Sunday, December 30, 2007

Meinecke Car Care Bowl - Charlotte NC

I 40 West, I 85 South, I 77 South, I 277 North, College Street
I 277 South, I 77 North, NC 16 North, I 85 North, I 40 East to Chapel Hill
Hit bad traffic twice on the way home from the stadium. First was on I 77 North. Took NC 16 over to I 85 to avoid stopped traffic. The second was from I 485 to Speedway Boulevard on I 85.
Mileage on NC 16.

Augusta GA - Winthrop University

I 40 West, I 85 South, I 77 South, US 1 South, I 20 West to Augusta
GA 28, I 520, GA 104, Local Roads
I 20 East, SC 277 North, I 77 North, US 21 North, US 21 Business Rock Hill North, US 21 North, I 77 North, I 85 North, I 40 East to Chapel Hill
All of the BGS's at the Maze have I 73 along with I 40, except for the US 220 exit. The US 220 exit from I 40/73 is exit 220 on I 40. Nice coincidence. This will be I 73 sometime, but is not signed yet.

The US 311/I 74 interchange on I 85 has bridge construction starting. The exit with NC 62 is partially blocked for construction of approach lanes.

The construction on I 85 from the Yadkin River to Salisbury continues. The picnic building at the Baptist Church that was damaged during the highway widening is gone.

Construction has started on the I 520 interchange with I20 in South Carolina. The westbound ramp to US 25 has been closed and replaced with a very tight cloverleaf. This will be reverted when the I 520 interchange is complete.

There is a new half interchange on I 20 in Georgia (exit 197) for Walton Way Extension - westbound exit and eastbound entry only. Construction has started on building flyovers from I 520 to I 20 on exit 196. The existing exits have been closed on exit 196, so there is a detour north on GA 232 to Scott Nixon Road, then south on Walton Way Extension to exit 197 (and the reverse).

Clinch US 25 Business Rock Hill. Mileage on US 21.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I 795 and I 74

I 540 East, US 64 East, NC 39 South, US 264 East, I 795 South, NC 222 East, US 117 Alt South, US 117 Alt North, NC 222 West, I 795 South, US 117 South, US 13 South, I 95 South, NC 711 North, NC 710 East, I 74 West, US 74 West, US 1 North, US 220 North, NC 211 East, NC 705 North, NC 24/27 East, US 15/501 North, US 1 North, I 440 East, US 70 West
This was the most productive roadgeek trip that I have been on in ages. Adam Prince, Robert Malme and sent out to see if I 795 is signed yet and to check out the new section of US 74 ( Future I 74 ) just opened south of Pembroke and the US 220 ( I 73/74 ) Ellerbe Bypass.

The signs on I 795 were put up on November 28 2007. All of the US 117 shields on the highway proper have been replaced with I 795 shields. The shields on the NC 42 interchange were also replaced. However, farther south, the US 117 shields on interchanges were not replaced yet. The BGS on US 264 still shows US 117, so you have to know to take the US 117 exit to stay on I 795.

We were surprised to find that the new section of US 74 is signed as I 74. In fact, all of the signage and exit numbers on US 74 on the Maxton and Laurinburg bypasses have been changed to I 74. Just after exit 207, there is an END I 74 sign. The new exits are:
  • 207 - US 74 Business - West Laurinburg
  • 208 - NC 79
  • 209 - US 15/501/401 North
  • 210 - US 15/401 South
  • 211 - US 501 South
  • 212 - Highland Road
  • 213 - US 74 Business
  • 216 - Airport Road
  • 217 - NC 71
  • 220 - US 74 Alt/Bus
  • 223 - Cabinet Shop Road
  • 226 - NC 710
The six mile stretch from 220 to 226 is a bit restricted. For eastbound travel on US 74, all traffic is forced to exit at exit 220. The exit is a partial cloverleaf. Exit 220A exits onto US 74 Business, west to Maxton. Exit 220B exits onto US 74 Alternate, east to Pembroke. There is an on-ramp from US 74 Business onto I 74/US 74 East. The ramp has a light board sign saying " Local Traffic Only - Open to NC 710". Thus, eastbound traffic must exit on 220A , cross Business US 74 and take the ramp back onto the Interstate. Continuing east on US 74 Alternate, there is one US 74 Alternate sign, then the road is signed US 74 mainline. Thus there are two US 74 mainlines, the old road, which will be US 74 Alternate when I 74/US 74 is finished to I 95, and the new multiplex with I 74.

