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Old February 15th, 2010, 12:17 AM   #5261
ChrisZwolle
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Bailey Yard is the world’s largest railroad classification yard. Owned and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad, Bailey Yard is located in North Platte, Nebraska. The yard is named after former Union Pacific President Ed H. Bailey.

The gigantic Bailey Yard covers a total expanse of 2,850 acres (12 km²) and is over 8 miles (13 km) in length and 2 miles wide (3.2 km). The yard is made up of some 315 miles (507 km) of track, including 18 receiving and 16 departure tracks.

Bailey Yard handles over 10,000 railroad cars every day. Approximately 3,000 cars are sorted daily in the yard’s two humps and 114 bowl tracks. Because of the enormous amount of products that pass through Bailey Yard, Union Pacific describes the yard as an “economic barometer of America.”
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Old February 15th, 2010, 06:50 AM   #5262
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Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
The roadway surfaces of some of the interstates in the high plains can look a bit threadbare, but they apparently still give a very smooth ride. The weather there can be very rugged (thus the 'threadbare' look), however traffic is light enough that the surface doesn't get bashed to hell like it can in other places. Same with the non-interstate two-laners.

For accommodations, check several of the discount motel chains, there are usually one or two of these motels in all but the smallest of cities. Super 8, Days Inn, Motel 6 and other similar places are well represented in that region and are decent. Rates are usually in the $35-50/night range.

At Grand Island, NE and on westward along US 30 is the World's busiest freight railroad. Union Pacific's mainline carries 120-150 BIG trains/day (15-20 minute headways in both directions) from a junction about 50 km to the west of Grand Island (Gibbon, NE) and on westward most of the way across Nebraska. There is a new public observation platform by their largest in the World yard at North Platte, NE. NE 2 closely follows BNSF's access to the Wyoming coalfields and their railroad there is also quite busy, but not to UP's extent. Their mainlines cross in Grand Island.

When traveling northward between the Quad Cities to MStP, by all means cross over to Wisconsin at Dubuque, IA and follow the eastern Great River Road (most of it is WI 35, but it uses several different numbered routes between Dubuque and Prairie du Chein, WI) along the river to US 10 at Prescott, WI, crossing the river into Minnesota there - STUNNING scenery!

Also, consider following US 30 across Iowa, it goes through many of those neat little towns and you can then follow US 67 and 52 from Clinton, IA to Dubuque, IA.

July and August are a bit late in the year for the really wild plains thunderstorm season.

If you are in the MStP area when the Twins are home (American League baseball), you might want to go to a game to check out their new downtown Minneapolis stadium, opening this year.

Enjoy!

Mike
The middle of the U.S. can be a great tourist destination. Yes, for fun thunderstorms, visit in late May and June. Just be aware that some of this "fun" can suddenly become serious with tornadoes.

Beyond the weather, visit Mt. Rushmore, Roosevelt Park in ND, the badlands of SD, and if that isn't enough, there are plenty of casino locations around the region.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 02:08 PM   #5263
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Some of the freeways in LA County are pretty wrecked! They go to pretty much everywhere, but the surfaces are pretty rough!
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Old February 15th, 2010, 05:32 PM   #5264
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Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
Lol...I beg to differ. Texas is where it's at when it comes to roads....Texas is the best.


Probably no surprise that I would say something like that.
You ain't kidding! I always know when I've crossed into Texas because the roadways are suddenly smooth and awesome. Texas is like the Michaelangelo of highways!
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Old February 15th, 2010, 07:58 PM   #5265
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More diverging diamond interchanges :)

New design could ease Gwinnett bottlenecks
http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett/new...se-304470.html

A revolutionary highway interchange design could cut delays at two notorious Gwinnett sites by as much as half.

Plans are under way to reconfigure interchanges along I-85 at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road to relieve the mile-long backups drivers face twice daily. The new design, called a diverging diamond, provides a freer flow of traffic by favoring left turns from the overpass onto the interstate.

If approved for construction, the interchanges would become among the first in the United States with the diamond design

"It's working great," said Don Saiko, project manager for the Missouri DOT, which completed the nation's first diverging diamond last June in Springfield. "The commuters say it has totally reduced their time."

Another diverging diamond is expected to be completed this year in Idaho.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates the Missouri interchange accommodates 600 left turns onto the freeway per hour per lane, twice that of those with the regular design.

The diverging diamond does carry a slight "freak-out factor," according to Mike Rushing, engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates, which has completed a study for the Jimmy Carter project.

The design allows right turns onto an on-ramp well before the overpass, but the remainder of the traffic then diverts into the left lanes at a signal light at the overpass entrance. By driving on the "wrong side" of the overpass, drivers can make an unimpeded left turn onto the freeway ramp. After vehicles cross the overpass, another signal light allows them to cross back over to the right lanes.

Pedestrians would cross the interchange in a center island.

