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Author Topic: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of  (Read 7465 times)

briantroutman

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The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« on: September 01, 2013, 12:55:11 AM »

Though Pennsylvania has long used the term "expressway" to refer to what most states and the FHWA defines as a freeway, the F word has been slowly creeping onto signs around PA in recent years. Now it seems that the other shoe has dropped—today I saw this sign on PA 924 near Hazleton. (Yes, the city that also brought us the "Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Beltway".)



Bear in mind that the section that I was driving on didn't fit anyone's definition of a freeway…it is a four-lane arterial with a continuous center turn lane and businesses and driveways bordering the ROW. But further north, it does become a more standard Santa Clara-style expressway with restricted frontage access, a median, and limited at-grade intersections. This is the only place I have seen "expressway" used in Pennsylvania to refer to a true expressway.

"CAN DO", by the way, is the name of a local non-profit (but private) corporation that supports economic development in Hazleton. Interestingly, despite the big signs proclaiming the name of this expressway, I didn't see any reassurance markers indicating that the road is also PA 924. The guide signs for the exit on I-81 show a PA 924 shield but make no mention of the "CAN DO Expwy". Google Maps lists neither a route number nor a street name, though dropping a person on street view does indicate current location as "Pennsylvania 924". Perhaps some of the more DOT and GIS-familiar among you may know what's going on there.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 12:57:21 AM by briantroutman »
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NE2

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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 01:32:51 AM »

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/US/PDF/1994/0/0124..PDF
Quote
Section 1. The portion of S.R.0924 in Luzerne County beginning at S.R.0093 (Broad Street) in Hazleton west to the Luzerne County-Schuylkill County line is hereby designated and shall be known as the CAN DO Expressway.
Section 2. The Department of Transportation shall erect and maintain road signs which shall display the name of the CAN DO Expressway at the beginning and end of the section of highway so designated.
Section 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
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amroad17

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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2013, 05:03:52 AM »

So, basically, I-95 in NJ would be called the WON'T DO Expressway/Freeway?
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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2013, 10:43:00 AM »

Though Pennsylvania has long used the term "expressway" to refer to what most states and the FHWA defines as a freeway, the F word has been slowly creeping onto signs around PA in recent years. Now it seems that the other shoe has dropped—today I saw this sign on PA 924 near Hazleton. (Yes, the city that also brought us the "Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Beltway".)



Bear in mind that the section that I was driving on didn't fit anyone's definition of a freeway…it is a four-lane arterial with a continuous center turn lane and businesses and driveways bordering the ROW. But further north, it does become a more standard Santa Clara-style expressway with restricted frontage access, a median, and limited at-grade intersections. This is the only place I have seen "expressway" used in Pennsylvania to refer to a true expressway.

"CAN DO", by the way, is the name of a local non-profit (but private) corporation that supports economic development in Hazleton. Interestingly, despite the big signs proclaiming the name of this expressway, I didn't see any reassurance markers indicating that the road is also PA 924. The guide signs for the exit on I-81 show a PA 924 shield but make no mention of the "CAN DO Expwy". Google Maps lists neither a route number nor a street name, though dropping a person on street view does indicate current location as "Pennsylvania 924". Perhaps some of the more DOT and GIS-familiar among you may know what's going on there.
Looks more like a two-way left turn lane than a median.
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bzakharin

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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2013, 10:51:50 AM »

What's a true expressway? I thought expressways and freeways were the same thing, i.e. controlled access divided highways with no traffic lights. (And here in NJ, if you try to use either term, people will look at you like you're speaking Chinese, despite the fact that "highway" is way too broad and can be used to describe anything from a freeway to what Wikipedia calls "divided highway with jughandles" to perhaps even some higher traffic undivided roads)
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briantroutman

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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2013, 11:51:11 AM »

Looks more like a two-way left turn lane than a median.

The median was elsewhere—not in the section pictured.

Bear in mind that the section that I was driving ...four-lane arterial with a continuous center turn lane ...

What's a true expressway? I thought expressways and freeways were the same thing...

PA and some other states often use the two terms interchangeably, but other states and the FHWA separate the two. Freeways have full control of access—no driveways or other access to adjoining properties—and complete grade separation with all other highways, railroads, etc. (With some anomalies here and there). Expressways, on the other hand, typically have restrictions on access from bordering properties but may still have at-grade intersections.

the section that I was driving on didn't fit anyone's definition of a freeway…

That's true, too, but I meant to say that this section didn't fit anyone's definition of an expressway.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2013, 12:05:27 PM »

What's a true expressway? I thought expressways and freeways were the same thing, i.e. controlled access divided highways with no traffic lights. (And here in NJ, if you try to use either term, people will look at you like you're speaking Chinese, despite the fact that "highway" is way too broad and can be used to describe anything from a freeway to what Wikipedia calls "divided highway with jughandles" to perhaps even some higher traffic undivided roads)

An expressway, unlike a freeway, can have partial control of access.  That means that at-grade intersections (even signalized intersections) are allowed on expressways.  But unlike arterial highways, expressways do generally not have private driveways. 