For westbound travel on old US 74, there is no signage for the new freeway, until you get to exit 220. On NC 710 East from Pembroke, the old US 74 intersection is marked US 74 mainline. On NC 710 West from Rowland, the interchange is signed I 74/US 74 West, with no signage for US 74 East.

Construction on the US 220 Ellerbe Bypass is proceeding apace. We were able to get close enough to see some signage on the highway. The first quirk is that the exit from US 220 into Ellerbe on current US 220 is signed US 220 Business. Old US 220 north of the new freeway is signed US 220 Alternate. It was assumed that US 220 Alternate would just be extended south to Rockingham. In fact, at Tabernacle Road, which is the first exit south of the end of the current freeway, there is a street sign for US 220 Alternate. The signage indicates that current US 220 will be US 220 Business through Ellerbe and US 220 Alternate north of that. This means that the old US 220 will be Business through Ellerbe, Alternate from Norman to south of Asheboro and Business through Asheboro to Randleman. Why can't it all be Alternate US 220?

The second quirk is that the new freeway, which is an extension of I 73/74 / US 220 is signed as US 220/ Future I 73 / Future I 74. The new freeway is identical to the current freeway, in that it ends at US 220, which is NHS. Is this an admission that the current signage of I 73/74 is incorrect?

The following exits are signed on the bypass:
  • 8 - Business US 220 - Ellerbe
  • 13 - Hayward Parker Road
  • 16 - NC 73
  • 18 - Norman
  • 22 - Tabernacle Church Road
  • 24 - Alternate US 220
Clinched I 74 in NC, NC 711. Mileage on US 74, US 13, US 117.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The return of NC 15

There is no North Carolina State Highway 15, since that would conflict with US 15. Somebody in NCDoT has mistakenly made some NC 15 shields with the diamond shield when they meant to make US 15 shields.

About two years ago, these signs were installed at the intersection of US 15/501 and NC 54. What was funny was that sign complexes had both US 15 and NC 15 shields, one for northbound and the other for southbound. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures before the NCD0T realized their mistake and replaced the shields.

This week, one of the NC 15 shields reappeared. It is not quite as ironic as the previous shields, except that NCDot made the same error again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

900 Counties!

US 501 North, US 360 East, VA 307 West, US 460 West, US 460 Business West, VA 45 North to Cumberland County and return, US 15/460 Business West, US 15 North to Buckingham County
US 15 South, US 15/360 Business Keysville, US 15 South, VA 49 South, NC 49 South, US 501 South
This was primarily a county tagging trip. The only odd thing I saw were the signs at US 360 and VA 360. The regular shields had banners for STATE and US above them, to make sure people would not be confused.
I had counted Lunenburg as having been visited by driving on I 85, but I 85 just misses the county. It appears that US 360 enters the county in the area around Meherrin, but here are no county signs on the highway. I saw some along side roads, so I ducked off on SR630 and found a sign and turned around.
Farmville was a good locus for visiting counties, there are four that I visited within ten miles of town.
Clinched US 15/360 Business Keysville, US 58 Business Clarkesville, US 460 Business Farmville. Mileage on US 15, US 360, US 460, US 15 Business Farmville.
Counties in Virginia: Amelia, Buckingham, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottaway, Prince Edward. For a total of 901.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bugg's Island Dam

US 501 North, US 58 East, US 58 Business Clarkseville East, US 15 South, US 58 East, US 58 Business South Hill West, US 1 North to I 85
US 1 South, US 58 East, US 58 West, VA 4 South, Local Roads, US 1/US 158 West, I 85 South
VA 4 runs across the John H Kerr Dam and along the lake shore for some distance. It is a very scenic drive. VA 4 ends at the state line. The North Carolina side is SR1200, a county road.
Clinched VA 4. Connected disconnected sections of US 58, now continuous mileage from Blue Ridge Parkway to Portsmouth VA. Mileage on US 15, US 58 Business Clarkesville.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Point Lookout on Old US 70

NC 86 North, I 40 West to Old Fort
I 40 East, US 321 South to US 321 Business
US 321 North, I 40 East, NC 86 South
We took the exit for NC 801 to check out the unusual interchange design. The westbound exit/entrance is a normal diamond controlled by a stop light. The eastbound exit/entrance is a diamond controlled by teardrop roundabout. The left turn from southbound NC 801 and the entrance ramp requires that traffic go three quarters around the roundabout. The north side of the rounabout blends into the median of the bridge making the roundabout the shape of a teardrop.

