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Author Topic: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back  (Read 9359 times)

hbelkins

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Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« on: May 07, 2015, 01:53:26 PM »

As I posted on the Meets board, there's a good possibility I will be going to Annapolis in September to attend the AASHTO TransComm conference. I'll be traveling in a state vehicle, which precludes any optional exploring.

However...

Google Maps says the fastest and shortest way to get from here to there is via I-79, I-68, I-70, I-695 and I-97, even if I have to travel through Pikeville to pick up a colleague. But interestingly enough, it's shorter (but a half-hour longer) to travel from Annapolis to Weston, WV (which, of course, is on the aforementioned route) via Corridor H. And since I need to drive the newly-opened portion of US 48 west of the WV 93 intersection to re-clinch it, that's probably how I will return home. (My colleague may decide to ride home with someone else, LOL).

The Google routing from Annapolis to I-66 suggests the north side (outer loop) of the Beltway, instead of the inner loop (south side). I know DC traffic is terrible at rush hour, but I probably wouldn't be departing Annapolis until around 9 a.m. so traffic should have abated somewhat since then.

I posed the question on Facebook, and got varying suggestions on whether the north side or the south side of I-495 would be best.

Any of you all have any recommendations?
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briantroutman

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2015, 03:26:46 PM »

In my experience, traffic delays tend to be more severe and more prolonged along the College Park/Silver Spring/Bethesda section, particularly right at and after the I-95 interchange, so that would influence me to take the clockwise (Inner Loop) route to the south.
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Mapmikey

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2015, 04:11:33 PM »

I would also think coming around the south side would be better...

More lanes including free express lanes across the Potomac...

You might want to check out this site a few weekdays in a row around the time of day you think you will be traveling to gauge what the beltway looks like...
http://www.sigalert.com/Map.asp?region=Washington+DC#lat=38.63396&lon=-77.47992&z=0

Mapmikey
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Duke87

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2015, 07:42:24 PM »

Sans traffic, there is no statistically significant difference in speed, although the north side is a few miles shorter. The way to win this is by checking live traffic right before you get to DC.

If you really want to play games you can stay on US 50 and then take 295-695-395-VA110 to I-66. But do not attempt during daytime hours unless you have the ability to check live traffic right before doing so and see nothing but green along the route, since this is naturally more jam-prone than the beltway. And even at freeflow speed this doesn't save you any time since it's only slightly shorter distancewise. Also involves exposing yourself to DC revenue cameras.
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mrsman

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2015, 11:15:36 PM »

I'm surprised that you didn't post this on the Mid-Atlantic forum since this question is limited to the DC area.

Anyway, the fastest way in the morning would definitely be via Joint Base Andrews and Alexandria at that hour.
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davewiecking

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2015, 09:18:48 PM »

Go south, young man.
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1995hoo

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2015, 09:23:33 PM »

Go over the Wilson Bridge. Almost always faster. Usually fewer accidents snarling traffic as well, though that's always a bit of a crapshoot.

Best tip I can give you: Listen to the traffic reports. WTOP (103.5-FM) runs traffic reports "on the 8s" and WNEW (99.1-FM) runs them "on the 1s." I find WTOP to be better, but WNEW gives better coverage of Annapolis and Baltimore, so I'd suggest you listen to both. If the traffic report mentions the Beltway near Georgia Avenue or the Mormon Temple, that's the northern side. If it mentions Andrews AFB or St. Barnabas Road, that's the southern side.
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hbelkins

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2015, 10:05:54 PM »

It will be around 10 a.m. on a Thursday morning when I'm making this trip -- unless I change my mind and decide to go via Corridor H and I-66, and return home via I-70 and I-68. If so, I'll be passing through DC sometime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
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1995hoo

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2015, 10:16:06 PM »

My comment remains the same regardless of the time of day! BUT if I wanted to go from Annapolis to I-68, I'd probably take I-97 to I-695 to I-70.

(For whatever it's worth, I live about two miles south of Exit 173 on the southern part of the Beltway, so I go around the east side for most trips north, but I used to live off the western side and so took the northern side to reach I-95. So my comment is based on many years of dealing with both routes.)
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

hbelkins

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2015, 05:14:09 PM »

I'm leaning to making the drive to Annapolis via Corridor H and I-66, which means it would be on a Sunday around 1 p.m. or so when I navigate DC. I'd think traffic would not be as bad on a Sunday afternoon as it would be on a weekday morning.
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1995hoo

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2015, 10:12:28 PM »

I'm leaning to making the drive to Annapolis via Corridor H and I-66, which means it would be on a Sunday around 1 p.m. or so when I navigate DC. I'd think traffic would not be as bad on a Sunday afternoon as it would be on a weekday morning.

