equation' isn't much of a problem. I-41 is the clear front runner for the US 41 freeway (or HPC 57). In fact it was nearly written into law that corridor 57 (which was the next number sequentially) would be numbered I-41, but then it got edited and that bit wasn't in the final version.

It's also worth pointing out that there aren't that many proposed N-S interstates in the East (perhaps because they have pretty much all they'd ever need in the NE). And the South is able to reuse numbers used in NY and New England (and either I-83 or I-97 could be eradicated by the other, freeing up a number).

There's not really a problem, you are basically creating one as you hate the idea of I-41 along US41 and want to waste millions of dollars allowing your fantasy renumbering plan. I-41 doesn't remove the possibility of the good things of such a plan happening (ie turning I-94 into an odd 2di), but it doesn't require it either.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 06:17 PM   #2871
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I guess that we'll just agree to disagree - I like the number '57' because it is a logical extension of an existing route number and you like '41' because it 'fits the plan'.

Under your numbering idea, how would you (re)route the number '41' through Milwaukee County?

Then, let's say that the 'I-41' signs are posted on I-94 southward from Milwaukee, what would you do with that route number as you approach Chicagoland?

Mike
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Old September 6th, 2008, 08:04 PM   #2872
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
What happens with the I-94 east of Milwaukee then? (in Indiana and Michigan). Renumber it to I-96 and renumber the current I-96 to I-98? Seems like a lot of money. Caltrans can't even afford to implement exit numbering.
It stays the same. Nothing wrong with multiplexing I-55, I-57 and I-94, though it would be uncommon for such a long distance to have three route numbers. Only confusing part about that would be that exit numbers would be going in the wrong direction for a while.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 08:12 PM   #2873
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But wouldn't you have a multiplex of 4 road numbers near downtown Chicago then? I-90 and I-94 are already multiplexed there, let alone to add 2 more Interstate numberrs.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 08:21 PM   #2874
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Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
But wouldn't you have a multiplex of 4 road numbers near downtown Chicago then? I-90 and I-94 are already multiplexed there, let alone to add 2 more Interstate numberrs.
True, but I don't think that would be confusing. People tend to follow the route number they're on. Multiplexing is common and people are used to it.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 08:44 PM   #2875
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Yeah, multiplexing in the US is much more extensive than compared to Europe. A concurrency of 10 miles is already seen as "long" here. Compare that to the I-80/I-90 overlap between Chicago and Cleveland.
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Old September 7th, 2008, 04:09 AM   #2876
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Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
That happens with low taxes. Europe is the other way around though. Only 15% of government income through automobiles are actually used for roads in the Netherlands. I never understand how the US DOT can finance projects, because the fuel taxes remain low for years, yet labor, material and fuel costs only increased. I am especially worried about special structures like bridges. I doubt if most of them were build in the 1960's to last longer than 50 years. They maybe need to replace or reinforce a lot of highway structures, which costs a lot of money.
I really really hope this will not impact the current round of projects under construction. WSDOT is going to have a record number of construction projects in 2009.

For future projects, I bet the I-5 reconstruction will be put off by the lack of funding. WSDOT already said that funds aren't available and the I-5 reconstruction would be around year 2017. I'm guessing that project would be pushed back even more. Btw, I-5 in Seattle was built in the 1960s and is 20 years past its design life.
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Old September 7th, 2008, 02:36 PM   #2877
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I-470 in Wheeling, WV:

[IMG]http://i38.************/23vdf2p.jpg[/IMG]
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Old September 7th, 2008, 05:44 PM   #2878
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I guess that we'll just agree to disagree - I like the number '57' because it is a logical extension of an existing route number and you like '41' because it 'fits the plan'.
no you're over exaggerating the logicalness and ease of extending yours and completely misrepresenting my view. That it fits the plan is a bonus, but it's a free number, with no need to do anything but change US41 signs with I-41 signs (and you could do that fairly gradually). It's still highway 41. No one gets confused as their local freeway (unless they live on I-894) has changed number.

