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Old January 8th, 2011, 04:26 AM   #1021
dibble zee
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Chris your continued info about highways is incredible. I don't know how you find out all this info about all the latest highways being built in the US but please keep it coming. I check the forum everyday to see if you've posted something new
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Old January 8th, 2011, 05:53 AM   #1022
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I wonder what the pre-Interstate Highways U.S. limited-access highway network looked like? (You know, parkways, throughways, expressways la the Atlantic City Expressway (not the Roosevelt Expressway), and turnpikes...)
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Old January 8th, 2011, 06:25 AM   #1023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
I wonder what the pre-Interstate Highways U.S. limited-access highway network looked like? (You know, parkways, throughways, expressways la the Atlantic City Expressway (not the Roosevelt Expressway), and turnpikes...)
It was major four-lane 'surface' highways on the most major routes (ie, US 40 across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois), Skokie Highway to 27 St (US 41) between Chicago and Milwaukee (the part in Racine and Kenosha Counties in Wisconsin predated I-94 as a full freeway), cross-country tollways (ie, the New Jersey Turnpike-Pennsylvania Turnpike-Ohio Turnpike-Indiana Toll Road corridor), US (now CA) 99 through California's Central Valley and so on. Many of the non-tollways had numerous at-grade intersections and there were very, very few true freeways outside of urbanized areas, including bypasses. Much of the USA's highway network today would look like Indiana's major non-interstate highways.

Without the interstates, that network would have continued developing much like the highway networks in Canada and Mexico have been, and with each state doing its own thing.

A 'national unity' side-benefit thing cannot be ignored with the construction of the interstates, as well as with the Federal MUTCD, too.

Mike
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Old January 8th, 2011, 06:59 AM   #1024
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Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
I wonder what the pre-Interstate Highways U.S. limited-access highway network looked like? (You know, parkways, throughways, expressways la the Atlantic City Expressway (not the Roosevelt Expressway), and turnpikes...)
The Roosevelt Expressway? I may be the only one here besides you who knows where that is! I think the Atlantic City Expressway is relatively new - post-Interstate anyway.

Expressways that were in place, or at least under construction, at the time the Interstate system started in the mid-50s (ones that I know of anyway - I've looked at my share of old maps):

The Maine Turnpike, at least from Kittery to Falmouth.

New Hampshire's turnpikes may have been being built.

Massachusetts was building a network of expressways out of Boston - Mass. 128 (most of which is now incorporated into I-95 or I-93) was open, parts of Mass. 2, US 3 to the northwest, Mass. 3 to Cape Cod.... The Turnpike was opened about this time.

In Connecticut, the Merritt Parkway/Wilbur Cross Parkway/Wilbur Cross Highway (the latter is now I-84 from Hartford to the Mass. Turnpike).... The Merritt opened in 1940. Some shorter expressways around Hartford including part of what is now I-91.

Lots of stuff in the New York area - the first pieces of the parkway systems on Long Island and to the north were opened in the '20s; by 1950 the city had started building expressways as well. A piece of the West Side Highway (since torn down) was opened in 1930. Construction on the main line of the New York State Thruway started about 1950; by '55 much of it would have been open.

The New Jersey Turnpike - less the Western Spur, the Newark Bay Extension and the connector to the Pennsylvania Turnpike - opened in 1951; the first parts of the Garden State Parkway - the toll-free parts that were built by the state - were opened about that time as well; the rest was finished as a toll road and was mostly opened by '55. We can argue about whether, for example, NJ 3 is an expressway, but there was a lot of that sort of thing in northeastern New Jersey by 1940 or so.

You may know that the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened from Carlisle to Irwin (US 30, southeast of Pittsburgh) in 1940; the rest of the east-west turnpike and the Northeast Extension was opened by about 1956. There wasn't much else in Pennsylvania - maybe the Penn-Lincoln Parkway (now I-376) through Pittsburgh, and I think parts of the Schuylkill opened in the early '50s.

Hmmm....

The Baltimore-Washington Parkway is early '50s. The Whitehurst Freeway in D.C. (the elevated road along the Georgetown waterfront) is early '50s or late '40s. That maze of roads around the Pentagon is mostly early '40s, and Shirley Highway - the current I-395 and I-95 from the Pentagon to about Woodbridge, Va., is early '50s I think. I want to say that what's now I-270 in Maryland opened (as US 240) before the Interstate system. Most of I-83 was built - as US 111 - at about the same time (which gets us back into Pennsylvania)

I think what's now I-75/85 through central Atlanta is fairly old - shows up on maps as early as 1950, but maybe as under construction. The Ohio Turnpike was mostly if not entirely open by 1955. The Davison Freeway in Detroit is early '40s and I think I-94 through Detroit isn't much newer.

