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Regional Boards => Mid-Atlantic => Topic started by: hbelkins on May 03, 2016, 02:42:28 PM

Title: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: hbelkins on May 03, 2016, 02:42:28 PM
So I'm looking to attend CPZ's Corridor H meet, which will begin and end in Front Royal. I'd like to try to maximize that trip and one way of possibly doing that is by trying to drive some parts of US 50 that I'm lacking. I don't have anything in Virginia east of VA 37, with the exception of a few bits and pieces here and there.

I don't know how much of the suburban jungle I want to try to tackle, even though I'd be there on Memorial Day when lots of offices would be closed, so I probably won't be trying to get everything from the Fairfax area east through Arlington and crossing the Potomac, because I don't want to waste too much time before I head west toward home.

Where's the best point to start a westward journey? I'm looking at possibly taking I-66 to VA 28 and then hitting US 50 at Chantilly. Another option, if it wouldn't be too messy, is to take I-66 all the way to US 50 west.

Any advice on this? Or would mid-morning on a federal holiday not be too much of a challenge to go all the way into DC and then work back?
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: oscar on May 03, 2016, 03:05:16 PM
So I'm looking to attend CPZ's Corridor H meet, which will begin and end in Front Royal. I'd like to try to maximize that trip and one way of possibly doing that is by trying to drive some parts of US 50 that I'm lacking. I don't have anything in Virginia east of VA 37, with the exception of a few bits and pieces here and there.

I don't know how much of the suburban jungle I want to try to tackle, even though I'd be there on Memorial Day when lots of offices would be closed, so I probably won't be trying to get everything from the Fairfax area east through Arlington and crossing the Potomac, because I don't want to waste too much time before I head west toward home.

Where's the best point to start a westward journey? I'm looking at possibly taking I-66 to VA 28 and then hitting US 50 at Chantilly. Another option, if it wouldn't be too messy, is to take I-66 all the way to US 50 west.

Any advice on this? Or would mid-morning on a federal holiday not be too much of a challenge to go all the way into DC and then work back?

On non-workdays, the suburban shopping mess takes over from the commute-to-work mess, especially east of VA 28. Development is just starting to sprout up between US 15 and VA 28, so it should be tolerable east to VA 28.

You could use VA 28 as a starting point to head west, or get on US 50 at the other end and drive east as far as you can before taking a bailout route to I-66.

US 50 in Arlington County is not bad except during the long weekday morning and afternoon rushes. Fairfax County has more messy US 50 stretches, any day of the week, which is a better reason not to venture east of VA 28.

EDITS: Between VA 37 and VA 28, following US 50 through Winchester can be kind of tricky. Also, US 50 through Middleburg will slow you down a little, since rich-bitch NIMBYs there have blocked the bypass US 50 really needs. Feel free to use the extra time productively, by practicing your one-finger salute as you pass through Middleburg.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: Mapmikey on May 03, 2016, 04:16:36 PM
US 50 is better posted through Winchester than it used to be (rerouted a few years ago and now posted in full size signs - you may not see ANY cutouts in Winchester).

Traffic calming is in Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville...a beautiful ride but not wide open end to end from US 17 to US 15.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 03, 2016, 07:11:55 PM
Do not speed through Upperville. Last five times I've gone through there I've seen a cop every time.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: froggie on May 03, 2016, 08:40:49 PM
Given the time of day and which day, I wouldn't think the leg between 28 and 66/Fair Oaks would be that bad.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 03, 2016, 09:25:26 PM
Its been a few months since I used this segment, but as of last fall there was a fair amount of construction for a few miles west of Route 28 as part of a widening project. I don't know whether it's done. Midday on a non-workday the bulk of the traffic would more likely be headed inbound.

One thing to remember as to the closer-in areas on Memorial Day itself is that there are road closures that morning around the Pentagon and across Memorial Bridge for the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally involving Vietnam veterans. It's generally not a traffic problem elsewhere aside from just being aware there will be a lot more motorcycles on area roads than there are the rest of the year, but it does cause more traffic on the other bridges and may cause mild issues reaching the Roosevelt Bridge from the DC side if you don't plan ahead.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: froggie on May 03, 2016, 10:04:40 PM
From the way it sounds, he won't be going any closer to the core than Fair Oaks...
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 04, 2016, 07:28:38 AM
From the way it sounds, he won't be going any closer to the core than Fair Oaks...

