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Old May 1st, 2007, 06:11 AM   #701
Alex Von Königsberg
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Well, there is always the last solution - charging drivers directly (like in most of Europe) either by installing tollbooths (France) or introducing vignettes (Austria). I am not saying that the USA should do it right now, but it is certainly an option.

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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:52 AM   #702
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From what I heard the traffic wasn't bad since public transit was free on Monday. I guess a lot of people rode the BART to SF. So far this hasn't affected me at all, except when this man got lost from the detour on Sunday and ended up in Alameda. He asked me how to get to 580. I gave him this WTF look. I didn't know how he could have gotten lost and ended up in Alameda. He was also looking for Grand Ave.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 08:20 PM   #703
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The US already has 8,615 KM's of toll-roads, and hundreds of other bridges that have tolls. They're in over half our states, and have been in use since the 1790's on roads out east.

In 2005, toll roads/bridges brought in $11,818,315,000 in revenue.

Many now are upgraded where a person has a transponder in their car that his hooked up to their bank account. When they drive through where they toll are taken, they don't have to slow down because the toll is taken directly through the transponder. People who don't have a transponder for whatever reason will have to pull off to the right and stop at the booth to pay.

Tollbooth near Chicago with the new transponder readers:



Rendering of the projects when they were under construction a few years ago around Chicago:


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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:43 PM   #704
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Von Königsberg View Post
Well, there is always the last solution - charging drivers directly (like in most of Europe) either by installing tollbooths (France) or introducing vignettes (Austria). I am not saying that the USA should do it right now, but it is certainly an option.

We do pay an annual fee to register our cars here in the USA, which varies by state and which, in most states, goes to fund roadbuilding and maintenance. Here in Wisconsin, that costs me USA$55/year plus an additional USA$15/year because I have personalized numbers on my car's plates. In exchange for that USA$70, I get a little year sticker (a 'vignette') to put on the rear plate to show that the registration is up to date.

However, under the 'Full Faith and Credit' clause in the USA's Constitution, along with parts relating to interstate commerce and duties, plates that are valid and current in one state are recognized as such in all of the other states and no other special tax can be charged to just drive through, other than for direct tolls.

There has been discussion of increasing Wisconsin's plate fees to raise more money for state road works, too.

Mike
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 07:23 AM   #705
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
However, under the 'Full Faith and Credit' clause in the USA's Constitution, along with parts relating to interstate commerce and duties, plates that are valid and current in one state are recognized as such in all of the other states and no other special tax can be charged to just drive through, other than for direct tolls.
That is exactly what I meant by proposing to charge motorists "directly". The registration sticker you put every year on your number plate allows you to drive on public roads, and it has a fixed costs regardless of whether you drive 2 km or 40,000 km per year. Vignette, on the other hand, can be purchased for 10 days and up to 1 year. Vignette is needed only to drive on motorways in Austria; other roads are free. As far as I remember, vignette for 10 days (under €10) was much cheaper than paying tolls in France or Italy to travel in a single day.

I should mention that if tolls were introduced for all motorways, I would be the first one to suffer since I use motorway to get to my university every single day
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Old May 11th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #706
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America's Highway Debris Problem (wide image!)

image hosted on flickr


NY Times reports on the number of things that fall out of moving vehicles and litter up the place...sometimes causing a dangerous driving situation.

image hosted on flickr


an estimated 140,000 cubic yards of road debris a year. That is enough to fill 8,750 garbage trucks, which would extend for 45 miles, said Tamie McGowen, a spokeswoman for Caltrans, the state transportation department. And it is increasingly hazardous, experts say.


More here
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Old May 11th, 2007, 03:25 PM   #707
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Old May 11th, 2007, 04:31 PM   #708
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check some Belgium motorways. Looks more like the average garbage dump than a nice motorway. I saw numerous tires, concrete, and even burned-out cars on the E34.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 10:56 AM   #709
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Haha, I see paper boxes that falls off trucks a lot, and once a chair fell from a truck in the middle of the freeway, quite dangerous as everyone braked to avoid it.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 11:29 AM   #710
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I've seen a latter that fell on top a car in the middle of rush hour. Some rock or something, could have been a small rock, bolt, nail hit my car once and made a small scratch. It didn't occur to me that I could get the vehicle's license plate number and sue only after it was too late.

BTW:That's not as many pieces of paper as I would have imagined.

