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Old October 30th, 2005, 01:28 AM   #381
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Florida has great quality roads in both scenic and quality
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Old October 30th, 2005, 04:42 AM   #382
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Scenic Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.

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Old October 30th, 2005, 05:02 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by Azn_chi_boi
How could anyone ruin a beach like that? It's a crime.
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Old October 30th, 2005, 05:21 AM   #384
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Southern California Freeways are not good.
I drove through Southen California, they have little ridges on the freeway.
My car's tires were making noise from the ridges the whole time during driving on the freeway.
The highways in NewYorkCity are bumpy.and also the lanes in the tunnel of NewYorkCity are norrow, I was having difficulty in driving through the tunnel in NewYorkCity.

Last edited by Nerima#; October 30th, 2005 at 06:06 AM.
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Old October 30th, 2005, 01:27 PM   #385
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Avenue of the Giants has a great 33 mile long 2 way direction road with lots of giant trees that zig zags US 101 in North California near the coast. It's a real nice drive, also US 101 along the coast of WA with lots of forests and cliffs. I hear the scenic drive is nice in North Cascades national park in North WA Cascade mountain range, but I haven't seen it in the real life.

There are plenty of scenic drives all over the place, so there's so much to see and little time to live.
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Old October 31st, 2005, 07:34 PM   #386
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The best highway in america is The Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. it goes through newark and the coastal communites.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 12:16 AM   #387
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Highway 101, that goes up and down the western seaboard of the United States.
> flickr
>> Minneapolis | Manila | Cebu
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Old November 1st, 2005, 05:21 AM   #388
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In terms of scenary, California, the hills and canyons are amazing, especially along the 15, followed by the desert. Then you have PCH which follows the coast along CA, haven't been on that drive yet, but hopefully I'll go soon, then followed by Nevada (or really anywhere out west), which offers beautiful views of the desert.

In terms of the actually highways looking pretty decent, I would have to go with Phoenix and Atlanta areas.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 06:44 PM   #389
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Its definately not montreal, we have horrible roads.
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 02:25 AM   #390
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Originally Posted by Azn_chi_boi
Scenic Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.

I cant quite believe that this road exists. how did they allow it? Cutting off the city from the beach, shocking. It wouldnt happen here.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 08:38 AM   #391
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^Because half the year it's a frozen lake. Not really, but you get the idea.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 11:39 PM   #392
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It is. I live in chicago.
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Old November 5th, 2005, 09:08 PM   #393
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Calfornia's Insterstate 280 between San Jose and San Fransisco is very nice. The part through san mateo county is very scenic as there is little developement there.

In sf:
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Old January 9th, 2006, 03:32 AM   #394
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U.S. Interstate vs. Quebec Autoroute: More effective?

Which highway system is more effective?

Autoroute of Quebec
The Autoroute system in the province of Quebec, Canada, is a network of expressways which operate under the same principle of controlled access as the Interstate freeway system in the United States or the 400-Series Highways in neighbouring Ontario. The Autoroutes are the backbone of Quebec's highway system, which spans more than 20,000 km of roads. The speed limit on Quebec's Autoroutes is generally 100 km/h (65 mph) in rural areas and 70-90 km/h (45-55 mph) in urban areas.

Autoroute is a French word meaning, literally, a motor road, and corresponding to the words "motorway" or "freeway" in English. It is the name used in the francophone world for highways constructed exclusively for motor traffic. Interestingly, in the 1950's, when the first autoroutes were being planned, the design documents called them autostrades, obviously from the Italian word autostrada.

Numbering system
Autoroutes are identified by blue and red shields, with the red header image representing a highway overpass. Quebec's Autoroutes are numbered from 1-99 in the case of principal routes, and from 400-999 in the case of collector routes or deviation routes designed such that truck traffic can by-pass urban areas. In the case of deviation routes, the hundreds prefix is even-numbered (e.g., 400, 600), whereas collector routes have odd-numbered prefixes (e.g., 500, 700, 900). For example, A-40 is an Autoroute, the A-640 is a deviation route, and the A-740 is a collector route linking the A-40 to other Autoroutes.

Odd-numbered Autoroutes (e.g., A-15) generally run perpendicular to the Saint Lawrence River, while the even-numbered ones (e.g., A-20, A-40) generally run parallel to it. In addition, each Autoroute has a unique name in addition to its numerical designation and it is commonplace for Autoroutes to be identified using either method (e.g., the Décarie, the 15).

History of Quebec's Autoroutes
Quebec's first Autoroute was the Autoroute des Laurentides (or Laurentian Autoroute), which opened in 1959 as a toll road. This initiative to bring freeways into Quebec was started by Maurice Duplessis, whose government saw the construction of the Laurentian Autoroute (now A-15) from Montréal to Saint-Jérôme and the first section of the Boulevard Métropolitain (A-40), which opened in 1960.