Under your numbering idea, how would you (re)route the number '41' through Milwaukee County?[/quote]WI341 (I believe that's the number for Miller Park Way, though WI175 would also work - that's at the other end of the non-freeway route of US41) for the old route, reroute the 41 to the south and west sides of that freeway box - I've said that at least once already.
Quote:
Then, let's say that the 'I-41' signs are posted on I-94 southward from Milwaukee, what would you do with that route number as you approach Chicagoland?
renumber it - you'd have to change many of the signs in the area anyway. is something like IL410 free? Then again, even if WI signs it, it could end on the border with IL. What's I'm suggesting is that IL isn't forced by WI to do quite a bit of renumbering unless they want to. What would you do with WI-57? The amount of renumbering close parallel routes that would have a clash is about the same in both, but only if IL wants I-41!

I really don't mind I-57 for that route, other than the fact that I-41 is perfect for it, has less problems (most of which are add on problems) and requires a lot less in signage costs.
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Old September 7th, 2008, 11:42 PM   #2879
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I-85 and friends, Lawrenceville GA to Cary NC

I-85 and friends,
Lawrenceville GA to Cary NC

Part 1 of ???


Over the past few weeks I've been driving back and forth between my home near Atlanta and a jobsite in Cary, NC. I've taken a whole bunch of photos-- now let's see how I do as far as actually posting them.

I've always lived in Atlanta, and my mom's family is from Hampton and Newport News VA, so I've traveled this route countless times over the past nearly-fifty years. Before I started this time I composed a narrative in my head with the intention of illustrating it with photo, maps, and commentary, but what I noticed on this trip didn't always jibe with my narrative. I wonder how it'll turn out...

Also, there are quite a few items that I speculate about instead of making the effort to find out for sure. IMO, speculating is more fun.

Anyway, this won't be as interesting as (for instance) X-type's trip through Italy and Croatia , but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway.


==========================================================

OK, starting close to home, entering I-85 from the CD system at Sugarloaf Parkway, of which I've posted before. Note the please-don't-cut-in-front-of-18 wheelers sign: the first step in dealing with stupid drivers is to admit that there's a problem. There are several of these signs along I-85 in Georgia, but I didn't see any on I-75 south of Atlanta when I drove it this week.


The barrels along the median barrier are for work in progress to extend the HOV lane through the I-85-GA 316 interchange. Barely visible in this photo is construction for an additional lane on the right, presumably to allow termination of the HOV lane in the usual manner: opening the HOV lane to all traffic, then terminating the extra general traffic lane at a new lane-drop exit a mile or so later. There's a pretty long retaining wall going in to make room for the extra lane. It would be nice if the HOV were extended to and beyond the I-985 split, but doing it right would require a pretty major reconstruction of the interchange.
http://www.google.com/maphp?hl=en&q=...17681&t=h&z=15

=========================================================

Between I-985 and GA 20, I-85 has three lanes northbound but two southbound. Before the third lane opened there were huge backups on I-85 from traffic exiting at GA 20 to access the enormous Mall of Georgia and the sprawling commercial area surrounding it. Originally the plan was to add a lane to I-85 in both directions, but, as I pointed out at a meeting of our MPO, adding a southbound lane would've created a bottleneck at I-985 where none existed, in direct contradiction of the adopted policy of attempting to resolve bottlenecks rather than making them worse.


==========================================================

Here's a surprise: I got off of I-85 at the GA 20 exit to meet a coworker and pick up plans for our project and found this. The reflectors aren't shining in the afternoon sun-- they're lighted. At the time, there was a short in the white lights on the right, causing them to flash erratically-- I took three photos, but in one the white lights weren't on. To my surprise, the short has since been fixed. Ironically, I was so mesmerized by the novelty of the lights that I took the sharp turn at the end of the ramp way too fast. Oops!


The I-85-GA 20 interchange was rebuilt around 2000 from a diamond to a four-loop with CD's on I-85. Sadly, construction of the southbound 85 to eastbound 20 loop erased the quaint ruins of an old mill and the old bridge that once carried GA 20 over the creek. Progress marches on, I guess, but the ramp is barely used. I wish the old mill was there instead of the ramp. In fact, I still feel guilty about it-- I was probably the only civilian who knew in advance how useless that ramp would be, but I didn't make time in my busy schedule to raise hell about it as I did on so many other issues back in the day.
http://www.google.com/maphp?hl=en&q=...17681&t=h&z=15

=========================================================

Except for a few bifurcations, I-85 in Georgia north of Atlanta is just like this: 2x2 with a 60 foot open grassed median. Unusually, it was built all at once rather than in phases, opening in 1965 or so. That would be because there was no parallel old road per se-- this was an entirely new corridor.