Yeah, but since he hedged it with "probably," I figured it certainly couldn't hurt to mention it.

As Oscar noted, the part inside the Beltway generally isn't all that bad outside rush hours, especially in Arlington. I've usually found it moves OK as far west as, say, Pickett Road, just east of where you start hitting the traffic lights and shopping areas through Fairfax City. One option for that segment would be to take Route 50 from the District west to Nutley Street, turn right, then pick up I-66 at the Vienna Metro.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: cpzilliacus on May 04, 2016, 01:33:14 PM
Do not speed through Upperville. Last five times I've gone through there I've seen a cop every time.

Strongly concur with the above.  The Fauquier County Sheriff's Office likes to have a deputy there (it is between Paris (where U.S. 17 peels off and heads south toward I-66 and then Warrenton) and Middleburg). 

Also watch for speed limit enforcement through the City of Fairfax (roughly from I-66 to Fairfax Circle, where U.S. 29 diverges from U.S. 50 just at the eastern corporate limits of the City of Fairfax).
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: hbelkins on May 23, 2016, 12:48:43 PM
Slight change of plans. I had anticipated doing something in Staunton on the Sunday night after the Corridor H meet concludes, but that fell through. So now I'm looking at going east after the meet and staying in the Gainesville/Manassas/Centreville area Sunday, and then crossing the Potomac and clinching all of US 50 in Virginia. This will require a U-turn, so I'm curious as to how best accomplish that. My first thought was to exit at US 29 for the Key Bridge, then double back on the Whitehurst/I-66 and exit for US 50 west. Would that be the best way, or would there be any better alternatives?

If we're done early enough Sunday afternoon/evening, I may do this leg of the US 50 clinch then and pick up where I leave off Monday morning heading west.

Thought on the best U-turn route or method? Anything better than what I have in mind?
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: froggie on May 23, 2016, 01:29:26 PM
No, that's probably the best way to do it, as it minimizes impacts from Georgetown, the Sunday Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride, and Monday's Memorial Day parade in the DC core.  While these events aren't directly along your path, they're close enough to where you'd have some spillover if you're doing it at the wrong time.  Best bets are later Sunday evening (Rolling Thunder ends 4-5-ish) or first thing Monday morning.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: hbelkins on May 23, 2016, 11:17:17 PM
I did this somewhat in reverse several years ago to get my clinch of I-66. I was going west on Constitution Avenue (US 50) and crossed the river, took the Key Bridge, then the Whitehurst to the beginning of I-66 in the District.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 24, 2016, 09:42:43 AM
I think froggie is right in terms of avoiding possible traffic. Another easy option that involves no traffic lights is to go inbound over the Roosevelt Bridge, exit to the left to stay on I-66, then get in the far left lane. I-66 ends at 27 Street and you just stay in the far left lane and go left at the traffic light (stop is not required in that lane) and you're back on I-66 back to the bridge. Easy route, no traffic lights, but subject to traffic delays if anything is going on down Constitution Avenue if the traffic spills back to the bridge.

Plus the Whitehurst has nicer views of the area. I-66 is in that sunken trench.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: hbelkins on May 24, 2016, 10:04:25 AM
Sudden thought -- are the HOV restrictions on I-66 inside the Beltway going to bite me on Memorial Day morning?
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 24, 2016, 11:42:59 AM
Sudden thought -- are the HOV restrictions on I-66 inside the Beltway going to bite me on Memorial Day morning?

No. No HOV in Virginia on federal holidays. HO/T rules are in effect on the Beltway and I-95, but from your comments those shouldn't be an issue for you. The only DC-area non-HO/T highway with HOV in place on holidays is a portion of Route 50 in Maryland.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 24, 2016, 03:45:38 PM
BTW....just so you know, early forecasts for Monday show a possibility of heavy rain, maybe one to three inches depending on the "model," Monday afternoon into Tuesday. Why should it be an different from the rest of the month (so far it's rained 19 of 24 days in May).
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: cpzilliacus on May 24, 2016, 11:40:23 PM
Sudden thought -- are the HOV restrictions on I-66 inside the Beltway going to bite me on Memorial Day morning?

Agree with Hoo.

But - if things are quiet - that's one of the rare times that you might encounter VSP speed limit enforcement along I-66 inside the Beltway. Suggest not exceeding the posted limit of 55 by much.