It was the Quebec Liberal government of the 1960s that saw the construction of further Autoroutes, with a grid numbering system and the introduction of the blue and red shield. The sign is inspired by the American Interstate sign. This was especially needed in light of the fact that many visitors would be flocking to Montréal by car for Expo 67. Montréal's Décarie Autoroute (A-15) and the Louis-Hippolyte-Lafontaine Tunnel were constructed for that very reason. The Autoroute des Cantons-de-l'Est (A-10, Eastern Townships Autoroute) opened in 1964, and its continuation, A-55 between Magog and Rock Island, opened in 1967, connecting with Interstate 91. What are now the A-20 (part of the Trans-Canada Highway) and the A-15 to New York (connecting with I-87), originally built in the 40's, were upgraded to expressway standards. The A-20 also connects with Ontario Highway 401. A-40 was extended out to Berthierville, and later to Trois-Rivières in the 1970s. Others include autoroutes 25, 30 (proposed southern beltway), 31, 35 (eventually connecting to I-89), and 640 (an unfinished proposed northern beltway), creating a web around Montréal and increasing urban sprawl.

The autoroutes proved to be catastrophic for the City of Montréal. Thousands of dwellings were demolished to make way for them, which deprived the City of considerable fiscal tax revenues. The autoroutes effectively drained the very economic life out of the city, while adding a considerable burden of extraneous vehicles that contribute to the degradation of the streets while not contributing at all for their upkeep.

The 1970s also saw the completion of the Pierre-Laporte Bridge in Québec City, connecting the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River to the north. In addition to this, the A-73 was extended to Beauce, the A-20 was extended to Rivière-du-Loup, and the Chomedey Autoroute (A-13), the A-19 and the A-440 were constructed in Laval. Autoroutes were built (two sections of A-440, and A-740) and a few more planned in the in the Québec City region, creating a dense web, which led to significant sprawl . During the 1970s, the Parti Québécois came to power, whose platform mandated an expansion of public transportation over the construction of more Autoroutes. Existing Autoroutes were extended (e.g., the A-40 was extended from Trois-Rivières to Quebec City) but no new Autoroutes were built.

The Autoroute des Laurentides (A-15, Laurentian Autoroute), the Autoroute des Cantons-de-l'Est (A-10, Eastern Townships Autoroute), the Autoroute de la Rive-Nord (A-40, North Shore Autoroute) and the A-13 were toll roads until the mid-1980s, when the toll barriers were removed and the province stopped collecting tolls from vehicles using the Autoroutes. The last toll booth was on the Champlain Bridge (A-10-15-20). It was removed later because the Champlain Bridge is federal property (see "Société des Ponts Jacques-Cartier et Champlain") and was thus not a provincial decision.

List of Autoroutes in Quebec
Autoroute 5
Map of Autoroute 5

Name: Autoroute de la Gatineau
Description: From the Pont Cartier-MacDonald in Gatineau to chemin de la Rivière in Chelsea
Length: 21 km (13 miles)
History: First opened in 1964, from the bridge to Route 105 (Gatineau, Exit 5); last section opened in 1991, from chemin Scott to chemin de la Rivière (Chelsea, Exits 13 to 21)
Notes: An isolated divided four-lane section of Route 366 exists in La Pêche, which is planned to be connected to the existing A-5 by the end of this decade, extending A-5 to 33 km in length.
Autoroute 10
Map of Autoroute 10

Name: Autoroute Bonaventure
Description: From the A-720 (Autoroute Ville-Marie) to Île des Sœurs in Montréal
Length: 4.1 km (2.5 miles)
History: First opened in 1967
Name: Autoroute des Cantons-de-l'Est
Description: From the Champlain Bridge to Route 112 in Sherbrooke
Length: 153.8 km (96 miles)
History: First section (Montréal-Longueuil across the Champlain Bridge) opened in 1962.
Notes: The easternmost section east of Sherbrooke is a Super-2.
Autoroute 13
Map of Autoroute 13

Name: Autoroute Chomedey
Description: From the A-20 in Montréal to the A-640 in Boisbriand
Length: 21.4 km (13.3 miles)
History: First opened in 1975, it was originally to extend to Mirabel International Airport but was cancelled, and likely will never be constructed.
Autoroute 15
Map of Autoroute 15

Name: Autoroute 15 Sud
Description: From the United States border at Lacolle (continues as Interstate 87 in New York) to the Turcot interchange (A-20 West) in Montréal
Length: 62.6 km (38.9 miles)
History: Construction of this section of the A-15 was completed in 1967
Name: Autoroute Décarie
Description: From the Turcot interchange to the A-40 interchange in Montréal
Length: 7.4 km (4.6 miles)
History: the autoroute is parallel to the Décarie boulevard (hence the name); from Côte-de-Liesse to Queen-Mary road on the south, it was built on a wide expanse of vacant land, donated to the City by the Décarie estate on the condition that only a streetcar line be established. When the streetcar system was dismantled in 1959, it was an obvious right-of-way for a highway, so the Décarie autoroute was dug there. South of Queen-Mary road, however, were a significant number of houses which were demolished. In order to avoid demolishing the Notre-Dame-de-Grâces church, the highway veers west south of Côte-Saint-Luc, and runs between Appleton and Botrel streets, all the way to Saint-Jacques street, where it spectacularly goes from below-ground to well above ground as intersects with highways 20 and 720 in the infamous Turcot Interchange (dubbed "Spaghetti Junction" by train crews operating the CN Rail Turcot Yard). Following the conversion from streetcar line to highway, the Décarie Estate unsuccessfully sued the city but was unable to prevail because they did not document their case well enough for the nevertheless sympathetic court.
Name: Autoroute des Laurentides
Description: From the A-40 interchange to Route 117 in Sainte-Agathe
Length: 89.4 km (55 miles)
History: First opened in 1958; the last section was completed in 1974
Its three notorious curves in Laval and St-Jérôme were to ensure the expropriation of land that belonged to friends of premier Duplessis
Notes: Route 117 continues northward as a four-lane divided expressway. It is possible that A-15 could be extended beyond Mont-Tremblant.
Autoroute 19
Map of Autoroute 19