Egg cutters are being installed on the entire length of I-85 where an open median still exists. These are different from the others I've seen in that...

1. There's a hefty concrete foundation about three feet (1 m) wide. Embedded into the foundation are tubular galvanized metal sleeves about a foot (30 cm) long, with four rebar studs welded to the sides and protruding downward. After the foundation is poured, the posts are inserted into the sleeves. Since I observed this while driving by at 70 mph, I don't know how thick the foundation is or whether the rebar studs are surrounded by concrete or simply driven into the dirt. I guess the idea behind the sleeves is that damaged posts can be easily removed and replaced, but that assumes that the foundation wasn't damaged as well.

2. There's an extra top strand of cable much higher than the others. Surely this extra strand presents a great hazard to motorcyclists.

3. While the other egg cutters I've seen have the eyes staggered on each side of each post, these have all of the eyes on one side, and the posts themselves are staggered to each side of the desired plane of the cables. This causes the posts to appear to be more erratically spaced than they actually are. Between this and the difficulty of properly aligning the embedded sleeves before and during concrete placement, the posts end up unevenly spaced and out of plumb, presenting a rather crappy appearance.

=========================================================

At overcrossing bridges, the existing W beam guardrails are being removed and replaced by new ones in line with the egg cutters. I guess the designers expect vehicles to contact the cable rail, then slide neatly along it and make a seamless transition to the W beam guardrail. Gee, I dunno. To me it would've made more sense to just run the egg cutters without interruption and leave the W beam guardrails in place.


==========================================================

The previous photo was taken at a non-interchange bridge. This and all of the others are original equipment, but all of the interchange bridges have been replaced in this decade by new structures providing (mostly) a three lane roadway on the bridge and large side clearances beneath, as shown here.


This is the opposite of what was done on I-75 in southern Georgia, where the original interchange bridges were retained and most of the non-interchange bridges replaced. WTF? The same thing has been done on some mid '60's interstates in Georgia, but not others, and AFAIK nowhere as completely as on this stretch of I-85.

=========================================================

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this section of 2x2 interstate is what you don't see. This section has been on the books for widening to 2x3 for a long time, and was even among the projects to be funded by former Governor Barnes' ill-fated $8 billion bond program in 2002. The egg cutter installation isn't cripplingly expensive, but it's not the kind of thing you'd build if you expected to tear it out anytime soon. Either the 2x3 widening is dead for a while, or perhaps the widening is to take place to the outboard of the existing lanes instead of in the median, which seems unlikely since (a) it's never been done before, and (b) it would require replacement of the non-interchange bridges in order to retain a standard median width and align the added lanes with the old.

==========================================================

Much-patched concrete pavement at a bifurcation. All of this segment of I-85 was originally built of concrete, but various segments were overlaid with asphalt starting many years ago. The surviving concrete pavement looks horrible but rides surprisingly smoothly.


Georgia's interstate bifurcations tend to be several miles long and quite wide, as shown here. The key aspect is that they are usually placed in such a way that no roadway-- interchange or not-- needs to cross over the extra-wide median. In this case a local road passes under the interstate; since two bridges for I-85 over this road would've been required anyway, there's little if any additional expense incurred, so the opportunity was taken to provide a long bifurcation. There are exceptions-- Georgia became less reluctant to bridge overwide medians as standards increased in the '70's, and there are some shorter and narrower bifurcations where needed to fit the topography. Still, this is different from what some other states do, as you'll see in my next post.

Last edited by Tom 958; September 8th, 2008 at 11:56 PM. Reason: readability-- let me know if you like/don't like it :)
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Old September 8th, 2008, 03:53 AM   #2880
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Here's some random shots I took the other day while driving from my home near Milwaukee to Minocqua, WI (very Northern part of the state).


I'm not sure what those lines are for.
Those lines are for measuring speed form the air, you'll see the lines spaced out every 1/8, 1/4, or 1/2 mile, for a few miles so that an observer in the air can "count" how many you pass in say a set time period and get your speed. (or count how long it takes you to pass form one to the other)

Usually near a sign that says "speed checked by aircraft" or somesuch.
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