Same on U.S. 50 (Arlington Boulevard) in Arlington and Fairfax Counties and especially the City of Fairfax (local law enforcement along those routes).
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: oscar on May 25, 2016, 12:01:36 AM
Same on U.S. 50 (Arlington Boulevard) in Arlington and Fairfax Counties and especially the City of Fairfax (local law enforcement along those routes).

In Arlington, speed enforcement is toughest on US 50 east of the Carlin Springs Rd. interchange, and also east of the Glebe Rd. (VA 120) interchange. In both places, stay close to the 45mph limit.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 25, 2016, 07:23:54 AM
In my observation over the years, the strictest speed limit enforcement on Route 50 in the City of Fairfax tends to be on the section between Draper Drive (where you pass the Harley shop) and Eaton Place (just before you pass Hooters), presumably because (a) the road through there is three lanes per side and straight but carries a low 35-mph speed limit and (b) Fairfax High School is just off that stretch on the street named Rebel Run, although of course the high school kids won't be an issue on Memorial Day.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 25, 2016, 01:27:30 PM
Rolling Thunder details: It's on Sunday. Riders gather at the Pentagon and the ride begins at noon. Memorial Bridge to a left onto 23 Street NW, north to Constitution Avenue NW, east to Pennsylvania Avenue, then right onto Third Street and west on Independence Avenue to parking fields in West Potomac Park. Ride runs through around 3:30 PM.

The parade is on Monday at 2:00 down the usual parade route on Constitution between Seventh and 17th, but Constitution itself will be closed as far as 19th.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: hbelkins on May 25, 2016, 03:21:43 PM
Speeding has never been an issue for me in Virginia. Since I can't use my V-1, I watch my speed like a hawk.

Hearing reports about a possible tropical depression hitting the east coast sometime over the weekend. Oh what fun.

My plans are to leave the meet's conclusion at Oldtown on Sunday and head to Front Royal, which is about a two-hour drive, then east on VA 55 to Gainesville, then depending on time of day, decide whether to go on in and take 50 west to somewhere that would be convenient to pick up the trail on Monday morning, before ducking down to Manassas to my hotel.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 25, 2016, 03:56:58 PM
Probably the most convenient way to connect between Route 50 and Manassas is US-15 south from the roundabout at Gilbert's Corner to VA-234, which becomes VA-234 Business south of I-66 and is where most of the hotels, chain restaurants, and gas stations are. Heading west on 50, Route 15 is the third roundabout and you'd take the third exit.

You could go all the way down 15 to I-66 and backtrack, but to me that stretch of 15 feels like a long way even though it isn't, and there's construction at I-66 where they're building a DDI and on I-66 where they're widening the road.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: hbelkins on May 26, 2016, 01:29:43 PM
The only time I ever drove that stretch of 15 between 66 and 50, it was nearly dark and I couldn't see very much. They Haymarket Sheetz was my final stop on the way to Annapolis last September.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 26, 2016, 01:52:13 PM
It occurs to me today that Gum Spring Road might be more direct. I do not remember whether its intersection with Route 50 is in the middle of the work zone, nor do I know whether the widening of Route 50 that was underway last fall is done. I know I could look it up, I just haven't, and you'd find out for yourself either way!
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: hbelkins on June 03, 2016, 08:05:50 PM
I was late getting to Manassas Sunday night for my overnight stop, so I did not go any farther east. I got up Monday morning and took I-66 eastbound to US 29 (finding myself amazed at the lack of inbound traffic despite it being early on a federal holiday and at the VSP speed enforcement along the route), crossed the Key Bridge, took the Whitehurst to I-66 and followed US 50 out of the DC metro area without any problems whatsoever under very light traffic. The route's turns in Fairfax were posted with newer signs, but with not as many advance and at-the-intersection assemblies as is typical in Virginia.

Also, DC could do a much better job of signing US 29's turn from the Key Bridge to the Whitehurst, since there is no US 29 signage there at all now, and never has been since I first drove across the Key Bridge in 2004.

I left Manassas around 7 a.m. and was at the US 15 roundabout by 830. I just regret that I didn't go south of I-66 on Business 234 and turn around to get a photo of the wide Texas-style I-66 marker at the ramp from northbound 234 to eastbound 66.

US 50 is better posted through Winchester than it used to be (rerouted a few years ago and now posted in full size signs - you may not see ANY cutouts in Winchester).

Traffic calming is in Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville...a beautiful ride but not wide open end to end from US 17 to US 15.

