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Facilities that states build for Testing

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--- Quote from: VTGoose on November 22, 2022, 09:00:58 AM ---
--- Quote from: hbelkins on November 21, 2022, 01:23:43 PM ---
--- Quote from: plain on November 20, 2022, 09:31:55 PM ---Virginia's Smart Road

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Which was originally intended to become part of I-73 or I-74, or both.

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That wild idea came later. The route of the Smart Road was initially part of 15+ alternatives proposed to improve the connection between Blacksburg (home of Virginia Tech and at the time, 20,000+ students, plus football traffic) and I-81 at Christiansburg and ultimately to Roanoke and beyond. The proposals went from "do nothing" to various parallel roadways on either side of the existing inadequate highway to several direct routes to some location on I-81. The "connect the bypasses" plan was the one adopted. Several influential people saw a direct route from the end of the Blacksburg bypass to I-81 as the better alternative and pushed for it to happen (even though it wouldn't connect to I-81 very far north of the current exit 118). A number of ploys were put forth to eventually get the road built, including how it would solve the problem of the "connect the bypasses" becoming overburdened with traffic. Someone decided a road test bed would be a good start and the Smart Road was born (among much dissent and consternation at the time, since a lot of the proposal was made up out of thin air -- there was no hard study to show the need or benefits). The plan gained enough traction early in the design of the new road so that the junction of S. Main St., the end of the current bypass, and the new highway became quite complex with the addition of multiple ramps and overpasses (one of which, while rarely used as part of the Smart Road, was on the verge of failure) to be available when the new road was completed to I-81. Construction of the Smart Road started, including the tallest bridge in Virginia

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Using the directions you gave me, I drove down beneath that bridge when I spent that week in Blacksburg 18 years ago for a training class.

That bridge's honor as the tallest in your commonwealth has been overtaken by the new US 460 bridge just outside the border with my commonwealth. And the tallest bridge in my commonwealth is under construction just a few miles away from it.

In addition to the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio has two places where alternate roadways were built to allow traffic to be moved on/off roadways for testing different pavement conditions.

The older one is on US 23 near Waldo:

A newer one targeted at rural-two lane highways was built on US 50 in Vinton County several years ago. This stretch used a section that was built on a new alignment in the 1960s with ROW for 4 lanes, but where only one set of lanes was previously constructed:

I've encountered several places over the years where states have tried out several different kinds of pavement, or several different kinds of paint for striping, or several different kinds of gravel for drainage, all along a public highway, but I can't find any current Google Street View for it. However, Google Earth shows some gravel tests in the 7/2011 historical imagery at  34.960548, -117.438691.

Isn't there somewhere in Illinois along I-80 where they do that, or did that? Dad always likes to mention how they did some testing on I-80 when the interstates were new.


--- Quote from: roadman65 on November 20, 2022, 08:34:09 PM ---

Does anyone know of any other state like Florida to build such a facility like Suntrax to test out various things related to roads?

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Florida has another test area on U.S. 301 south of Baldwin. The "Concrete Test Road" has been under construction since 2016 and has yet to open. It consists of a 2.5-mile section of two-lane roadway parallel to the existing northbound lanes of 301. If it opens, traffic can be diverted to the test lanes without disruption to traffic flow. Details here:


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