Rushing said the design is an inexpensive fix to a chronic problem. The community improvement districts leading the drive for the projects say both interchanges could be modified without widening the bridges. Both CIDs are running parallel in the planning stages.

The projects are estimated to cost between $2 million and $3 million and could be funded with local SPLOST money, saving the time and expense of most federal and state regulations. However, Rushing said, because both Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road are state routes, and I-85 is a federal highway, some portions of the project will have to be coordinated with federal and state authorities.

The latest traffic studies put daily traffic at about 55,000 on both roads.

Brian Allen, Gwinnett County transportation director, said the county supports anything to help relieve congestion, especially if it can be accomplished at low cost. Neither bridge is structurally deficient, he said, so the small investment now could buy another eight to 10 years of use out of the current structures.

"We want to see these move forward as quickly as possible," said Joe Allen, executive director for the Gwinnett Place CID, which includes Pleasant Hill Road. "We see this as an interim step. This is not a cure to the long-rage challenges we face with that chokepoint."
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Old February 15th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #5266
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I would wait until that Springfield, Missouri diverging diamond has some test results... It's a fairly new concept, and I'm not sure if it is a smart idea to immediately implement it in a high-trafficked area like Gwinnett County. Due to all the development along I-85, Jimmy Carter Boulevard is one of the busiest arteries in greater Atlanta.

A much more expensive implementation would be to construct a fly-over from Jimmy Carter Blvd south to I-85 west, to avoid this busy left-turn. Or replace it with a cloverleaf alltogether.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 12:37 AM   #5267
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Do you guys think there is a chance that those interstates on the east coast would have speed limits raised from 55/65? I sure do think some of those 3 laners could go faster than 65.. 75 speed limit would be good..
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Old February 16th, 2010, 01:03 AM   #5268
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Originally Posted by Barciur View Post
Do you guys think there is a chance that those interstates on the east coast would have speed limits raised from 55/65? I sure do think some of those 3 laners could go faster than 65.. 75 speed limit would be good..
Not really , but most of us go 75/80 , theres a highway code here , cars signal each other when a cop is nearby to , alert ppl to slow down.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 02:40 AM   #5269
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Originally Posted by J N Winkler View Post
I wouldn't recommend driving 5-10 MPH above the speed limit except when passing--the speed limits are now pretty close to the 85th percentile and also to the natural limits imposed by geometric design. I would also suggest a less Interstate-focused itinerary because long drives on Interstates are highly monotonous in this part of the country, while the two-lane state highways are generally uncongested and highly rewarding in terms of scenery.
What does it mean: "the speed limits are pretty close to 85th percentile"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920
When traveling northward between the Quad Cities to MStP, by all means cross over to Wisconsin at Dubuque, IA and follow the eastern Great River Road (most of it is WI 35, but it uses several different numbered routes between Dubuque and Prairie du Chein, WI) along the river to US 10 at Prescott, WI, crossing the river into Minnesota there - STUNNING scenery!
I was wondering which side of the Mississippi River is more spectacular.

Anyway thanks for all the suggestions guys, I read about Bailey Yard on Wiki. I plan to go late June early July, should be there over 4th of July. Might get some thunderstorms.
Is it true that in case of tornado warning you should stop under overpass or bridge?
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Old February 16th, 2010, 04:43 AM   #5270
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Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
What does it mean: "the speed limits are pretty close to 85th percentile"?


I was wondering which side of the Mississippi River is more spectacular.

Anyway thanks for all the suggestions guys, I read about Bailey Yard on Wiki. I plan to go late June early July, should be there over 4th of July. Might get some thunderstorms.
Is it true that in case of tornado warning you should stop under overpass or bridge?
No , that has been proven deadly , alot ppl were killed during the Mile - wide 1999 Oklahoma City Tornado on Highways for doing that , the suction is so powerful it with suck you out. Your supposed to lie in a Ditch or in a Storm drain, or other below ground protected area.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 04:46 AM   #5271
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Hey Chris, when are you going to visit the US?
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Old February 16th, 2010, 05:56 AM   #5272
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
What does it mean: "the speed limits are pretty close to 85th percentile"?


I was wondering which side of the Mississippi River is more spectacular.

Anyway thanks for all the suggestions guys, I read about Bailey Yard on Wiki. I plan to go late June early July, should be there over 4th of July. Might get some thunderstorms.
Is it true that in case of tornado warning you should stop under overpass or bridge?
'85th percentile' means the speed that is faster than what about 85% of vehicles are going in clear traffic. Some states require speed limits be no slower than that - it helps to neutralize corrupt small-town police departments.

Small to mid-sized city parades, park carnivals and fireworks displays on or about 04-JUL are precious memories of pure Americana to take home with you - We USAians *LOVE* to celebrate our country and doing that in the midwest is extra special! By all means - FIND ONE and enjoy it to its fullest! Ask around, locals will not hesitate to direct you to the best ones.