One set of cutouts -- eastbound on US 50/17/522 between the Sheetz and I-81.

And how did those decorative medians ever get approved by VDOT? Seems to me they would cause difficulty for trucks or other wide loads.

And why is the truck restriction on US 17? Are their structurally deficient bridges along the route? From what I saw along US 50, I'd think it should be the truck-restricted route.

Also, were those three roundabouts in a row REALLY necessary? I'd only driven through the US 15/US 50 intersection once, northbound on 15, so I don't remember what kind of traffic control was in place there. But I can't imagine all three of those roundabouts were needed.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on June 03, 2016, 10:06:28 PM
The 15/50 intersection used to be a crossroads with a traffic light that backed up. The middle one of the three roundabouts you mention connects to a new road that itself then ends at another roundabout on Route 15 a short distance south of the main one—essentially intended to allow traffic connecting from 15 south of 50 to 50 east of 15, or vice versa, to avoid having to pass through the roundabout where the two routes meet. I have no idea how much traffic makes that maneuver, but the intent was noble. The other roundabout to the east has always struck me as a little bit much, and I generally like roundabouts.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: Mapmikey on June 03, 2016, 10:20:48 PM
There are no structurally deficient bridges on 17 between VA 55 and US 50.  What may be the issue is the railroad crossing in Delaplane, which for some reason has always been difficult to maintain as a smooth crossing and is posted as UNEVEN TRACKS with a 20 mph advisory. 

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

As for US 50, there are 19th century bridges still on that route that apparently don't require restrictions.  The AADT for trucks between US 17 and US 15 doesn't really crack 300 and is only 3% of the traffic.  I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 74/171FAN on June 03, 2016, 10:35:38 PM
The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.

I am basically going into fictional territory here, but then should US 17 basically be truncated to I-66 in Marshall?  (with current US 17 from VA 55 to US 50 possibly an extended VA 255)  I do remember you mentioning before that you believe VA 7 could also be an extended US 48 (which would have to get to Winchester first.).
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: froggie on June 04, 2016, 09:56:18 AM
Quote
And how did those decorative medians ever get approved by VDOT? Seems to me they would cause difficulty for trucks or other wide loads.

And why is the truck restriction on US 17? Are their structurally deficient bridges along the route? From what I saw along US 50, I'd think it should be the truck-restricted route.

Through trucks are required to use I-66, I-81, and VA 37.  Some of it is traffic calming, some of it is local influence.

Quote
Also, were those three roundabouts in a row REALLY necessary? I'd only driven through the US 15/US 50 intersection once, northbound on 15, so I don't remember what kind of traffic control was in place there. But I can't imagine all three of those roundabouts were needed.

Yes they were.  The first roundabout, at SR 860, was to avoid putting in a signal (previously was stop-control on SR 860).  The second roundabout is part of a new connector road in the southeast quadrant of the 15/50 area, as the heaviest traffic movements were between 15 South and 50 East.  This pulled enough traffic from the existing 15/50 junction to where it would work with a roundabout...previously was a signal that backed up considerably during peak hours.

Very aware of your dislike of roundabouts, but it works fairly well in that area.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: Mapmikey on June 04, 2016, 10:18:07 AM
The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.

I am basically going into fictional territory here, but then should US 17 basically be truncated to I-66 in Marshall?  (with current US 17 from VA 55 to US 50 possibly an extended VA 255)  I do remember you mentioning before that you believe VA 7 could also be an extended US 48 (which would have to get to Winchester first.).

My statement a while back about US 48 was more about VA 7 being a major route worthy of a US designation and 48 fitting the grid.  From a functional standpoint, it would make more sense to move US 50 over than to have US 48 reach the DC area, given that I-66 exists.

Don't know that US 17 would have to be truncated.  I would actually prefer it be extended to Hancock MD over US 522.

VA 255 should be downgraded...it already feels like a secondary route in most locations.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: Jmiles32 on June 04, 2016, 12:06:15 PM
There are no structurally deficient bridges on 17 between VA 55 and US 50.  What may be the issue is the railroad crossing in Delaplane, which for some reason has always been difficult to maintain as a smooth crossing and is posted as UNEVEN TRACKS with a 20 mph advisory. 

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

As for US 50, there are 19th century bridges still on that route that apparently don't require restrictions.  The AADT for trucks between US 17 and US 15 doesn't really crack 300 and is only 3% of the traffic.  I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.