Name: Autoroute Papineau
Description: boul. Henri-Bourassa in Montréal to Autoroute 440 in Laval
Length: 10.1 km (6.3 miles)
History: First section was opened in 1970 (boul. H-Bourassa to boul. Lévesque), final section was completed twenty years later
Most of the section in Montreal is an urban arterial (Avenue Papineau). It was originally meant to be the eastern counterpart of Autoroute-15, connecting with the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, but wisely was decided not to gut yet another swath of housing within the City of Montréal. The portion south of Autoroute-40 no longer occurs as part of A-19.
The extension north of A-440 was not assigned to A-19 but Route 335 north of A-440 was shifted onto it from boul. des Laurentides.
Autoroute 20
Map of Autoroute 20 — Note: due to some route optimization (highway 20 has an urban boulevard section in Dorion, QC), the route calculator decided that taking highway 40 would be faster than staying on highway 20 all the way.

Name: Autoroute Jean-Lesage (known as the Montreal-Toronto Highway throughout the West Island)
Description: Ontario-Quebec border at Rivière-Beaudette (continues as Highway 401 in Ontario) to rue Père Nouvel in Rimouski
Length: 541.7 km (336 miles) - the longest Autoroute in Quebec
History: Construction of the A-20 began in 1964. It should be noted that the A-20 is a part of the Trans-Canada Highway, from the A-25 interchange (Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Tunnel) up to Route 185 at Rivière-du-Loup
Notes: Autoroute 20 is composed of two separate segments. The western segment extends from the Ontario border to Saint-Georges-de-Cacouna, and the eastern segment is a bypass of Rimouski, which was extended in 2003 to Luceville. A section of this highway from Vaudreuil-Dorion eastward to the Galipeault Bridge (approximately 4 miles) is a congested arterial four lane road. It is slowly being upgraded to Autoroute standard.
Future: There are plans to connect both segments - extending the western segment to Trois-Pistoles and eventually connecting with the Rimouski bypass, and the eastern segment will likely extend from Luceville to Mont-Joli
This autoroute has the peculiarity of having a railroad crossing at grade in Saint-Hyacinthe, immediately east of the Boulevard Laframboise overpass. For this particular crossing, the Code de la sécurité routière du Québec has been amended to allow buses to cross this crossing without making the customary mandatory stop. Train crews are instructed in their special operating instructions to call the Sûreté du Québec police to stop the traffic before crossing the highway.

Autoroute 25
Map of northern section of Autoroute 25 Map of southern section of Autoroute 25

Name: Autoroute 25 (or, unofficially, Autoroute de Lanaudière)
Description: The A-25 is divided into two sections: the first section connects the A-40 to the A-20 (L.-H. Lafontaine Bridge-Tunnel) and the second runs from the A-40 interchange to Route 125 in Saint-Esprit
Length: 49.9 km (31 miles)
History: The first section was completed in 1967 and is a part of the Trans-Canada Highway while the second section was completed up to Saint-Esprit in 1999
Future: There are long-term plans to extend A-25 all the way to Route 347 in Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci which would double its length to 100 km. A section of Route 125 is currently expressway-grade, which would form the northern end of A-25, connected by 30 km of new highway. No timeline is currently set.

Autoroute 30
Name: Autoroute de l’Acier
Description: The A-30 consists of four sections: the first detours Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, the second detours the Kahnawake reserve, the third links Saint-Constant (at the junction of the A-15) to Sorel, and the final section links the A-55 and Bécancour
Length: 122.7 km (76 miles)
Future: Construction will start in 2005 on a plan to link up separate segments of the route. A new alignment bypassing Saint-Constant south of Route 132 will be built, although there will be a two-kilometer overlap with A-15, and this segment will be finished by 2008. By 2009, A-30 will be linked between Châteauguay and Vaudreuil-Dorion. The existing A-30 segment around Salaberry-de-Valleyfield will be renumbered as A-530 and will connect with the new A-30 bridge of the Saint Lawrence River. When finished, A-30 will provide a southern bypass of Montréal. There are no plans to connect the third and fourth segments though.