Central Expressway in Silicon Valley is a good example of an expressway.

West Virginia's section of Appalachian Development Highway System Corridor H (partly complete, partly under construction) is also a good example of an expressway (even though WVDOT has signs at the ends of the completed sections which read "Freeway Ends," it is definitely not a freeway).  There are also a  few private driveways that lead on to Corridor H (but at least some of those are for utility companies to access the rights-of-way of high-voltage transmission lines).
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 12:24:00 PM by cpzilliacus »
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lepidopteran

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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2013, 10:25:47 PM »

Would you consider a non-freeway expressway to be US-11/15, between the "true" freeway portions at Selinsgrove and where US-22/322 branch off?  I don't think there are many business driveways directly on the road, and the eastern side is mostly just along the river anyway (though there might be a campground or park or two there, not to mention a ferry if it's still around).  11/15 is one of the few places I've ever seen jughandles in the state.
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briantroutman

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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2013, 12:59:10 AM »

Would you consider a non-freeway expressway to be US-11/15, between the "true" freeway portions at Selinsgrove and where US-22/322 branch off?  I don't think there are many business driveways directly on the road, and the eastern side is mostly just along the river anyway (though there might be a campground or park or two there, not to mention a ferry if it's still around).  11/15 is one of the few places I've ever seen jughandles in the state.

I see where you're going with that, but I'd say no. PennDOT did extensive work to reduce the number of intersections and consolidate access points to as few at-grade intersections as practical, but there are still numerous driveways on the southbound side (opposite the river). Hilsher's General Store and Shaffers Restaurant in Port Treverton as well as the Sunoco near Liverpool come to mind straight away, and I know there are several other homes and businesses along that stretch.  Functionally, it is somewhat like a "true" expressway, but I think it would need more control of frontage access to qualify.
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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2013, 08:34:38 AM »

What's a true expressway? I thought expressways and freeways were the same thing...

PA and some other states often use the two terms interchangeably, but other states and the FHWA separate the two. Freeways have full control of access—no driveways or other access to adjoining properties—and complete grade separation with all other highways, railroads, etc. (With some anomalies here and there). Expressways, on the other hand, typically have restrictions on access from bordering properties but may still have at-grade intersections.

Some other states meaning the ones in the Northeast region that Pennsylvania is part of.  Around here, if you talk about a freeway, people will think you're from California.  All of the roads called expressways in our region are freeways.  There are a couple of exceptions where there are traffic lights on an expressway, such as the Nassau Expressway (NY 878) and the Southern Tier Expressway (NY 17/Future I-86), but there are historical reasons for the former and the latter only has them in a few areas and is otherwise a freeway.
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1995hoo

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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2013, 09:35:16 AM »

....

West Virginia's section of Appalachian Development Highway System Corridor H (partly complete, partly under construction) is also a good example of an expressway (even though WVDOT has signs at the ends of the completed sections which read "Freeway Ends," it is definitely not a freeway).  There are also a  few private driveways that lead on to Corridor H (but at least some of those are for utility companies to access the rights-of-way of high-voltage transmission lines).

West Virginia does that elsewhere too. Here's an example on US-340 approaching Harpers Ferry (picture from AARoads.com since I was driving my wife's car when we last went through there and she doesn't like me taking pictures while I drive):




I would say Corridor H, at least the eastern portion, feels far more like a "freeway" (in the technical sense of that word) than US-340 does.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2013, 11:54:42 AM »

I would say Corridor H, at least the eastern portion, feels far more like a "freeway" (in the technical sense of that word) than US-340 does.

Agreed.  The eastern part of Corridor H (at least the part that is open  to traffic) has no signalized intersections, and the roads that intersect at-grade are decidedly low-volume affairs. The 65 MPH posted limit is appropriate. 

The western part of Corridor H that's open to traffic between Weston and Kerens has several signalized at-grade intersections (one at U.S. 250 North (Belington), one at Buckhannon, and one at Weston - along with a flasher-controlled junction on the west side of Elkins itself).  All of those are from memory -  I may have missed one or two of them.

Returning to your point about U.S. 340 in Jefferson County, you are correct.  That road is a rural principal arterial, definitely not a freeway.
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Henry

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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 01:21:52 PM »

Sooner or later, there's bound to be some confusion among motorists who are either from or have been to Philadelphia, and are familiar with that city's limited-access expressways.
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Re: The Non-Freeway Expressway Comes to PA…Sort of
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2013, 09:47:46 PM »

Speaking of PA 924, last time I drove on that road, it was posted 40MPH between S. Broad (PA 654) and I-81...  WTF, seriously?  It's divided for most of the way there and could easily be 55.  PA and their stupid speed limits, ugh.  Granted, this was back in '02...can anyone confirm if the speed limit has been changed?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 09:51:58 PM by Crazy Volvo Guy »
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