Why would the dividend segment west of Middleburg be removed? It serves as great chance for passing. If VDOT was to possibly someday move the US 50 designation onto VA 7,  traffic on current US 50 wouldn't just disappear since it, like VA 7, serves as a commuter route. I like the idea of making US 48 more respectable and actually fitting the grid by replacing VA 7. As for VDOT trying to direct people off of two lane US 15,17, and 50 when everyone knows where they go, isn't really working and perhaps future widenings might have to happen eventually. People who don't want these roads widened claim that will spur crazy out of control deployment. This is possible, but both Loudoun and Fauquier could stop it if they really wanted to.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: Duke87 on June 04, 2016, 12:37:16 PM
Why would the dividend segment west of Middleburg be removed?

I am guessing it was built with the intent of being extended further before the aforementioned "rich-bitch NIMBYs" put a stop to it. They probably want the existing segment removed in order to enforce that it shall never be extended further in the future.

I drove through there on the way to Corridor H and it struck me as "well that was a random short section of divided highway".

It did not appear to be near the end of its life/in need of resurfacing soon, but if it is then redoing one side and closing the other would be cheaper than doing both, so saving money could be a more rational motive than NIMBY's demanding the bridge be burned.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on June 04, 2016, 01:38:32 PM
I seem to recall reading somewhere, but I do not remember where, that the proposal for that divided segment was not to eliminate it entirely but rather to sever it from Route 50 so that thru traffic would use the current westbound (northern) carriageway and the current eastbound (southern) carriageway would remain in place, just disconnected at each end, to provide access for the homeowners and businesses located along that segment. I'm pretty sure it wasn't on the Route50.org website.

It is indeed a fairly random-feeling divided segment, and it is indeed a great opportunity to pass slower traffic. It certainly doesn't fit with the rest of the road and I don't doubt there's some sentiment in Middleburg that eastbound people who floor it to pass sometimes enter the town at too high a speed (when I was younger and dumber I was one of those people more than once).
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 74/171FAN on June 04, 2016, 03:03:12 PM
The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.

I am basically going into fictional territory here, but then should US 17 basically be truncated to I-66 in Marshall?  (with current US 17 from VA 55 to US 50 possibly an extended VA 255)  I do remember you mentioning before that you believe VA 7 could also be an extended US 48 (which would have to get to Winchester first.).

My statement a while back about US 48 was more about VA 7 being a major route worthy of a US designation and 48 fitting the grid.  From a functional standpoint, it would make more sense to move US 50 over than to have US 48 reach the DC area, given that I-66 exists.

Don't know that US 17 would have to be truncated.  I would actually prefer it be extended to Hancock MD over US 522.

VA 255 should be downgraded...it already feels like a secondary route in most locations.

I can agree on VA 255, I drove it one night in January while heading home to see my family and the southern portion around Millwood in particular definitely felt like a secondary route.

I have also noticed that taking US 17 and US 50 in Winchester instead of I-81 to I-66 seems to be negligible on time.  (oddly putting it in Google maps (https://www.google.com/maps/dir/38.8922024,-77.9097615/39.1639251,-78.1597069/@38.896242,-77.9150004,16.74z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e0) the former seems to be slightly faster)  Personally, I would be more likely to use I-66 to I-81 if planning to stay on interstates or going to VA 37, but I would use US 17/US 50 if planning to go into downtown Winchester.

 
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: cpzilliacus on June 04, 2016, 09:53:54 PM
Don't know that US 17 would have to be truncated.  I would actually prefer it be extended to Hancock MD over US 522.

Because the people of substantial means along U.S. 17 between I-66 at Delaplane and U.S. 50 at Paris have succeeded in getting a total truck ban imposed, I would like to see U.S. 17 terminate at I-66 at Marshall.

The section of 17 that has the total truck ban should be downgraded to a secondary system highway, and the redundant overlap with U.S. 50 can be entirely removed. Business U.S. 17 through Marshall can be entirely removed, or it can be converted to Business Loop I-66 (though I have never seen a business Interstate Loop in Virginia).
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: hbelkins on June 04, 2016, 10:02:18 PM
There was at least one sign posted along westbound US 50 that had a "Truck Route" plate installed where "West" should go.

I've never driven US 17 between I-66 and US 50, but from here it seems to me that trucks should be prohibited on US 50 instead of US 17.