Autoroute 31
Map of Autoroute 31

Name: Autoroute Antonio-Barrette
Description: A short Autoroute that follows Route 131 between the A-40 and Joliette
Length: 14.3 km (8.9 miles)
History: Completed in 1966

Autoroute 35
Name: Autoroute de la Vallée-des-Forts
Description: A short Autoroute that connects Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Iberville (now forming one city) to the A-10; it was originally known as the Autoroute de la Nouvelle-Angleterre. A-35 ends at Route 133, which continues as Interstate 89 in Vermont.
Length: 19.2 km (11.9 miles)
History: Completed in 1967
Future: A-35 will be extended to finish the freeway link to I-89 via some new alignments and upgrading of certain expressway sections of Route 133. Some have also called for a northern extension to Sorel-Tracy, although there are no immediate plans for that.
Autoroute 40
Name: Autoroute Félix-Leclerc (Autoroute Métropolitaine between A-15 in the east and boul. H.-Bourassa in Montréal in the west; Autoroute de la Rive Nord between the Rivière des Prairies and Route 341)
Description: From the Ontario-Quebec border at Pointe-Fortune (continues as Highway 417 in Ontario) to Route 138 in Boischatel
Length: 347.1 km (216 miles)
History: The A-40 is a part of the Trans-Canada Highway from the Ontario border to the A-25 interchange. The first section of the Autoroute Métropolitaine opened in 1960. The Autoroute Métropolitaine was originally intended to be below-ground, like the Autoroute Décarie is. But as sewers run on a north-south axis, this would have called for expensive sewer rerouting below the excavation through inverted siphons. Thus, it was decided to build an elevated autoroute, with one notable exception in the Town of Mount Royal, to separate the residential suburb from the industrial area to the north.
Future: It is envisioned that A-40 will be extended eastward, possibly as far east as Route 360 or even Route 362 in La Malbaie, as recreation in the Charlevoix area increases. There are no immediate plans to extend A-40, however.

Autoroute 50
Name: Autoroute Maurice-Richard
Description: The A-50 is not a complete route; the first segment, in the east, starts at Route 117, connects the A-15 to Lachute--this section is a simple roadway, with at-grade railway crossings (rare for a freeway). The second segment, in the west, links Hull to Masson.
Length: 59.2 km (36.8 miles)
History: The western section of this Autoroute was originally named the Autoroute de l’Outaouais, as it follows the path of the Rivière des Outaouais on the Quebec side.
Future: Construction on an extension from Masson to Thurso will be complete by 2005, and by 2007, the western segment likely will extend from Thurso to Fassett. Ultimately, in the longer term, A-50 is envisioned to be completed between Fassett and Lachute, closing the gap in the freeway. Slight westward extensions are also possible, however it is unlikely to extend beyond Aylmer, and should it do so, it would most likely be a Super-2.
Extension opened December 2004 with new exits 171 to Chemin Lépine in Buckingham and 174 to Chemin Doherty in L'Ange Gardien

Autoroute 55
Map of Autoroute 55

Name: Autoroute Joseph-Armand Bombardier (south of Autoroute 20) and Autoroute Transquébécoise (north of Autoroute 20)
Description: From the United States border at Stanstead (continues as Interstate 91 in Vermont) to Route 155 in Shawinigan
Length: 247.3 km (154 miles)
Notes: Some sections remain a Super-2, although those are currently being twinned.

Autoroute 70
Name: Autoroute 70 (or, unofficially, Autoroute Alma-La Baie)
Description: From Chicoutimi to Jonquiere
Length: 17 km (10.6 miles)
History: Completed up to Jonquiere in 2002
Future: Autoroute 70 will be extended from Jonquiere to Alma, and eastward from Chicoutimi to La Baie

Autoroute 73
Name: Autoroute Robert-Cliche
Description: This Autoroute shares the Pierre-Laporte Bridge in Québec City from Lévis to Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce
Length: 61.3 km (38.1 miles)
Future: A short extension to Beauceville is currently under construction, and there is a proposal to extend A-73 even farther south to Saint-Georges
Name: Autoroute Henri-IV, Autoroute Laurentienne
Description: A short trunk route linking Québec City to Stoneham, just north of Québec City
Length: 27 km (16.8 miles)
Future: Long extensions are underway, which will extend A-73 farther north through the Laurentians and up to the Saguenay region along the Route 175 corridor.

Autoroute 85
Name: Autoroute 85 (or, unofficially, Autoroute du Temiscouata)
Description: From Riviere-du-Loup at A-20 to the New Brunswick border south of Degelis
Length: 98 km (62 miles) once completed
History: The newest Autoroute, officially designated in December 2005. Replacing Route 185. Part of the Trans-Canada Highway. [1] A short freeway section, less than 2 km in length, had already been constructed at A-20 but only designated as Route 185. Other freeway sections are being built (discontinously) and A-85 shields are going up on them.
Future: Additional construction is planned to complete A-85 to the New Brunswick border to connect with New Brunswick provincial highway 2 and to fill in remaining gaps.

Autoroute 410
Name: Autoroute 410 (or, unofficially, Autoroute de l'Université)
Description: Short spur from the A-10 to the Université de Sherbrooke
Length: 5.3 km (3.3 miles)
History: Completed in 1978
Future: Autoroute 410 is planned to connect with Route 108 just east of Lennoxville, allowing truck traffic to completely bypass the congested town. It will pass south of the town, before connecting near the experimental farm to the east.