The main purpose of this trip was to hike an old section of the Central Highway that is now gated off for pedestrian and bike traffic only. The old road climbs up Bernard Mountain from Old Fort to Swannoa. It has been long superceded by US 70 and later I 40. There was a scenic vista called Point Lookout overlooking the Royal Gorge. Up and back was a 3.5 mile hike (each way) with a 750 foot elevation change. We took photos. See for a complete report.

Went down US 321 to tag Lincoln county. Turned around at US 321 Business, which was briefly signed NC 155 when the US 321 freeway was built. Local pressure forced the state to resign the road to US 321 Business.
Tagged Lincoln counties in NC for a total of 896. Mileage on US 321.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Charleston SC

US 15/501 North, NC 147 East, I 40 East, I 95 South, I 26 East, Meeting Street South to Charleston SC
Meeting Street North, US 17 North, Local Roads to Pawley's Island, US 17 North, SC 544 West, SC 31 North, SC 9 South, SC 90 West, US 17 North, NC 211 South, NC 133 South, Local Roads to Oak Island
NC 133 North, NC 87 North, US 17 North, I 40 North, NC 54 West, US 15/501 North to Chapel Hill
The US 74 interchange with I 95 is half closed. The north half of the diamond is open, while the south side ramps have been removed to build the I 74/US 74 interchange.
The Cooper River Bridge (US 17) is awesome. It is a double cable stayed bridge, the first I have personally driven across.
Clinched the current version of the Carolina Bays Parkway ( Future I 73/74 ). There are no Future signs to be seen.
The transition from SC 9 South to US 17 North is a surface road connection by way of SC 90. Unlike the transition to US 17 South, which is just a freeway level merge.
The second bridge to Oak Island is under construction. There was a whole line of construction vehicles along the right of way from the NC 211 and Midway Road intersection. On Oak Island, the waterway access at the north end of Middleton is now a holding area for bridge supports. Yacht Drive is open through the construction. The north half of the block of Middleton between Oak Island Drive and Yacht Drive is completely leveled. It appears this block will be the approach to the bridge. It is not clear whether Yacht Drive will go under the bridge or if it will be cut there.
I got a clear view of an old shield gantry on the ramp taking I 40 West onto I 440 Inner Beltline. The gantry has US 70 EAST and NC 50 SOUTH. There was a time when current US 70 through Garner was signed US 70 Business. During that period, US 70 and NC 50 were routed up I 40 to I 440 to the current US 70/401/NC 50 interchange. The gantry on the ramp in question should have been US 70 West and NC 50 North. The current gantry is clearly wrong. I need to get a picture.
Tagged Berkeley and Georgetown counties in SC for a total of 895. Clinched I 26 in SC and SC 31. Mileage on US 17, SC 544, SC 9, SC 90.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NC 540

NC 54 East, I 40 East, NC 540 West, NC 55 North, NC 55 South, NC 540 East, I 540 East, US 70 East, I 440 East, US 401 North, I 540 East, US 64 East, US 64 Business (Wendell) East, US 264 East, US 264 Alternate East, US 301 South, US 301 North, NC 58 North, NC 97 West, US 64 Business West, US 64 West, I 540 West, I 40 West, NC 54 West
This is my first drive on NC 540. Drove the length both ways to get a good feeling of the road. Got a photo of the 66.6 mile marker. There is no indication of NC 540 on any BGS directly of I 40 or I 540.
Clinched US 64 Business Wendell and NC 540. Mileage on US 301 and 264 Alternate (Wilson) and NC 58, 42 and 97. Clinched all state routes in Wake County NC.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Seattle WA