BTW, if you are driving along and a tornado warning is issued, TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! Civil defense/air raid sirens will be sounded as an alert. Tune your car's radio to a local station for information, keep an eye out and if it looks like things are getting a bit too much 'fun', stop, get out of the car and *hit the ditch* a few meters away from the car (*NO* hiding under highway overpasses)! Your life may depend on it.

Wind speeds can get into the 300-400 km/h range inside a tornado with very low air pressure.

Mike
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Old February 16th, 2010, 06:20 AM   #5273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I would wait until that Springfield, Missouri diverging diamond has some test results... It's a fairly new concept, and I'm not sure if it is a smart idea to immediately implement it in a high-trafficked area like Gwinnett County. Due to all the development along I-85, Jimmy Carter Boulevard is one of the busiest arteries in greater Atlanta.

A much more expensive implementation would be to construct a fly-over from Jimmy Carter Blvd south to I-85 west, to avoid this busy left-turn. Or replace it with a cloverleaf alltogether.
The article said:

Quote:
"It's working great," said Don Saiko, project manager for the Missouri DOT, which completed the nation's first diverging diamond last June in Springfield. "The commuters say it has totally reduced their time."
Gwinnett DOT is pretty conservative, and those two locations have been congested for decades. I think this means that results are in on the diverging diamond concept.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 06:41 AM   #5274
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Originally Posted by Barciur View Post
Do you guys think there is a chance that those interstates on the east coast would have speed limits raised from 55/65? I sure do think some of those 3 laners could go faster than 65.. 75 speed limit would be good..
If the government does that, they will lose a lot of speeding ticket money.

If you move with traffic or at least stay within 10 mph of the speed limit while keeping an eye for cops, you'll be fine. When driving on a 65 speed limit, I regularly drive around 75-80 and I've never been stopped. This is what most people, except for slow drivers and the elderly, do.

And usually there are plenty of people who drive much faster than me.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 07:14 AM   #5275
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Originally Posted by Xusein View Post
If the government does that, they will lose a lot of speeding ticket money.

If you move with traffic or at least stay within 10 mph of the speed limit while keeping an eye for cops, you'll be fine. When driving on a 65 speed limit, I regularly drive around 75-80 and I've never been stopped. This is what most people, except for slow drivers and the elderly, do.

And usually there are plenty of people who drive much faster than me.
The "elderly" don't all fit into one category. (i.e. slow drivers). I'm not in that age group, but I can tell you that not all elderly are slow drivers. Some, however, should be. At the same time, many elderly are good drivers with a lot of experience and shouldn't be lumped into a group of bad drivers.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 10:32 AM   #5276
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
Is it true that in case of tornado warning you should stop under overpass or bridge?
That is a bad idea....

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ddc/?n=over

Quote:
Many people mistakenly think that a highway overpass provides safety from a tornado.
In reality, an overpass may be one of the worst places to seek shelter from a tornado.
Seeking shelter under an overpass puts you at greater risk of being killed or seriously
injured by flying debris from the powerful tornadic winds.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 10:51 AM   #5277
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It turns the overpass into a concentrated wind tunnel. I think this video shot by a news screw is what fuelled the idea that an overpass is a good place to hide.



They were very lucky to have survived. VERY lucky.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 11:31 PM   #5278
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I-20/59 Northbound at exit 118, in the western burbs of Birmingham. The next exit 119A was once named Richard Scrushy Parkway, it was renamed after his conviction.



Last edited by Stuck in Bama; February 16th, 2010 at 11:45 PM.
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Old February 17th, 2010, 10:37 AM   #5279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
Is it true that in case of tornado warning you should stop under overpass or bridge?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
.

BTW, if you are driving along and a tornado warning is issued, TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! Civil defense/air raid sirens will be sounded as an alert. Tune your car's radio to a local station for information, keep an eye out and if it looks like things are getting a bit too much 'fun', stop, get out of the car and *hit the ditch* a few meters away from the car (*NO* hiding under highway overpasses)! Your life may depend on it.

Wind speeds can get into the 300-400 km/h range inside a tornado with very low air pressure.

Mike
^
What he said. Also, while on the subject, here is the standard television/radio warning for severe weather:



The youtube video is close visually to what you would see on television, but the banner will be red (usually on top of whatever program you were watching) and will be a standard font.

Unfortunately many people don't take these warnings seriously. However, a tornado is a deadly force of nature. While chances of being killed by one are somewhat slim, not taking warnings seriously is nothing short of idiotic.

By the way, you may hear of a "Tornado Watch" being issued. This means that while no tornado has been confirmed, conditions are favorable for one. You should be ready to seek shelter (chances are the weather will already be pretty bad), as weather can change very quickly.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled topic.
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Old February 17th, 2010, 05:36 PM   #5280
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And here is a recording of an actual tornado warning alert on TV - locations given are close-in west and northwest Chicago suburbs and neighborhoods across the city's north side and into the downtown area.



Mike
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