Autoroute 440
Name: Autoroute Laval
Description: From the A-13 west of Laval to the A-25 on the east side of Laval.
Length: 13.2 km (8.2 miles)
History: Construction on this section of the A-440 was completed in 1979
Name: Autoroute Charest, Autoroute Dufferin-Montmorency
Description: Short spur routes in Québec City
Length: 12.5 km (7.8 miles)

Autoroute 520
Name: Autoroute Côte de Liesse
Description: This route connects the A-20 and Montréal/Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport to the A-40/A-15 interchange
Length: 7.8 km (4.8 miles)
History: Completed in 1966

Autoroute 530 (future)
Name: Autoroute 530 (no official name yet)
Description: This route will be the new designation of what is now A-30 bypassing Salaberry-de-Valleyfield where a new bridge across the St. Lawrence River will be constructed connection to the current A-540.
Length: 14 km (9 miles)
History: Currently most of the route is signed as A-30, with a short section unfinished where the A-530/A-30 interchange will be.
Future: A-530 is expected to be completed and designated in 2009.

Autoroute 540
Name: Autoroute 540 (or, unofficially, Autoroute Vaudreuil)
Description: Connects the A-40 and A-20 in Vaudreuil
Length: 4.9 km (3.1 miles)
History: Completed in 1967, will be renumbered as an A-30 extension by 2009.
Name: Autoroute Duplessis
Description: Runs from the Pierre-Laporte Bridge to Route 138 in Quebec City
Length: 5.1 km (3.2 miles)
History: Completed in 1966

Autoroute 573
Name: Autoroute Henri-IV
Description: This is an extension of A-73, which runs from the A-73/A-40 interchange to Route 369 in Québec City
Length: 7.8 km (4.8 miles)
History: Completed up to Route 369 in 1998

Autoroute 640
Name: Autoroute 640 (or, unofficially, Autoroute de contournement nord de Montréal)
Description: Runs the length of the north shore of the Milles-Îles River from Saint-Joseph-du-Lac to the A-40 interchange in Charlemagne
Length: 54.8 km (34 miles)

Autoroute 720
Name: Autoroute Ville-Marie
Description: This Autoroute passes under downtown Montréal through the Ville-Marie tunnel, but the length of the route runs from the Turcot interchange up to the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. The A-720 becomes an urban boulevard called "Ville-Marie" at the bridge and later merges with rue Notre-Dame.
Length: 8.5 km (5.3 miles)
Expansion: A planned upgrade to rue Notre-Dame will make an urban boulevard stretch from the bridge to the A-25. A future project includes upgrading rue Souligny into the A-720 at A-25, taking the load off Notre-Dame at and across the A-25.

Autoroute 740
Name: Autoroute du Vallon
Description: From boul. Laurier (Quebec City) to the A-40 interchange in Quebec City.
Length: 7.4 km (4.6 miles)

Autoroute 955
Name: Autoroute 955 (or, unofficially, Autoroute de Saint-Albert)
Description: From Saint-Albert to the A-20 interchange in Sainte-Eulalie
Length: 14.7 km (9.1 miles)
History: This short section of Autoroute was destined to become part of a much longer section of freeway, as the A-55 was supposed to follow this route south towards Warwick and Richmond, as opposed to its current alignment through Drummondville; however, this was never realised, but the short route still remains.

Autoroute 973 (unsigned)
Name: Autoroute Laurentienne (southern section)
Description: This short route links downtown Quebec City with the A-40/A-73 interchange. It is only signed as Route 175 (the A-973 designation is only on paper).
Length: 3.6 km (2.1 miles)
History: Completed in 1963

United States Interstate

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly called the Interstate Highway System, is a network of highways in the United States. The Interstate Highway System is a separate system within the larger National Highway System. With very few exceptions, Interstate highways are controlled-access freeways, allowing for safe high-speed driving when traffic permits. They are assigned a special level of funding at the federal level. Despite this federal funding, these highways are owned, designed, built and maintained by the state in which they are located, with the only exception being the federally-owned Woodrow Wilson Bridge on the Capital Beltway (I-95/I-495).

The highways in the system are typically known as Interstate XX or I-XX; sometimes Interstate Highway XX (IH XX) or Interstate Route XX (IR XX) is used. In some areas the more generic Route XX or Highway XX is used. The system serves all major U.S. cities, and unlike its counterparts in most industrialized countries, often goes right through downtown areas rather than bypassing them. This facilitated the emergence of automobile-oriented postwar suburban development patterns, often pejoratively referred to as "urban sprawl".

The system is prominent in the daily lives of most Americans. Virtually all goods and services are delivered via the Interstate Highways at some point. Many residents of American cities use the urban segments of the system to go to and from their jobs. Most long-distance journeys (for vacation or business) of less than 300 miles (500 km) use the interstate highway system at some point.

