North America

AARoads contributor Chris Kalina traveled through the Memphis area on Saturday March 8th and took a look at progress for construction of Interstate 269, the Memphis outer beltway. Work is underway along the entire corridor from Interstates 55 & 69 east to Tennessee 385 (Bill Morris Parkway) at Collierville.

Tennessee is scheduled to complete their portion of I-269 by 2015, with work continuing through northern Mississippi until 2018.1 A great overview of current construction and the planned alignment for the freeway is available at the DeSoto County, Mississippi GIS Viewer.

Bridge supports and decking takes shape at an future overpass for McIngvale Road above the eventual mainline of Interstates 22 & 269, east of Interstate 55.


The first of several construction projects encountered yesterday involves widening of Interstate 75 through Lee County, Florida, including the 1.6-mile project to expand the Caloosahatchee River. The $72-million project kicked off here in January 2013 and runs through fall of 2015. Construction is part of the final phase to expand all 33 miles of I-75 through Lee County to six lanes.1

Ten miles or so further south is the $54.1-million project to construct a new trumpet interchange joining Interstate 75 with Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) directly. The I-75 -> Airport Direct Connect project commenced in fall 2012. Work includes the addition of a collector/distributor roadway along both sides of the freeway, tying in ramps for the Terminal Access Road extension with the adjacent Alico Road ramps.2

Also included in the work slated to run until spring 2015 is an overpass for the Airport Access Road above parallel Treeline Avenue / Ben Hill Griffin Parkway. A half-diamond interchange will provide local access to the airport from the surface arterial.2


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.

Dan B. and I took a trip to South America a few weeks ago. Here are the photos from Mexico City, where I stayed overnight and for one afternoon in transit, and also the flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Chile.

The volcano Ixtlazihuatl. Or Iztaccihuatl? Wikipedia gives one spelling; the highway signs another. In any case, it is the third-highest peak in Mexico, at 17160 feet. The peak appeared for a total of maybe 45 seconds and I was quite fortunate to get this shot. It’s the only mountain I saw in the Mexico City area – Popocatepetl, several miles to the south, remained hidden by clouds the whole time.

Monte Fitzroy, Argentina. I took the color out of this photo when I realized that the best way to cut through all the haze was to just start with only the green channel of the original photo. We will see this mountain from somewhat closer as one of our primary destinations on our trip.


The Crosstown Connector, an elevated toll road that will link Interstate 4 with the parallel Florida Toll 618 (Leroy Selmon Crosstown Expressway) and the Port of Tampa, is under construction presently. With work starting on March 1, 2010, major progress is underway with flyovers nearing completion above both the I-4 mainline and the Crosstown. The tentative completion date is set for late 2013. We passed through the north end of the $400 million project yesterday and took these photographs:

The main flyovers at the north end join Interstate 4 east from the left-hand side with the Connector southbound and the Connector northbound with the left-hand side of Interstate 4 west.

The toll gantry appears above the future Connector mainline viaduct in this southward scene from Interstate 4 east. All tolls will be collected electronically using the Sunpass or toll by plate tolling.

Stubs exist at the north ends of the Crosstown Connector mainline.

A left-hand ramp will depart from Interstate 4 in this westbound scene for the Crosstown Connector southbound.

Traffic from the Connector northbound will join Interstate 4 west after the CSX Railroad under crossing.

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.


Moose in the morning.

The leaves are changing color.

This – and the 1 mile advance sign just to the north – are the only button copy signs I know of in Alaska.

Heading back down to Anchorage. I made this photo black and white because there just wasn’t all that much color to begin with!


after the Arctic Circle, we head south and then west to Manley Hot Springs, before returning to Anchorage.

The Dalton Highway is numbered 11 – but there are very few signs for it.

Ducking between clouds for sunset.

And here’s the northern lights, from Manley Hot Springs!


interrupting the Mexico photos, we now bring you a week-long trip in two stages: several days driving all over Alaska, and several in Washington.

This first batch is the flight to Anchorage, and an attempt to drive the Dalton Highway all the way up to the Arctic Ocean at Deadhorse. How far will we make it?

Fjords of British Columbia, as seen from a Seattle to Anchorage flight.

Typical Dalton Highway clouds.

Official photo of the Arctic Circle monument. We made it!


we continue on our Sonora trip, heading south into the mountains to the towns of Nazocari and Hermosillo.

Highway 14 across the mountains in the evening.

What is going on in this photo? Read on to find out!


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