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Old May 18th, 2007, 09:51 PM   #711
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I was driving on I-5 in Seattle, and I saw a Christmas tree, in the middle of the northbound lanes. The odd thing was that it was June, and that remnants of tinsel and glass bulbs were on the tree. Oddly enough, the same thing happened to me in Idaho, except in September.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 01:45 AM   #712
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Yeah, the disrespect of intentional discarded items along the roadways makes me sick.

This is mildly off topic, but what is the worse "lost load" you've seen/heard of on the highways?

The worse in my area was hot roofing tar spilled all over one direction of I-5 in the middle of Seattle. Freeway was shut down for most of the day to get that off.

While this isn't a highway, it illustrates my point well (they are potatoes, by the way):
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Old May 19th, 2007, 06:41 AM   #713
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Bay Area traffic rebounding from highway collapse
10 May 2007

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - San Francisco Bay area commuters are resuming their old driving habits nearly two work weeks after a tanker truck fire hobbled one of the nation's busiest freeway interchanges, regional transportation officials said.

Traffic on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Wednesday was 5 percent below the daily averages recorded before key stretches of the MacArthur Maze were damaged. Traffic dropped by as much as 18 percent in the days after the April 29 accident, officials said.

"Traffic levels on the bridge are still below what they were before the maze accident, but folks are finding their way back to their cars," said John Goodwin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Part of the rebound is probably due to Monday's reopening of the roadway connecting westbound Interstate 80 to southbound Interstate 880, Goodwin said. The collapsed overpass connecting eastbound Interstate 80 to eastbound Interstate 580 was expected to be replaced by late June.

When a fire from an overturned gasoline truck severely damaged two sections of a cloverleaf interchange, officials initially warned it could take months and countless inconveniences for drivers to repair them. But neither scenario has come to pass.

At the same time, proponents of mass transit hope persuades some commuters to permanently trade in their cars for trains and buses. The Bay Area's light rail system had 358,000 riders on Tuesday, far short of the one-day record of 375,200 set May 1, but still encouraging, said Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesman Linton Johnson.

"We haven't kept all the new riders we had, but we still have about half of them, "Johnson said.

Al Romero, an Oakland resident who works in San Francisco, started taking BART after the tanker accident and hasn't decided whether he'll get back behind the wheel for a solo commute.

"I don't miss the traffic," Romero said. "But it's still a hassle. I have to drive to BART, and then when I get to the city I have to walk about six blocks to work."
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Old May 20th, 2007, 02:38 AM   #714
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so reason are...we have alot of cars....many house holds have two or three cars...with kids from 16 to 65 driving...public transit that run 18 - 24 hours a day...not to mention 18 and 20 "wheelers"...big trucks...that always run...here in San Antonio,TexaS..we have add freeway cojestion cause of these truck from Mexico...alot of commerce comes on truck...that are bigger than ones in Europe and Asia.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 03:16 AM   #715
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Construction at San Antonio's, TeXaS - USA Loop 410 and US 281 interchang with ramps on the norhtside along with add 4 lanes to Loop 410...was 6 expanding to 10 lanes.
Friday May 18, 2007...410/281 interchange w/ ramps















[/QUOTE]
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Old May 20th, 2007, 06:11 AM   #716
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Springfield Interchange, VA - DC Area (I-95, 495, 395 Intersection)

OK guys. Seems like DC people is not posting its pride, the SPRINGFIELD INTERCHANGE!!! (maybe they are all stuck in a typical DC traffic!!!) The biggest interchange in Northeast US and soon will be the biggest in Atlantic Coast (sorry to say this Atlanteans). Some people say that it will become the biggest in United States or the World but they are just dreaming. A max of 16 lane intersection and the construction is not over yet.

I am sorry to say that I only got a PDF version for now but I will update it later with true images.

http://www.springfieldinterchange.com/pdf/map.pdf
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Old May 20th, 2007, 06:45 AM   #717
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Its Big... Its Wide... Its Complex .... Its Old ... the Weather Change ... the Funds

We are talking about the biggest highway complex of any country in the entire world and only 10% are tolled, with the most numbers of vehicles of any country in the entire world, a country with one of the most complex weather changes, the second oldest freeway ever after Germany's Autobahn and a very complicated state funded maintenance. Of course, its hard to maintain it but it is not possible. It will just take time unless if you got the Magic Touch
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Old May 20th, 2007, 11:09 AM   #718
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PotatoGuy View Post
Here ya go Naga:



VERY interesting here in that the big green sign in these two images was modified by someone other than CalTrans (the state agency in charge of roads in California). Someone whom was handy at art got tired of getting lost because of missing info from the sign. He then took it upon himself to make the changes needed to correct that problem and in August of 2001, added the 'NORTH/I-5' to the sign. He did such a good job that CalTrans itself did not realize that anything was done to it (or that it was done by CalTrans sign crews) for nearly a year and when they did find out, they determined that it as such a useful improvement and of such good quality that it was allowed to remain and at last report, it is all still there.