Hawaii has several signed Interstates, but Alaska and Puerto Rico do not. The latter two do have roads designated as Interstates for funding purposes, but they are not currently or planned to be built to Interstate standards. The public controlled-access highways of Puerto Rico are the Autopistas (PR-22, PR-52, and PR-53).

The interstate system was authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956. It was lobbied for by major U.S. automobile manufacturers and championed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and was influenced by both his experiences as a young soldier crossing the country in 1919 following the route of the Lincoln Highway, and by his appreciation of the German autobahn network.

Planning for a system of new superhighways began in the late 1930s, even before federal commitment to build the Interstate highway system came in the 1950s. Construction on the world's first public limited-access highway, the Bronx River Parkway, had begun in New York as early as 1907. By the 1920s, longer highways such as the New York City parkway system had been built as part of local or state highway systems. As automotive traffic increased, planners saw a need for such an interconnected national system to supplement the existing, largely non-freeway, U.S. Highway system.The General location of national system of interstate highways, including all additional routes at urban areas designated in September, 1955 maps what became the interstate system, and is informally known as the Yellow Book.

Although construction on the Interstate Highway system continues, it was officially regarded as complete in 1991 (though 1.5 miles of the original planned system remain unconstructed as of 2005 [1]). The initial cost estimate for the system was $25 billion over twelve years; it ended up costing $114 billion, taking 35 years to complete. As of 2004, the system contains over 42,700 miles (68,500 km) of roads, all at least four lanes wide.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has defined a set of standards that all new Interstates must meet unless a waiver from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is obtained. These standards have become stricter over the years. One almost absolute standard is the controlled access nature of the roads. Except for a few exceptions, traffic lights (and cross traffic in general) are limited to toll booths and ramp meters (metered flow control for lane merging during rush hours).

Speed limits vary according to location. By initial planning, the Interstate system was designed to provide reasonable road safety at speeds of 75 to 80 miles per hour (120 to 130 km/h) except in limited stretches (such as steep mountain passes or urban cores) where many vehicles cannot maintain such speeds. Many western states had high speed limits. Kansas, for example, had a posted limit of 80 mph (130 km/h)[2]. Some states, such as Oregon, defined the limit as whatever was "reasonable and proper", which would not be allowed today (see Montana reference below).

In 1974, the federal government enacted 55 mph (90 km/h) as a gasoline conservation measure in response to the 1973 energy crisis. After the end of the embargo this restriction was continued as a safety measure. It was very unpopular, especially in western states. The 55 mph cap was relaxed in 1987 to allow 65 mph (105 km/h) speeds on rural Interstates if the states so chose. During this interim period, some roads (such as I-335 in Kansas) were specifically designated as Interstates to take advantage of this higher speed limit.[3] Shortly thereafter, 65 mph limits were allowed on roads not numbered as interstates but which were built to interstate standards.

The 55/65 mph caps were eliminated in late 1995, fully returning speed limit control to the states.

Many states maintain several different limits. For example, in California, most interstates are limited to 55 mph within a major city, 65 mph (105 km/h) for most of the suburban highway stretches, and up to 70 mph (115 km/h) throughout the desert and rural stretches of the state. In some states, commercial trucks have a lower speed limit than passenger automobiles. In some mountainous regions, the condition of the roadway mandates a lower speed limit than would otherwise have applied.

While some states have maintained the 65 mph limit, other states have increased the limits to 70 or 75 mph (110 or 120 km/h). Generally, the highest speed limits are found in the South and Southwest, while the lowest are found in the Northeast. Soon after the end of the National Maximum Speed Limit, the state of Montana ended daytime speed limits for automobile traffic on Interstate Highways in the state, instead instructing motorists to maintain a "reasonable and prudent" speed. A few years later, the "reasonable and prudent" law was declared unconstitutional for being too vague and a limit of 75 mph (120 km/h) was enacted in its place.

Texas recently enacted a law allowing 80 MPH speed limits on certain portions of Interstates 10 and 20 in far west Texas. However, these limits are on hold pending further study by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Dual-purpose design
In addition to being designed to support automobile and heavy truck traffic, interstate highways are also designed for use in military and civil defense operations within the United States, particularly troop movements.

One potential civil defense use of the Interstate Highway System is for the emergency evacuation of cities in the event of a potential nuclear war. Although this use has never happened, the Interstate Highway System has been used to facilitate evacuations in the face of hurricanes and other natural disasters. An option for maximizing throughput is to reverse the flow of traffic on one side so that all lanes become outbound lanes. This procedure is known as Contraflow, and could be seen in the evacuations of New Orleans, Louisiana and Houston, Texas prior to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, respectively. Several Interstates in the South, including I-16 in Georgia, I-40 in North Carolina, I-65 in Alabama, I-10 & I-59 in Louisiana, and I-59 in Mississippi, are equipped and signed specifically for contraflow, with crossovers inland after major interchanges to distribute much of the traffic. This is however not limited to Interstates; US 49 from Gulfport to Jackson and State Road 528, in Central Florida, have the same setup.