Surprisingly, I don't know of anything in the Chicago area.
What's now I-64 in Saint Louis and its western suburbs is fairly old - '40s probably; so is the piece of what's now I-45 from Houston to the southeast (not sure it was built all the way to Galveston)

The Los Angeles area had started opening freeways by the mid-50s - the Pasadena Freeway (then Arroyo Seco Parkway) opened in 1941, but that downtown stack and the freeways that run from it - the Hollywood, Santa Ana, Harbor freeways - was opened by the early '50s.

I think a lot of California's part of I-80 was built during the '40s.

I'm not claiming this list is exhaustive....

Last edited by Penn's Woods; January 8th, 2011 at 07:07 AM.
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Old January 8th, 2011, 07:02 AM   #1025
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
A 'national unity' side-benefit thing cannot be ignored with the construction of the interstates, as well as with the Federal MUTCD, too.

Mike
Absolutely. I mean no offense to Canada here, but when you look at interstates like 15 and 29 ending right at the border you realize that, as sparsely populated as they are, states like Montana, without Interstate funding, would probably not have been able to do more than the western Canadian provinces - expressways in urban areas and not much more. I-90 and 94 across Montana and the Dakotas are not something I can see those states building on their own.
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Old January 8th, 2011, 12:01 PM   #1026
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Various toll roads in the northeast and midwest pre-date the Interstate Highway system, as are some local parkways and expressways.

The Interstate Highway System was created in 1956, and construction commenced immediately, some sections opened in 1956-1957 as the first ones. It began to take shape during the 60's and was mostly finished in the 1970's.

Most countries relied on a nationwide highway building programme, being specially funded or not. For example Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Italy all had a programme that was updated over time. The French and Spanish systems seems to have grown over time. I'm not sure if they had a special devised building programme as most of their non-urban freeways were toll roads in the early years.

Italy, the Netherlands and Germany have the oldest national programmes, originating in the early 1930's. Belgium made an attempt, but it didn't gain much ground yet. World War II halted these plans for about 15 years, and were continued from the late 1950's into the 60's, 70's and 80's. The United Kingdom and the United States started about simultaneously with large-scale motorway constructions in the 1950's that continued until around the late 1970's. France was a relative late-comer, and didn't really start building intercity motorways until the 1970's and was mostly finished in the late 90's and then began focusing on less important routes. Spain had some older toll roads, but their real construction didn't began until the 1990's. Same for Portugal.
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Old January 8th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #1027
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An addition to my list above - and I don't know how I forgot this, because it's close by and I've been on it within the last month - US 22 through the Allentown/Bethlehem, Pa., area and then what's now I-78/US 22 from the point where 78 and 22 meet west of Allentown to the point where they diverge close to Harrisburg was at least under construction by the early '50s.
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Old January 9th, 2011, 11:17 PM   #1028
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A new DDI opened mid-december in Alcoa, Tennessee in the US 129 highway.



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Old January 10th, 2011, 10:00 AM   #1029
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Nice to see the diverging diamond interchange concept spreading beyond Missouri.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 11:23 AM   #1030
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Construction of the State Route 364 in suburban St. Louis.

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:22 PM   #1031
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
I think what's now I-75/85 through central Atlanta is fairly old - shows up on maps as early as 1950, but maybe as under construction.
Atlanta's first freeway (not really-- there was one unsignalized crossroad that remained until the mid '80's!) was the South Expressway, which became I-75. It opened in 1945, right about the time the war ended. Based on my memories of what the original bridges looked like, I think it started on the north at Georgia Avenue, where Turner Field is now, and turned into the non-expressway US 41 about where I-285 crosses. I say this because bridges at the interchange at Forest Parkway were of an Interstate-era design.

Around this time, too, Northside Drive and Georgia Avenue were built?widened? to (mostly) six lanes in the narrow median style favored in that era. They provided a route around downtown for through US 41 traffic until the freeways were connected. Piedmont Avenue on the northside was built about this time, too, in the same style.

On the northside, the North, Northeast and Northwest Expressways were open by the time my father first moved to Atlanta in 1952. The so-called Downtown Connector didn't open until 1963 or so. I've heard there was some controversy over routing, but the bridges as far south as Peachtree Street were of pre-Interstate design, so apparently the road was built there, too, by 1952, but it opened only from Williams Street northward because there were no access ramps south of there. That tells me that there was at least some idea of the rest of the route by then.

The Northwest Expressway ended at US 41/Northside Parkway-- near West Paces Ferry Road, after crossing US 41/Northside Drive several miles to the south. It really looks as though the original intent was to widen most of Northside Drive to become a four-to-six lane route for US 41, but later on-- after Northside parkway had been completed northward from Northside Drive-- it was decided instead to bypass the most difficult section with the expressway instead. The narrow, unwidened portion of Northside Drive was fitted with a terrifying 2+1 reversible lane system which is still in operation.

The Northwest Expressway was renovated in 1970, installing shoulders and modern parapets on the I-75 bridges, providing adequate ramp tapers, and replacing the original arterial-style mountable concrete median with the first Jersey barrier I ever saw.