And I agree that US 17 should be truncated at either I-66 or US 50, instead of following a useless concurrency into downtown Winchester.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 74/171FAN on June 04, 2016, 10:16:49 PM
Don't know that US 17 would have to be truncated.  I would actually prefer it be extended to Hancock MD over US 522.

Because the people of substantial means along U.S. 17 between I-66 at Delaplane and U.S. 50 at Paris have succeeded in getting a total truck ban imposed, I would like to see U.S. 17 terminate at I-66 at Marshall.  ?

The section of 17 that has the total truck ban should be downgraded to a secondary system highway, and the redundant overlap with U.S. 50 can be entirely removed. Business U.S. 17 through Marshall can be entirely removed, or it can be converted to Business Loop I-66 (though I have never seen a business Interstate Loop in Virginia).

I would prefer that the section of 17 stays in the primary system, but only due to its function as a shortcut for cars to US 340 near Boyce over going to Front Royal to access US 340/522 or even having to cut east on VA 277 from I-81 (which it seems that some trucks may be forced into doing??)

I doubt that a Business Loop I-66 would make sense due to the presence of VA 55.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: Mapmikey on June 05, 2016, 09:46:49 AM
I've never driven US 17 between I-66 and US 50, but from here it seems to me that trucks should be prohibited on US 50 instead of US 17.



This part of US 17 is very nice.  No sharp curves, and no towns.  Serves Sky Meadows State Park which is scenic.  They straightened out this road a long time ago.  The only downside is the 45 mph speed limit which is hard because it is clearly designed for more than that.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: cpzilliacus on June 05, 2016, 10:38:47 AM
There are no structurally deficient bridges on 17 between VA 55 and US 50.  What may be the issue is the railroad crossing in Delaplane, which for some reason has always been difficult to maintain as a smooth crossing and is posted as UNEVEN TRACKS with a 20 mph advisory.

Agreed.  That railroad grade crossing (especially for southbound movements) is a hazard for laden trucks, who used to use U.S. 17 as a shortcut to avoid I-81 (and the weigh/inspection station at Stephens City) and I-66.  South of Marshall, U.S. 17 is a de facto Outer Beltway routing for trucks, from I-95 in southern Stafford County to I-66 at Marshall.

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

Yes, there is even a sign on northbound I-81 approaching the ramp to U.S. 50/U.S. 17/U.S. 522 South stating that.

As for US 50, there are 19th century bridges still on that route that apparently don't require restrictions.  The AADT for trucks between US 17 and US 15 doesn't really crack 300 and is only 3% of the traffic.  I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.

All of the changes to U.S. 50 between Paris and Arcola bear the fingerprints of the Piedmont Environmental Council, which would like to convert the road to some sort of a private driveway for their contributors, and to keep the unwashed masses away from Middleburg and Upperville.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 74/171FAN on June 05, 2016, 01:25:46 PM
There are no structurally deficient bridges on 17 between VA 55 and US 50.  What may be the issue is the railroad crossing in Delaplane, which for some reason has always been difficult to maintain as a smooth crossing and is posted as UNEVEN TRACKS with a 20 mph advisory.

Agreed.  That railroad grade crossing (especially for southbound movements) is a hazard for laden trucks, who used to use U.S. 17 as a shortcut to avoid I-81 (and the weigh/inspection station at Stephens City) and I-66.  South of Marshall, U.S. 17 is a de facto Outer Beltway routing for trucks, from I-95 in southern Stafford County to I-66 at Marshall.

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

Yes, there is even a sign on northbound I-81 approaching the ramp to U.S. 50/U.S. 17/U.S. 522 South stating that.

I think you meant  I-81 southbound (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1685526,-78.1534471,3a,75y,241.67h,86.48t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s3LIoajefjN2r71MD32_qpg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1). (unless it is not on GSV)
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: cpzilliacus on June 05, 2016, 07:30:03 PM
I think you meant  I-81 southbound (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1685526,-78.1534471,3a,75y,241.67h,86.48t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s3LIoajefjN2r71MD32_qpg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1). (unless it is not on GSV)

No, I mean northbound (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1591334,-78.1615929,3a,15y,83.65h,88.11t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s__ZLC6kw5QU1vQkXfFQicg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1) (November 2015).

It does not show on the northbound I-81 GSV (because the GSV car was overtaking a FedEx double trailer combination, also November 2015) but it can be seen looking across the median from the southbound side.