A widespread but false urban legend states that one out of every five miles of the Interstate highway system must be built straight and flat, so as to be usable by aircraft during times of war.[4] However, the Germans in World War II used the Autobahns for just such a purpose.

While the name implies that these highways cross state lines, many Interstates do not. Rather, it is the system of interstates that connects states. There are interstate highways in Hawaii, funded in the same way as in the other states, but entirely within the populous island of Oahu. They have the designation of H-X, and connect military bases. Similarly, both Alaska and Puerto Rico have public roads that receive funding from the Interstate program, though these routes are not signed as Interstate Highways.

Primary routes
The numbering scheme for the Interstate Highway System (as well as the U.S. Highway System) is coordinated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), though their authority is occasionally trumped by a number written into Federal law. Within the continental United States, primary Interstates (also called main line Interstates or two-digit Interstates) are given one- or two-digit route numbers. Most Interstates have two numbers; there are only three one-digit Interstates in the system: I-4, I-5 and I-8. Within this category, east-west highways are assigned even numbers, and north-south highways are assigned odd-numbers. Odd route numbers increase from west to east, and even numbered routes increase from south to north. Numbers divisible by 5 are intended to be primary routes, carrying traffic long distances. For example, I-5 runs from Canada to Mexico along the west coast (the only interstate to do so) while I-95 runs from Miami north to Canada. In addition, I-10 runs from Los Angeles, California to Jacksonville, Florida while I-90 runs from Seattle to Boston. However, not all primary routes traverse long distances. I-45 runs from Galveston, Texas north to Dallas, Texas, a distance of only 284 miles. It is the only primary route that does not cross state lines (see List of intrastate Interstate Highways).

It should be noted that I-50 and I-60 do not exist (and there are no even-numbered Interstates from 46 to 62), mainly because they would most likely have passed through the same states that already have US 50 and US 60. AASHTO rules discourage Interstate and US Highways with the same number to exist in the same state, although I-24 and US 24 exist at opposite ends of Illinois. Some planned Interstates do not follow this guideline - I-69 will enter Texas (which has US 69), I-74 will have a multiplex with US 74 in North Carolina, and I-41 will do the same with US 41 in Wisconsin.

Several two-digit numbers are shared between two roads at opposite ends of the country, namely I-76, I-84, I-86 and I-88. Some of these were the result of a change in the numbering system in the 1970s; previously letter-suffixed numbers were used for long spurs off primary routes; for example, western I-84 was I-80N, as it went north from I-80. In the 1970s, AASHTO decided to eliminate these; some became additional two-digit routes, while others became three-digit routes (see below). Only two pairs of these exist; I-35 splits into I-35W and I-35E through both the Dallas-Fort Worth and the Minneapolis-St. Paul areas.

Strict adherence to the directional nature of the system results in some amusing oddities. For a ten-mile stretch east of Wytheville, Virginia, the driver can be traveling on both I-81 North and I-77 South at the same time (and vice versa) (see also Wrong-way multiplex).

For the sake of efficiency, some Interstates double up for short or sometimes long distances, as in the example above. Another notable example are Interstates I-90 and I-94, which double and then separate several times as they criss-cross the upper Midwest and Great Plains.

Three-digit Interstates
Three-digit route numbers, consisting of a single digit prefixed to the number of a primary Interstate highway, are used to designate usually short spur or loop routes from their "parent" route, either directly or via another three-digit Interstate. A route that spurs from its parent and ends at an intersection with no other Interstates is given an odd first digit; a route that returns to its parent is given an even first digit. The number given to the first digit of a route that spurs from the parent and ends at another Interstate depends on the state; some consider these routes spurs and give them odd numbers, while others consider them loop-style connectors and give them even numbers.

For instance, I-90 in New York has a full set of three-digit Interstates - I-190, I-290, I-390, I-490, I-590, I-690, I-790, I-890 and I-990. Due to the large number of these routes, they can be repeated in different places along the mainline; no two three-digit Interstates in the same state can share a number.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has a single loop around the entire Metro area. I-94 intersects the loop in two spots and runs directly through it separating it into a northern and southern half. The southern half of it is labeled I-494 while the northern half of it is labeled I-694.

Charlotte, North Carolina has a single loop around the city that intersects with both I-77 and I-85, but the entire loop is known as I-485.

The Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area has several spur routes off of I-95. The area has I-195, I-295, I-495, I-795 and I-895. It also has two routes numbered I-395 (in Baltimore and Washington) and two I-695s (one, the Baltimore Beltway, is signed, the other is a secret designation), as well as an unsigned route called I-595. No I-995 exists anywhere.

New York City has numerous spur routes off of I-78 and I-95, but none of I-78's spur routes actually intersect with I-78.

A three-digit spur off a letter-suffixed two-digit Interstate (see above) was given a number without a letter suffix, except for one case - I-184 in Idaho was I-180N.