From Sea-Tac, WA 518 East, I 5 South, WA 516 East to Kent
WA 516 East, WA 167 North, I 405 North, WA 520 East, WA 202 East to Redmond
WA 202 West, WA 520 West, I 405 South, WA 167 South, WA 516 West to Kent
WA 516 West, I 5 South, US 101 North, WA 8 West, US 12 West, US 101 North, WA 109 North, Moclips Highway,
US 101 North, US 101 East, WA 104 East, Kingston/Edmonds Ferry, WA 104 East, I 5 South, WA 516 East to Kent
WA 516 West, I 5 North, Local Roads, WA 99 South, Local Roads, I 5 South, WA 516 East to Kent
WA 516 East, WA 167 South, WA 410 East, Sunrise Road to Sunrise
Sunrise Road, WA 410 West, WA 164 West, WA 18 West, WA 167 North, WA 516 West to Kent
WA 516 West, I 5 North, Local Roads, I 5 South, WA 516 East to Kent
WA 516 West, I 5 North, WA 518 West to Sea-Tac
Seattle highways are horrible. There is gridlock everywhere. The roads are not well signed. I could go on and on.
I had forgotten how beautiful the drive along Lake Crescent on US 101 west of Port Angeles is. The two lane highway hugs the lake with great views.
The drive up to Sunrise is one of the most spectacular I have ever taken. The views of the mountains and glaciers beg description.
We took the Underground Seattle tour in Pioneer Square. While rebuilding Seattle after a fire in the late 1800's, the city raised the streets, leaving undergrond chambers under the new sidewalks. The tour gives you a view of the infrastructure under the sidewalks of the city.
Clinched WA 8 and 164. Mileage on I 5, US 12 and 101, and WA 516, 167, 520, 202, 18 and 99.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

US 401

I 40 East, US 401 South, NC 55 South, NC 27 West, US 401 South, US 74 Business East, US 74 West, US 74 Business (Rockingham) East, US 220 North, US 220 Business (Asheboro) North, US 220 North, NC 62 East, Local Roads, NC 87 South, Local Roads, NC 54 East
Construction on I 73/74 /US 220 bypass of Ellerbe has stopped. There is no pavement done at the interchanges with US 220. The contractor has bankrupted, so the state is getting new bids. I'd say there is a year's work left to finish the freeway.
There is a bronze statue of Richard Petty on US 220 Business in downtown Randleman. He is their favorite native son.
One of the weirdest things I've chanced upon is the Original Hollywood Horror Show which is in the middle of the woods on Bass Mountain Road a half mile from NC 87 south of Graham NC. This kind of show would be normal in a tourist trap area, such as Cherokee or Gatlinburg, or even Myrtle Beach, but not in rural Piedmont North Carolina.
Clinched US 401 in NC and US 220 Business Asheboro. Mileage on US 74, US 74 Business (Laurinburg), NC 27, US 421.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Camp Bonner

I 40 East, I 540 East, US 64 East, I 95 South, US 264 East, NC 33 East, Local (detour), NC 33 East, Local, NC 33 West, US 17 North, US 264 West, I 540 West, I 40 West
There was a detour on NC 33 through the town of Simpson and back to NC 33. NC DOT didn't do a good job of marking the end of the detour. The road came to a stop sign at NC 33 with no construction signing. You had to look around at the road to find NC 33 signs, which clued you in that you had reached the end of the detour.
Mileage on US 264A and NC 33.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Madison NC

I 40 West, NC 54 West, NC 87 North, US 158 East, NC 14 North, NC 700 East, NC 770 West, NC 135 West, US 220 Business North, US 220 North, NC 770 East, NC 14 South, US 158 East, NC 86 South
Checked out some of the US highway reroutings in the Madison NC area. The truncation of US 220 Business through Stanley NC has been signed properly now. The extension of US 311 from Madison to Eden is still not signed. The first had been approved by USRN in 1998; the second in 2003.
Clinch US 220 Business in Madison/Mayoden, NC 700, NC 135. More mileage on NC 770.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wilmington NC