And yes, there is one on I-81 southbound (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1685526,-78.1534471,3a,37.5y,257.57h,87.11t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s3LIoajefjN2r71MD32_qpg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656) as well, as you post above.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 74/171FAN on November 02, 2016, 08:57:48 PM
Traffic calming is in Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville...a beautiful ride but not wide open end to end from US 17 to US 15.

Well it looks like another traffic calming project in Middleburg (http://wtop.com/loudoun-county/2016/11/road-changes-aim-to-slow-traffic-through-middleburg/slide/1/) was just completed.

I have also noticed that taking US 17 and US 50 in Winchester instead of I-81 to I-66 seems to be negligible on time.  (oddly putting it in Google maps (https://www.google.com/maps/dir/38.8922024,-77.9097615/39.1639251,-78.1597069/@38.896242,-77.9150004,16.74z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e0) the former seems to be slightly faster)  Personally, I would be more likely to use I-66 to I-81 if planning to stay on interstates or going to VA 37, but I would use US 17/US 50 if planning to go into downtown Winchester.

I also wanted to make an update on this.  Last time I went to see my parents (back in July), I used US 17 and US 50 instead of I-81 to I-66 as I did not need to get gas before entering VA so I waited until I got to the Sheetz at the US 340 intersection (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.0820804,-78.0857251,17z).
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: cpzilliacus on November 03, 2016, 09:49:57 AM
Traffic calming is in Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville...a beautiful ride but not wide open end to end from US 17 to US 15.

Well it looks like another traffic calming project in Middleburg (http://wtop.com/loudoun-county/2016/11/road-changes-aim-to-slow-traffic-through-middleburg/slide/1/) was just completed.

WTOP Radio was reporting that rather prominently on their air yesterday.

Middleburg (along with Upperville) and Warrenton are smack in the middle of the wheelhouse(s) of the Piedmont Environmental Council. 

I have also noticed that taking US 17 and US 50 in Winchester instead of I-81 to I-66 seems to be negligible on time.  (oddly putting it in Google maps (https://www.google.com/maps/dir/38.8922024,-77.9097615/39.1639251,-78.1597069/@38.896242,-77.9150004,16.74z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e0) the former seems to be slightly faster)  Personally, I would be more likely to use I-66 to I-81 if planning to stay on interstates or going to VA 37, but I would use US 17/US 50 if planning to go into downtown Winchester.

I also wanted to make an update on this.  Last time I went to see my parents (back in July), I used US 17 and US 50 instead of I-81 to I-66 as I did not need to get gas before entering VA so I waited until I got to the Sheetz at the US 340 intersection (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.0820804,-78.0857251,17z).

I may not have noticed that Sheetz before.  There used to be a 7-11 store on that parcel of land, so Sheetz is a definite improvement!
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: hbelkins on November 03, 2016, 11:51:06 AM
I may not have noticed that Sheetz before.  There used to be a 7-11 store on that parcel of land, so Sheetz is a definite improvement!

I have stopped at that Sheetz twice before. Once when doing my US 340 clinch, and most recently when doing my US 50 Virginia clinch that is the subject of this thread.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: cpzilliacus on November 03, 2016, 06:17:01 PM
I may not have noticed that Sheetz before.  There used to be a 7-11 store on that parcel of land, so Sheetz is a definite improvement!

I have stopped at that Sheetz twice before. Once when doing my US 340 clinch, and most recently when doing my US 50 Virginia clinch that is the subject of this thread.

I rather like the Virginia part of U.S. 50, aside from the politics associated with the lack of widening across much of Loudoun County. 

It comes down the mountain from West Virginia, through (not around) Winchester, then pretty rolling countryside and across the Blue Ridge (locally called Paris Mountain because of the town just over the east side of the ridgecrest), through  the extremely wealthy Upperville area, and the excessively quaint Middleburg.  Then into the sprawl and the wealth of Northern Virginia passing south of Dulles Airport and through the City of Fairfax, then the "final" Virginia section, Arlington Boulevard, with its mysterious 8 ton truck weight limit (nobody I have talked to seems to know the origin of that limit) and merging with I-66 as it crosses into D.C.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: HTM Duke on November 03, 2016, 08:26:57 PM
...its mysterious 8 ton truck weight limit... (nobody I have talked to seems to know the origin of that limit)...