Main article: List of gaps in Interstate Highways
Interstate 238 near Oakland, California is one of two major exceptions to the numbering scheme, as no Interstate 38 exists. This number exists because Interstate 238 replaced a segment of California Highway 238, and no appropriate number was available. The other exception is I-99 in Pennsylvania, which was written into law as I-99 by Pennsylvania Congressman Bud Shuster; I-99 (which is also U.S. Highway 220) is west of several Interstates that are numerically less than 99, and was the nearest available unused two-digit number. Some feel that this violation of the numbering scheme is unnecessary and that a three-digit number such as I-776 would have been more appropriate, if an interstate designation is even necessary, since I-99 is multiplexed with U.S. 220 for its entire length.

Some proposed future Interstate routes have been given similarly non-conforming designations by their legislative proponents. For example, backers of the proposed Third Infantry Division Highway, a route in Georgia and Tennessee, have suggested it be named Interstate 3, in honor of the division for which the highway is named [5].

Other notable examples
I-82 lies fully north of I-84, but I-84 was I-80N when I-82 got its number.
I-85 diverts west of I-75 (intersecting it in Atlanta, Georgia)
The following two-digit Interstates change signed direction from their normal (even=east-west, odd=north-south) direction:

I-76 (west)
Two-digit interstates in Hawaii, as well as the "paper" interstates of Alaska and Puerto Rico, are numbered sequentially in order of funding, without regard to the rules on odd and even numbers.

Business Loop and Business Spur Interstates are not subject to any of the Interstate standards. Their designation is simple - a Business Loop heads into a downtown area from its parent and returns to its parent; a Business Spur ends downtown, occasionally continuing from the end of the main Interstate. Business routes can split from either two- or three-digit Interstates, and can be repeated within a state. In a few cases, where an Interstate has been realigned, the old road has been designated a Business Loop because it is not up to standards.

About 72% (2003 FHWA summary) of the construction and maintenance costs are funded through user fees, primarily gasoline taxes, collected by states and the federal government, and tolls collected on toll roads and bridges. The rest of the costs come out of the federal budget. In the eastern United States, large sections of some Interstate Highways planned or built prior to 1956 are operated as toll roads. The taxes dedicated to the construction and maintenance of highways are often criticized as a direct subsidy from the government to promote and maintain auto-oriented development as we know it today.

The dominant role of the federal government in road finance has enabled it to pass laws in areas outside of the powers enumerated in the federal Constitution. By threatening to withhold highway funds, the federal government has been able to force state legislatures to pass a variety of laws. Examples include increasing the legal drinking age to 21, for a number of years reducing the maximum speed limit to 55 miles per hour, passing Megan's Law legislation, lowering the legal intoxication level to 0.08/1000, and other laws. This has proved to be controversial. Those who support this feel that it is a way to provide an impetus to states to pass uniform legislation. Others feel that using highway dollars in this fashion upsets the balance between federal and states' rights in favor of the federal government, and effectively holds funds as ransom in order to coerce state governments into passing laws that would not have otherwised been introduced.

As American suburbs push ever outward, the costs incurred of maintaining freeway infrastructure has started to catch up with the economy, leaving little in the way of funds for new interstate construction[6]. This has led to the proliferation of the toll road (turnpike) as the new method of building limited-access highways in suburban areas. Also, some interstates are being privately maintained now (VMS in Texas, I-35) in order to cut rising costs of maintenance and allow state departments of transportation to focus on serving the fastest growing regions in their respective states. The future of the interstate system as we know it is in question. It is entirely possible that parts of the system will have to be tolled in the future to meet maintenance and expansion demands, as is done with adding toll HOV/HOT lanes in certain cities like Minneapolis, Houston, Dallas, and Washington D.C.

Non-chargeable Interstate routes
In addition to Interstate highways financed with federal funds (Chargeable Interstate routes), federal laws allow other highways to be signed as Interstates, if they meet the Interstate Highway standards and that they are logical additions or connections to the System.

Called Non-Chargeable Interstate routes, these additions fall under two categories:

Routes that already meet Interstate standards. They can immediately be signed as Interstates once their proposed number is approved, or can retain with a non-Interstate designation.
Routes designated as a future part of the system once they are upgraded to Interstate standards. Until then, it cannot be signed as an Interstate yet.
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Old January 9th, 2006, 04:24 AM   #395
Nick in Atlanta
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This is the War & Peace of thread starters!
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Old January 9th, 2006, 05:29 AM   #396
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WOW, Awesome thread. I always wondered about the origin of Autoroutes and how they function. When I was younger I wasn't sure why they didn't spread throughout Canada.

Anyway, my vote went to Interstates being more effective.
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Old January 9th, 2006, 05:53 AM   #397
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havent voted yet, sitll digesting all that info
pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whakojacko/
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Old January 11th, 2006, 01:18 AM   #398
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Quebec's Autoroutes are very poorly designed... some of the interchanges are very dangerous to use.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 01:20 AM   #399
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Originally Posted by Nick in Atlanta
This is the War & Peace of thread starters!
I printed the first post out and I have already read 259 pages. I think I'm a third of the way through. Got to get back. It's getting good as Eisenhower was just elected president. Will try to post this weekend.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 01:31 AM   #400
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Infraestructure: EU or USA??

Which part of the world has best infraestructure, the European Union or the United States of America?? (roads, highways, trains, airports, subways, etcetera)

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