To the northeast, the road that became I-85 was also open by 1952, and the bridges north of there were of pre-Interstate design all the way to Chamblee-Tucker Road, almost to I-285, though north of the Atlanta city limits a 36 foot median was introduced instead of the narrow medians on the previous expressways. Interestingly, the bridges carrying Peachtree Road and the railroads over I-285 and Motors Industrial Way at the GM plant were also of pre-Interstate design. My theory is that the state took over design of the Northeast Expressway once it left the City of Atlanta, and that much of it--including parts of I-285-- was in design and to some degree construction before the Interstate program was started. At any rate, both I-85 as far as GA 316 (and maybe as far as GA 317) plus I-285 from the GM plant to Chamblee-Tucker Road were apparently finished by 1959.

Quote:
The Davison Freeway in Detroit is early '40s and I think I-94 through Detroit isn't much newer.....
Somewhere I read that in 1943 a Soviet delegation visited Detroit to have a look at the scale of American war production, and was impressed to the point of shock and horror by the already-existing Detroit Industrial Freeway and the thousands of working class motorists using it.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 10:16 PM   #1032
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I suspect Nerdly_Dood knows the BRP....
Absolutely. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the epitome of what a parkway is meant to be. That isn't a road you drive on to go somewhere, it's a road you drive on for the sake of a good fun drive. Commercial vehicles and alcohol are prohibited, and the cops there are generally US park rangers.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 09:21 AM   #1033
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Pursuant to my earlier point, does anyone have (or can anyone put together) a map of U.S. limited-access roads prior to 1956 (especially as compared to today)?
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Old January 12th, 2011, 01:48 PM   #1034
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An addition to my list above - and I don't know how I forgot this, because it's close by and I've been on it within the last month - US 22 through the Allentown/Bethlehem, Pa., area and then what's now I-78/US 22 from the point where 78 and 22 meet west of Allentown to the point where they diverge close to Harrisburg was at least under construction by the early '50s.
There's its sister at the other end of the state, too: the road that became I-70 between Washington and the Turnpike. According to the history I've read, it was built as a free road because it was intended to provide local access for towns in the Monongahela Valley as well as a useful new route for through traffic. But the standards to which it was built were very low, even for the time.

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Old January 12th, 2011, 05:16 PM   #1035
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e.g. I-93 in New Hampshire (Franconia Notch)

I doubt that road is an Interstate. I've never seen an interstate that was 2 lanes, and I've driven on a lot of interstates.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 05:39 PM   #1036
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Here you go:

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Old January 12th, 2011, 05:53 PM   #1037
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That's bad logic Paddington - it's like saying that I've never seen a fictional bear that liked marmalade sandwiches - all the ones I've seen, and I've seen a lot of fictional bears...

Of course, being British, I have seen the bear from Peru, who is named after a London Railway station and eats lots of marmalade sandwiches. But even if I had watched Bungle, Yogi, Pooh, etc, but not Paddington, that wouldn't mean that Paddington wasn't a fictional bear.

And yes, I-93 has a two-lane segment near what was the Old Man of the Mountain in NH. It used to be signed as To I-93, but now is signed as I-93 and US3 throughout. I note that it's still a divided highway.

What it's doing in the non-interstate thread beats me!
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Old January 12th, 2011, 08:36 PM   #1038
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I doubt that road is an Interstate. I've never seen an interstate that was 2 lanes, and I've driven on a lot of interstates.
It is an Interstate highway. It is one of several sections of the Interstate system that were granted exceptions from meeting Interstate standards.

It was allowed to be two lanes for a 13 km (8 mile) section because of the extreme negative impact that four-lane, divided, full-width highway would have had on this scenic area, Franconia Notch.

Other exceptions to Interstate standards include:

- Woodrow Wilson Bridge, I-95/495 (VA, DC, MD) - Drawbridge

- Approaches to Eisenhower Tunnel, I-70 (CO) - +8% grade exceeds Interstate maximum of 6.0%
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Old January 12th, 2011, 09:23 PM   #1039
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There used to be more two lane interstate sections I-95 north of Bangor, the WV Turnpike, sections of I-39
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Old January 13th, 2011, 04:24 AM   #1040
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There used to be more two lane interstate sections I-95 north of Bangor, the WV Turnpike, sections of I-39
I-39 was never a 'Super Two' freeway - what is now I-39 north of Portage, WI had extensive sections that were at one time 'Super Two' freeways, but they were upgraded to four lanes long before it became 'I-39'.

Also, I never heard of a design exception regarding the grades leading to the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70. OTOH, the section of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon in Colorado did receive several design exceptions relating to sub-minimum design speed, curvature and shoulder widths.

A lengthy section of I-70 in Utah, as well as a lengthy section of I-15 in the area of the Montana-Idaho state line, opened as 'Super Two' freeways, too.

Mike
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