I 40 East, Holly Shelter Rd, US 177 South, US 17 Business North, US 74 West, US 421 North, I 140 East, US 17 North, US 17 Business South, Military Cutoff, US 76 West, US 117 South, US 421 North, US 76 West, NC 87 North, I 95 Business North, I 95 South, I 95 Business North, NC 87 North, US 15/501 North
There has been a discussion in the US highway mapping forum over what route US 17 Business takes through Wilmington after US 17 was routed over I 140. To answer this question and reclinch the US highways in Wilmington that were rerouted, I took a roadtrip to Wilmington and crisscrossed the city to check everything out.
In NC, when a town is bypassed by a US highway, the original routing is converted to a Business Route. As time goes on, some towns grow up around the bypass and a new bypass for the same highway is built. Then, usually, the old Business Route is decommissioned and the main route is converted to a new Business Route. However, this is not what happened in Wilmington. The original US 17 Business is still part of the new Business Route. The previous main routing of US 17 along Dawson from 3rd to 17th and along 17th was decommissioned. The rest of the main routing across the bridge and on Market from 17th to I 140 was added to the Business Route.
US 17 Truck Route appears to be decommissioned. I could find no signs for the route.
There is a BEGIN banner on an I 140 shield on the entrance ramp from US 421. There is an END banner on an I 140 shield just east of the I 40 bridge.
I took a side trip from NC 87 over to the Elwell Ferry, but the fog on the river was too heavy and the ferry was not running. I love these old two car ferries.
NC 87 is being divided from Elizabethtown to I 95.
The NC 87 freeway in Fayetteville has numbered exits, starting with exit 100 for the airport exit to 104B for Hay Street. The NC 87/24 exit is not numbered.
Clinch I 40, I 95 Business. Mileage on US 17, US 74, US 117, US 311, US 421, NC 87.
Count Bladen, Columbus counties.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Danville VA

NC 86 North, US 29 North, US 58 Business West, US 29 Business South, US 29 South, NC 700 West, NC 770 North, VA 863 North, US 58 Business East, VA 86 South, VA 360 North, US 58 Business East, US 29 South, NC 86 South
Went up to Danville to get the new State Highway maps for Virginia and North Carolina. The Visitors Center off US 29/58 had 2006-2008 Virginia maps. The Visitors Center on NC 700 only had 2006 NC maps. Drove through Danville twice, once to clinch the US Business routes and once to check out the architecture on East Main Street. Danville has a bunch of old bridges over the Dan River that I had not seen before. US 58 Business runs under the bridges and is a bridge enthusiast's dream.
NC 700 finished clinching state highways in Caswell County. I thought that I would clinch NC 700 when I planned the route, but NC 700 does not end at NC 770 but multiplexes with NC 770 to NC 87/14. When I head up that way to check out the US 311 from Madison to Eden question, I'll pick up that section of 700.
There are signs for US 29 and VA 86 with TRUCK banners on US 58 Business with arrows saying to exit onto US 29 Business/VA 86. Since US 29 has a bypass of Danville (which through trucks on US 29 should take), this indicates a Truck Route for Business US 29, to keep trucks off of Piney Forest Highway. Having a Truck Route for a State Highway is rare, but not unknown.
There is a sign on US 58 Business East pointing up the ramp onto US 29/58 Bypass that simply points to Chapel Hill. It does not say Chapel Hill NC. Since neither route on the Bypass goes to Chapel Hill, it seems a little odd.
Clinch US 58 and 29 Business Routes in Danville VA. Clinch state highways in Caswell County. Added miles for NC 700 and 770.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I 540 to US 64/264

I 40 East, I 540 East, US 64/264 West, I 40 East, NC 42 West, Local Roads, US 64 Business West, NC 87, Local Roads
With the opening of I 540 from US 1 to US 64/264, I no longer had I 540 clinched. I also no longer had the lead at for clinched interstate miles in NC, trailing by one mile. I drove the new section to reclinch I 540 and regain the lead.
A fellow roadgeek in Michigan recently clinched the state highway system in Michigan, including all interstates, US highways, state highways and spur routes. I took a look at my North Carolina map and noticed that I had clinched all of the state highways in a cluster of counties around my home county. There are a few counties that I have only one segment of a state route to clinch the county. Driving this part of NC 42 clinched Chatham County and left one last route (NC 97 east of Lizard Lick) in Wake County.
Reclinch I 540. Clinch Chatham County. Added miles for NC 42.