U. S. Highways

Day 2 of the whirlwind trip took us around the Shreveport freeway system, northward along new Interstate 49 to Arkansas, around Texarkana on the new I-369 and AR 549 freeways, and northeast to a revisit of the Little Rock Interstates. Meandering southeastward, we crossed the doomed Clarendon Bridge over the White River toward U.S. 49 through Helena-West Helena into Mississippi. Zigzagging southward, we ended up in Vicksburg.

Interstate 220 provides a through route bypass of Shreveport, traveling 17.62 miles through northern reaches of the city. The freeway utilizes a long viaduct over Cross Lake, which was the last facet of roadway to open for the route. Construction on the span commenced in January 1984, and it was originally slated for completion in 1986. Delays pushed back the opening date until April 10, 1989.1

A 1987 Shreveport inset from a Gousha atlas shows the Cross Lake bridge for Interstate 220 still under construction.

Interstate 220 east over Cross Lake. The bridge features a unique drainage system, where water flows toward the center of the span. Collected water departs a central pipe system for a concrete holding pond at the north side of the lake. This drainage method protects Cross Lake from chemicals and other pollutants. Cross Lake is the source of Shreveport’s drinking water.1

The east end of Interstate 220 consists of a half-built directional cloverleaf interchange with six stubs left over from an unconstructed extension southeast through Barksdale Air Force Base.

Grading for a loop ramp from unconstructed I-220 west to I-20 west is evident. Our 2008 blog post on Interstate 49 in Louisiana referenced a possible extension of the I-220 freeway southeast to the planned corridor of Interstate 69.


Took Interstate 10 westbound from Northwest Florida to Lake Charles, Louisiana, then U.S. 171 north to Shreveport. Redocumented all of I-10 west to Lafayette, all of I-12 west, Interstates 110 and 210. Took new coverage of I-10 west to Lake Charles and all of U.S. 171 north toward Shreveport as well as photographing the south ends of U.S. 165 and 171.

The first construction of note on the day is the building of a diamond interchange with the north end of the Baldwin Beach Express (County Road 83). Work is expected to run through October of this year.

The ramps are partially paved and a new overpass is in place for the extension of County Road 83. Additionally, two lanes of the future four-lane roadway are open with two-way traffic between the I-10 overpass and County Road 64 to the south. The four-lane corridor leading south beyond U.S. 90 is not yet open to traffic, but nearly ready with base pavement already complete.

The future westbound off-ramp to County Road 83 / Baldwin Beach Express south. The 2015 Rand McNally atlas shows this interchange as open with the exit number of 49.


and now, a brief interruption. some photos from this previous weekend.

The Bay Bridge has had lights attached to it. It’s tough to tell from here, but they actually move in patterns. Well worth seeing in person. The lights will stay for the next two years, and can only be seen from the San Francisco side.

That other bridge that San Francisco is famous for. This is the view from Marin County. Not too much traffic on the bridge around midnight.

No bridge to be seen here; this is the view north from the Marin Headlands viewpoint. Angel Island is on the right, and Tiburon and Richmond are in the background.

the last part of our northwest trip. These are all from Washington; primarily the Bellingham area.

The only state-named shield we found north of Seattle. It’s in Bellingham.

Smoky sunset in Bellingham. Fires in the Ellensburg, about 150 miles to the southwest.

The smoke yields some unusually deep colors.

Rocket Donuts in downtown Bellingham features this rocket in front of the building.

A 1950s Chevrolet sits rusting by the side of old US-99, somewhere just north of Marysville.


we interrupt the last batch to bring you some surprisingly recent photos: Alaska, from last weekend!

A three-day trip, landing in Anchorage, heading out to Fairbanks and Tok, and then back.

Mt. McKinley at sunrise. Taken from about 2 miles south of Cantwell, so maybe 85 miles to the mountain itself. At about 8.30 in the morning, the mountain was completely clear, having not yet generated the cloud system it’s well-known to shroud itself with by mid-morning.


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.


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.


We resume this batch of pictures with a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Very close to the park entrance, we get this view.

An elk calf! Young elk are surprisingly hard to spot, because their mothers tend to keep them very well hidden away. Certainly the first time I’ve ever seen one!

A pair of bighorn sheep. That might be literally correct, as it is a ram and a ewe. This photo is from up the Loveland Pass road – US-6, going to 11990 feet.

Loveland Pass. Infrared camera. Fisheye lens.

A ground squirrel. More of this little character later.


We pick up in Iowa, where we decide to stop heading east in order to get to New Mexico. We see flooding along the Missouri River, and catch a thunderstorm in Kansas.

Minimum maintenance road.

Flooding causes standing water. Standing water causes mosquitoes and other insects. A fresh source of food means the dragonflies grow fat and happy. This one was about three inches long, with a five inch wingspan.

We’ve got ourselves a good old fashioned lightning storm. Western Kansas.


The longest swath of the Fourth of July trip that we’ll feature in one set of photos: about 800 miles covered in this burst. Continuing on US-212 across eastern Montana, to get to South Dakota, and then driving through the Black Hills at the time of day when they are the blackest. We then continue into Nebraska, and drive US-20 east all the way to Iowa.

Endless fields of yellow flowers are the most prominent feature of the eastern Montana landscape. All the way across the state on US-212, from I-90 eastward, featured miles upon miles of bright colors.

The Milky Way. A 90 second exposure.

Very early dawn in Nebraska. Above this house: a noctilucent cloud – one of the rarest kinds to see!

Slightly later dawn.


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