November 2011


All of day 3 focuses on southern Michigan Interstates. Commenced the day in Coldwater and headed north to Lansing, then west to Grand Rapids and the St. Joseph area and east to Detroit and Port Huron. Very clear and cool day, highs in the low 50s with some northwesterly winds.

All Interstate 69 shields posted on guide signs within Branch County, Michigan utilize Clearview-based font for the numbers. This is not supposed to be the case, but in Michigan, one can find shields for Interstates 69, 75, 96 and 696 in violation. This view looks at the southbound on-ramp to Interstate 69 from U.S. 12 west & Business Loop Interstate 69 south at Coldwater.

Business Loop Interstate 69 through Coldwater doubles as Emergency Interstate 69. There are a number of Emergency detour routes posted for Interstate highways throughout southern Michigan. Some of these even extend into Indiana, such as Interstate 69 south from Branch County to Steuben County, Indiana. The Emergency Routes provide an alternate or detour route for the parent route in case of road closure due to weather or other incidents. The Coldwater element of Emergency Interstate 69 includes an east-west portion along U.S. 12 between Division Street south / Marshall Street north (collectively former U.S. 27) and Interstate 69, and a north-south portion following old U.S. 27 out from town.

All of U.S. 27 between Fort Wayne, Indiana and Lansing, Michigan was replaced by Interstate 69. The old alignment remains in use as “Angola Road, “Lansing Road”, “Old 27″, etc. A portion of the old US Route remains in the state system as M-223 (17 Mile Road) from F Drive South to Michigan Avenue in Marshall. Michigan 227 begins at Exit 32 of Interstate 69 and travels 6.71 miles to Business Loop Interstate 94.

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Began the morning of day 2 just outside Cincinnati on a cloudy morning with the last remnants of cold front moving out. Decided to poke around downtown Cincinnati for an hour or so before heading westward along Interstate 74 to Champaign, Illinois. The trip would turn us north along Interstate 57 and east to Michigan later this day, and how far into Michigan we would make it depended upon how much daylight was left…

Approaching the Combs-Hehl Bridge, a pair of cantilever bridges spanning the Ohio River between Kellogg Avenue in Cincinnati and Fort Thomas, Kentucky, along Interstate 275 west (inner loop). These bridges opened in 1979 and carry six lanes of travel. More info on the span can be found at Cincinnati-Transit.net.

A short distance west of the Combs-Hehl Bridge is directional interchange with Interstate 471 and the U.S. 27 connector. U.S. 27 travels high above the beltway via Alexandria Pike in this scene. Construction underway along Interstate 275 involves concrete pavement replacement for both directions of the freeway within Campbell County and the addition of cable barriers along the highway median. Eastbound work will be completed by December 1, 2011; westbound construction commences on April 1, 2012 and lasts through September 1, 2012.

Spanning the Ohio River again via the Taylor-Southgate Bridge of U.S. 27. This cantilever bridge opened in 1995, replacing the original Central Bridge that was demolished by late 1992. Bridge placards from the 1890-built cantilever truss bridge were restored and mounted at both ends of the Taylor-Southgate Bridge.

Heading into downtown Cincinnati, we documented the west end of U.S. 22 and the north end of U.S. 22. U.S. 22 & Ohio 3 follow a one-way street couplet of 7th (eastbound) and 9th (westbound) Streets between Main and the U.S. 27-42-52-127 couplet of Central Avenue and Plum Street. U.S. 22 & Ohio 3 end at the intersection of Central Avenue and 6th Street (Ohio 264), sharing an overlap with U.S. 27-52-127. U.S. 25 has a simpler end, concluding at the Ohio state line along the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge with U.S. 42 & 127.

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It was that time of the year again, for us to embark on another AARoads trip specifically to document roads. This year’s trip focused on finishing what we started in November 2009, with a return trip to Indiana and Michigan for the purpose of driving the remaining Interstates that we did not cover two years prior. Day 1 took us northward from Alabama to Cincinnati, Ohio. The day started out clear and sunny, but clouds ahead of an approaching cold front quickly set in by Birmingham and increased in density until yielding sprinkles in Chattanooga and heavy rain north of Cleveland, Tennessee. Rain fell profusely all the way to the Cincinnati area.

Work associated with the Progress 65 project in Montgomery is now complete. Despite the presence of construction barrels in this scene taken November 3, 2011, there was no active work. Interstate 65 was widened to six lanes on a 4.613-mile stretch through Montgomery and speed limits increased to 60 mph. All final guide signs are in place.

Shelby County widening of Interstate 65 from Exit 242 (CR 52) north to the Jefferson County line is near completion. The freeway carries six lanes on this stretch with increased ramp capacity at the suburban interchanges of Alabama 119 (Cahaba Valley Road), CR 52 and CR 17 (Valleydale Road). Future expansion will focus on the freeway south from Exit 242 to Exit 238, and eventually the Shelby County Airport interchange (Exit 234).

Work continues on the reconstruction of Interstate 65 from the Jefferson County line northward to U.S. 31 (Exit 252) at Vestavia Hills. When we passed through in June, northbound traffic was partitioned between a single lane and two-lane carriageway split and no signs were left for Interstate 459. Now southbound utilizes that configuration while northbound continues with three overall lanes and new Highway Gothic font based signs are in place. Work on this aspect of the Progress 65 project is slated for completion this upcoming winter.

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