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NJ to NC roadtrip report 06/13/2009

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NJRoadfan:
Route taken: GSP South, US-1 South, I-95 South, I-495 South (DE), I-95 South (with DE toll bypass), I-495 West (outer loop), GW Parkway, I-395 South, I-95 South, I-295 South, VA-10 West, I-95 South, I-85 South, US-1 South, NC-55 East

Trip Notes:

NJ:
-The US-1 widening and reconstruction in Edison is mostly done. Just some final touchup work. Its nice having three through lanes all the way to I-287 now.

-Looks like they reconfigured the US-1/I-95/295 interchange on US-1 south to have separate exits as opposed to a C/D road.

PA:
-Never realized I-95 is signed 55mph throughout the entire state. Nothing interesting to report otherwise

DE:
-There is a jughandle at Chestnut Hill Rd. and DE-896. Never realized that.

MD:
- Construction of the HOT lanes north of Baltimore is progressing to the point that traffic at the I-695 interchange will all be exiting from the right in the next week. The rebuilt 95/895 interchange will open soon too.

-The Capital Beltway west of I-95 is much older then the eastern half. A lot of curves and tight interchanges. Also noticed the odd choice of "Northern Virginia" as a control city. Why not Tyson's Corner like VA signs?

VA:
-The GW Parkway wasn't all that exciting, but scenic. There is quite a bit of construction going on near the I-395 interchange.

-Is there any way to access the HOV lanes on I-395 from the Pentagon area? Didn't see any obvious crossovers from the GW Parkway.

-VA-10 is a nice little shortcut to I-95 from I-295, only 4 lights and its 4 lane divided.

-I-85 is a much nicer drive then I-95 through southern VA. A lot less stress and hardly any traffic (and no Emporia speedtrap).

NC:
- I noticed this back in December, but I-85 has finally been repaved in Warren and Vance counties, that old concrete was pretty rough.

-US-1 overall is a decent ride until Wake Forest. Then one gets stuck in mid-day Saturday traffic until I-440.

-Is there any reason why the I-540/US-1 interchange was built as a par-clo? It would move smoother without the lights.

-Was the speed limit on US-1/64 south of I-40/440 always 65mph (the reconstructed part)? I seem to recall it being 55mph back in September-December.

njroadhorse:

--- Quote ----Is there any reason why the I-540/US-1 interchange was built as a par-clo? It would move smoother without the lights.
--- End quote ---

That's because when I-540 was originally built, US 1 was the last interchange.  Because they knew it would eventually extend around, they built it as a par-clo rather than a trumpet.

akotchi:

--- Quote from: NJRoadfan on June 14, 2009, 04:22:38 PM ---
NJ:
-The US-1 widening and reconstruction in Edison is mostly done. Just some final touchup work. Its nice having three through lanes all the way to I-287 now.

-Looks like they reconfigured the US-1/I-95/295 interchange on US-1 south to have separate exits as opposed to a C/D road.


--- End quote ---

U.S. 1 project is supposed to be done by the end of the summer.  My employer designed the widening, and I inherited the traffic work from coworkers who started it.  This is the last project along that corridor that was originally one project from I-287 to Route 35.  The project had been in design since the late 1980's.

That I-95/I-295/U.S. 1 configuration has been in place for almost a year now.  My office is in Princeton, so I go through this location all of the time.

froggie:

--- Quote ----The Capital Beltway west of I-95 is much older then the eastern half. A lot of curves and tight interchanges.
--- End quote ---

It's not so much that it's "much older"...it actually isn't.  The entire DC Beltway (on both sides of the Potomac) was opened within a 3 year period (first segment opened in 1961, last segment in August 1964).

The reason, in no small part, for the curves is because, by the time construction began in the mid-50s, there was already a lot of suburban development in southern Montgomery County in those areas the Beltway now goes through (in particular between today's I-270 and US 29/Colesville Rd).


--- Quote ----Is there any way to access the HOV lanes on I-395 from the Pentagon area? Didn't see any obvious crossovers from the GW Parkway.
--- End quote ---

Two, actually.  There's one access on VA 27 just north of Columbia Pike (VA 244).  The other is an access ramp from Eads St, near the south end of the Pentagon South Parking lot.

If you took GW Pkwy all the way to I-395, instead of using VA 27 to cut the corner, that's why you didn't see any.  Unless you're coming from the SW Fwy within the District, there are no HOV access ramps on I-395 proper.


--- Quote ----Was the speed limit on US-1/64 south of I-40/440 always 65mph (the reconstructed part)? I seem to recall it being 55mph back in September-December.
--- End quote ---

Can't speak for southbound on the reconstructed stretch, but northbound was definitely 65 MPH back in May 2008.

Alex:

--- Quote from: NJRoadfan on June 14, 2009, 04:22:38 PM ---PA:
-Never realized I-95 is signed 55mph throughout the entire state. Nothing interesting to report otherwise

DE:
-There is a jughandle at Chestnut Hill Rd. and DE-896. Never realized that.

MD:
- Construction of the HOT lanes north of Baltimore is progressing to the point that traffic at the I-695 interchange will all be exiting from the right in the next week. The rebuilt 95/895 interchange will open soon too.

-The Capital Beltway west of I-95 is much older then the eastern half. A lot of curves and tight interchanges. Also noticed the odd choice of "Northern Virginia" as a control city. Why not Tyson's Corner like VA signs?

-I-85 is a much nicer drive then I-95 through southern VA. A lot less stress and hardly any traffic (and no Emporia speedtrap).


--- End quote ---

The speed limit is only 55 mph on the entire stretch of Interstate 95 in Delaware too. There was some debate about raising it a years ago, but officials felt that raising it would open the door to more speeding. Whenever I take it, the average speed is about 70 mph.

The jughandle along Delaware 896 at Chestnut Hill Road (old Delaware 4) was added around 1990. There is another jughandle intersection on Delaware 273 at Ruthar Drive. The jughandle is not the only way to make a left-hand turn from DE-273 east to Ruthar Drive as a conventional turn lane exists. The jughandle was added to accomodate trucks.

Those Northern Virginia control points on Interstate 495 predate the Tysons Corner ones. I guess they just never got around to updating or changing them. Granted, the signs in Maryland would only be changed if Virginia asked them to do so (from the knowledge of other states' dealing of control points).

I've always enjoyed the reprieve from Interstate 95 traffic and insanity when leaving Petersburg on Interstate 85. Hopefully that will not change anytime soon...

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