If I recall correctly, a Dr. Gridlock column from way back in the day addressed this issue.  It turned out that the substructure under US-50 is so old that it can no longer support such heavy loads.   Took a while, but I did manage to find the column: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2001/01/11/navigating-route-50/a34cf73a-1dd4-40b5-8a81-d1acec2f3eea/
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: Mapmikey on November 03, 2016, 08:36:55 PM
... then the "final" Virginia section, Arlington Boulevard, with its mysterious 8 ton truck weight limit (nobody I have talked to seems to know the origin of that limit) and merging with I-66 as it crosses into D.C.

You have now talked to the right person...

The restriction was enacted Sept 23, 1937 (pg 28 at http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-09-1937-01.pdf) from Falls Church to Fort Myer

"not sufficiently strong to carry heavily weighted trucks."

Pg. 29 of the March 1950 CTB (http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-03-1950-01.pdf) noted that the exact boundary of the truck restriction was not well defined so here they made it explicit from VA 237 Ft Myer west to the Fairfax Circle.

US 50 was officially put onto Arlington Blvd in Aug 1937 and it was new construction, so it is curious and unfortunate it was unable to handle truck traffic as it existed in the 1930s. 

The Dr. Gridlock article reads to me that while the road is old, the truck restriction is a recent development.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: cpzilliacus on November 03, 2016, 10:39:00 PM
... then the "final" Virginia section, Arlington Boulevard, with its mysterious 8 ton truck weight limit (nobody I have talked to seems to know the origin of that limit) and merging with I-66 as it crosses into D.C.

You have now talked to the right person...

The restriction was enacted Sept 23, 1937 (pg 28 at http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-09-1937-01.pdf) from Falls Church to Fort Myer

"not sufficiently strong to carry heavily weighted trucks."

Pg. 29 of the March 1950 CTB (http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-03-1950-01.pdf) noted that the exact boundary of the truck restriction was not well defined so here they made it explicit from VA 237 Ft Myer west to the Fairfax Circle.

US 50 was officially put onto Arlington Blvd in Aug 1937 and it was new construction, so it is curious and unfortunate it was unable to handle truck traffic as it existed in the 1930s. 

The Dr. Gridlock article reads to me that while the road is old, the truck restriction is a recent development.

That's really fascinating. I remember U.S. 50 having a weight restriction as far back as the  1960's (I have mentioned in this forum going to visit an aunt and uncle that lived in the Lake Barcroft area of Fairfax County), and our route would cross U.S. 50 (Arlington Boulevard) at some point on the way there.

I am speculating now, but I wonder if the original construction might have been done by the federal government (maybe to improve road access to Fort Myer) and then turned-over to State Highway Commission/Virginia Department of Highways? I have a hard time believing that VDH (or its predecessor, SHC) would have allowed the construction of such a substandard road with state dollars.

I know that much of Arlington Boulevard has an "old" feel to it, though the limits above do raise a question. Buses have apparently never been restricted (including chartered buses, school buses, and especially transit buses (Arnold Lines prior to about 1964, then D.C. Transit's Virginia subsidiary, W.V.&M. "Virginia Lines," and since 1972 WMATA's Metrobus and in some places probably ART and Fairfax Connector)).  The transit buses run by  Arnold Lines, W.V.&M. and WMATA were quite a bit heavier than 8 tons, and generally very heavy in the rear over the drive axle. 

I assume that those drive axle loadings would be very hard on the pavement, but apparently not that much.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: 1995hoo on November 08, 2016, 07:21:41 AM
Regarding Route 50 generally, in another long-dormant thread we had noted that its crossings between Fauquier and Loudoun Counties weren't marked. They are now. Ms1995hoo and I stopped in Middleburg this past Sunday on the way back from our favorite winery and I noted there are now several county line signs in place, all the newer style with the county names not in all-caps.

I put this here instead of in the other thread just because I didn't think it was a matter significant enough to warrant exhuming a dead discussion.
Title: Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
Post by: cpzilliacus on November 08, 2016, 11:39:14 AM
Regarding Route 50 generally, in another long-dormant thread we had noted that its crossings between Fauquier and Loudoun Counties weren't marked. They are now. Ms1995hoo and I stopped in Middleburg this past Sunday on the way back from our favorite winery and I noted there are now several county line signs in place, all the newer style with the county names not in all-caps.

I put this here instead of in the other thread just because I didn't think it was a matter significant enough to warrant exhuming a dead discussion.

Yeah, U.S. 50 jumps back and forth between Loudoun County and Fauquier Count several times between the crest of the Blue Ridge and Middleburg.

Have not been by since the those crossings of the boundary were signed.