Generally true, depending on your route and the time of year (be aware of downtown events and the Nats baseball schedule if you choose to go through the city). The bigger problem is not so much all-day traffic so much as it is road construction, frequent accidents, or other bizarre events. The other morning both sides of the Beltway were completely closed near our house due to some kind of utility fire, for example. Note there is construction on I-495 in Virginia between the Dulles interchange and the American Legion Bridge into Maryland. It should be done sometime this year, but I'm not sure when.

One thing to note is that, except late at night, I-66 is pretty much always bad between about Exit 60 (VA-123) and Exit 64 (I-495), even on weekends (last Saturday I wanted to come home that way at 3:00 PM, but a seven-mile backup prompted me to go a different way). "Ramp running" eastbound at both Exits 60 and 62, where you exit onto the C/D roadway and then head back onto the highway if the traffic isn't too slow, is generally the smarter practice on that segment because you can bail onto the streets if the traffic suddenly slams to a stop or get back onto the highway if it's moving sufficiently for your taste. Exit 62, Nutley Street, is a good place to bail out: If you go south a short distance to the end of the road, you're at US-50 and a left turn will take you to the Beltway, where you can either get back on the Interstate or just stay straight ahead via the old route on into the city. Or you could take Exit 55 (VA-286) towards Springfield and connect to I-95/395, or alternatively connect to Van Dorn Street and back to the Beltway at Exit 173. It's about half an hour from I-66's Exit 55 to Van Dorn Street at the Beltway via this route if you go 55 mph (speed limit is 50).
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

froggie

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2015, 04:27:24 PM »

More feasible would be to keep tabs on traffic (whether via WTOP or via a mobile app) as he approaches Fairfax City.  If 66 is bad (which it usually is on weekend afternoons), besides taking US 50, another option would be to get off US 50 at Fair Oaks and head through Fairfax City on 236, which becomes Little River Turnpike and gets him to the Beltway closer to Springfield than by taking 50.
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1995hoo

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2015, 07:37:05 PM »

That works too, and you'll note earlier in the thread I mentioned the two main stations for the traffic reports because I think those are by far the most important thing. In my more recent comment I cited Route 50 because from the way his last post was worded, it sounded to me as though he might wish to go through the District instead of around. The current construction on I-395 between Landmark and Seminary Road can be frustrating even on weekends. (On weekdays, the new construction project on Washington Boulevard above Route 110 messes everything up. Makes me glad I'm commuting via Metrorail right now.)

If you DO opt for Route 236 through Fairfax City as froggie suggests, watch your speed on the east side of central Fairfax. You pass a strip mall on the left with a Walgreens and a TJ Maxx. The speed limit there is 25 mph. It's not a good idea to go much above that, as there are often cops on the right between the Gold's Gym and the next traffic light (the latter spot is roughly where the speed limit goes up to 35 mph). Lots of people accelerate early and I've seen lots of people get nailed there over the years. My parents live off 236 a short distance east of Woodson High School, so I've used that road an awful lot over the years.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

hbelkins

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2015, 10:42:07 AM »

You could take an extreme north route. Use I-64 to I-77 then I-79 through WV, head towards Pittsburgh, use the PA Turnpike (via I-70), exit at I-70 into Breezewood, follow I-70 until I-695 outside Baltimore. Follow that to I-95 South. After that, use I-895 and exit onto I-97. Merge into US 50 and take MD 70 into Annapolis. An alt is to take exit 87 on I-70 in MD, use US 29 northbound, take exit 22 onto MD 100 east, and follow that to I-97.  :bigass:


The reason why I-70 instead of I-68 is that you have to traverse the entire length of I-68 which is accident-prone in Cumberland MD. I-70 is currently being updated to Interstate standards so that stretch of I-70 will be a smoother ride. I-70 also has less traffic than I-68...due to I-68 being a shunpike to the PA Turnpike. In Maryland, there is very light traffic until exit 48. Traffic picks up seriously and ends until the I-270 junction. Traffic levels will later pick up at exit 91, the I-695 junction. Otherwise you're good!  :colorful:

Uh, no.

I will be driving a vehicle owned by my employer (the Commonwealth of Kentucky) and will need to drive the shortest possible practical distance. An out-of-the-way routing using the PA Turnpike would be stupid, not only from a mileage standpoint, but from a time and toll standpoint. Plus it would get me in trouble at work. Besides, I've driven I-68 in Cumberland many, many times with no issues whatsoever.

I will definitely be driving I-68 on either the "to" the trip or the "from" trip. My whole purpose in trying to figure out the best way to navigate DC is because I intend to drive the new section of US 48 in West Virginia between Mt. Storm and the WV 93 connector.