Amazing.



Mike
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Old May 20th, 2007, 11:24 AM   #719
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I actually saw a TV programme (I think on TLC, but may be mistaken) about this story a while back. The man used some pretty advanced technique to create the shield, and it was by no means an easy job to do. I think he deserves a recognition.

As for the CalTrans, sometimes they themselves do such a bad job that it leaves you wondering who was that freelance painter to create such a crap. I will take a picture of CA-99/US-50 interchange to show what I mean.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 09:34 AM   #720
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Restricting Mexican Trucks on US Highways

House overwhelmingly votes to put restrictions on Mexican trucks on U.S. highways
15 May 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to delay a Bush administration plan to allow Mexican trucks full access to U.S. highways.

The trucks would have to be declared safe first, the lawmakers said, and Mexico would have to give U.S. truckers the same access south of the border.

The House voted 411-3 to approve a three-year Department of Transportation pilot program that would restrict opening the border to 100 carriers based in Mexico. They would be allowed to use a maximum of 1,000 vehicles under the pilot program.

The Bush administration wanted to start a pilot program this year that would run for a year before fully opening the border to Mexican trucks.

The House bill, however, specifies criteria for the pilot program before it can start, including setting up an independent panel to evaluate the test program and getting certification from the inspector general that safety and inspection requirements have been met.

A Mexican government spokesman viewed the House action in the light of NAFTA, a free-trade agreement binding the two countries and Canada.

"While the legislative process has yet to conclude, the decision today by the House of Representatives raises questions about the commitment of most of its members to comply with international trade obligations," said Rafael Laveaga, communication director at the Mexican Embassy in Washington.

The Transportation Department says it could be as late as 2008 before Congress's criteria are met, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Lawmakers said their major concern is whether Mexican trucks, often older than U.S. cargo vehicles, and Mexican drivers will be able to meet rigorous U.S. safety standards.

"We do not need 90,000-pound unguided missiles on our highways," said Rep. Robin Hayes, R-N.C.

American trucking companies have spent years getting their vehicles up to the Transportation Department standards, lawmakers said. Letting Mexican trucks across the border without making them meet those standards is wrong, they said.

"We're going to have a major accident somewhere, and people are going to say, 'How did this happen?" said Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif.

Added Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich: "We need to ensure that this program only takes places after the Mexican companies meet the same conditions that American companies do."

Lawmakers also complained that allowing Mexican trucks greater access will cost American truckers their jobs.

"You can get a Mexican truck driver to work for a heck of a lot less than a Teamster in the United States, and you can get a Mexican dock worker to work for a heck of a lot less than a longshoreman in the United States and that's what this is ultimately designed to do," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.

The Teamsters, the Sierra Club, Public Citizen and the Environmental Law Foundation sued in federal court in April to block the pilot program, citing safety and environmental concerns.

"We don't know how safety laws such as hours of service and drug testing would be enforced," Teamsters President Jim Hoffa said. "This vote by the House repudiates those questionable attempts to open our borders without adequate safeguards."

The Bush administration had planned to run a yearlong pilot program that would allow Mexican trucks beyond the current 20-mile limit from the border but the launch was halted after complaints from Congress.

Since 1982, trucks have had to stop within the buffer zone and transfer their loads to U.S. truckers to take them into the country. The legislation would allow Mexican drivers to take their loads from Mexico to any point within the country.

Supporters of the plan say letting more Mexican trucks on U.S. highways will save American consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. They include many in the trucking industry, the Bush administration and lawmakers who favor the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

Access to all U.S. highways was promised by 2000 under the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, as was access through Mexico for U.S. carriers. That aspect has been stalled by lawsuits and disagreements between the two countries, though Canadian and U.S. trucks travel freely across the northern border.

------

Associated Press writer Suzanne Gamboa contributed to this report.
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