That works too, and you'll note earlier in the thread I mentioned the two main stations for the traffic reports because I think those are by far the most important thing. In my more recent comment I cited Route 50 because from the way his last post was worded, it sounded to me as though he might wish to go through the District instead of around.

I'm amenable to going through the city if it's the fastest way to get from I-66 in Virginia to Annapolis, or vice versa (depending on whether I'm driving east on Corridor H on Sunday, or west on Corridor H on Thursday. I'm basically looking for the fastest way to get from the Beltway/US 50 interchange in Maryland to the Beltway/I-66 interchange in Virginia (or again, vice versa).
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froggie

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2015, 09:30:01 PM »

Quote
I'm basically looking for the fastest way to get from the Beltway/US 50 interchange in Maryland to the Beltway/I-66 interchange in Virginia (or again, vice versa).

Generally speaking, that's going to be via the south side of the Beltway.  But the point Hoo and I were making earlier is that you'll just as easily run into a problem on 66 OUTSIDE the Beltway...usually between US 50/Fair Oaks (Exit 57) and the Beltway.
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hbelkins

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2015, 04:03:04 PM »

Fair point. The reason why I didn't mention I-68 is because of accidents that have happened in Cumberland. Sorry about that  :-/

None of this route is going to be new territory for me, unless the MD 100 to US 29 to I-70 routing is better than I-97 to I-695 to I-70, except those few miles of Corridor H that have opened up since I was last on the route.

I've driven I-68 often enough that even its very nice scenery is starting to get a bit old, and as I mentioned, I've never seen any major wrecks along it.

And speaking of the unfinished part of Corridor H: Does anybody have enough experience using the two possible routes between Elkins and Davis -- either US 219, or US 33 to WV 32 -- to recommend one as truly being better than the other? I've driven US 219 through Parsons quite a few times, but only did the 33 to 32 routing once, just to see if I liked it. I couldn't really discern a difference time-wise or route quality-wise, although Parsons does have a Sheetz, which would add time to that route if I decide to stop.  :bigass:
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noelbotevera

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2015, 04:07:45 PM »

Fair point. The reason why I didn't mention I-68 is because of accidents that have happened in Cumberland. Sorry about that  :-/

None of this route is going to be new territory for me, unless the MD 100 to US 29 to I-70 routing is better than I-97 to I-695 to I-70, except those few miles of Corridor H that have opened up since I was last on the route.

I've driven I-68 often enough that even its very nice scenery is starting to get a bit old, and as I mentioned, I've never seen any major wrecks along it.

And speaking of the unfinished part of Corridor H: Does anybody have enough experience using the two possible routes between Elkins and Davis -- either US 219, or US 33 to WV 32 -- to recommend one as truly being better than the other? I've driven US 219 through Parsons quite a few times, but only did the 33 to 32 routing once, just to see if I liked it. I couldn't really discern a difference time-wise or route quality-wise, although Parsons does have a Sheetz, which would add time to that route if I decide to stop.  :bigass:
US 29 to MD 100 to I-97 is a Baltimore bypass route that avoids the metro area pretty much. The disadvantage is that US 29 can be REALLY congested, but once you exit onto MD 100 you're fine. That's actually a better route because you can shorten the time to Annapolis that way, compared to I-695 which gets congested between exits 11-16. There's also some weaving involved.
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froggie

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2015, 10:10:49 PM »

Quote
Does anybody have enough experience using the two possible routes between Elkins and Davis -- either US 219, or US 33 to WV 32 -- to recommend one as truly being better than the other? I've driven US 219 through Parsons quite a few times, but only did the 33 to 32 routing once, just to see if I liked it. I couldn't really discern a difference time-wise or route quality-wise, although Parsons does have a Sheetz, which would add time to that route if I decide to stop.

The Goog suggests that 219 is shorter, but 33/32 is faster.  In my own travels on both, I haven't seen anything that would clearly elevate one route over the other...it's basically six of one and half-a-dozen of the other IMO.
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hbelkins

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2015, 03:49:22 PM »

I've never been through Elkins without it being fairly congested. Can't really say the same for Parsons, so I'm a bit surprised that the 33/32 routing would show up as being faster. Maybe that new truck lane on 33 east of the "racetrack" four-lane section speeds things up a bit.
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hbelkins

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2015, 09:59:42 PM »

OK, so here's the plan.

I plan to depart here by 5 a.m. next Sunday. If I don't stop anywhere before then, that'll put me at Weston, WV (Exit 99 on I-79) at around 9(colon)30 a.m. I've decided to use Corridor H eastbound, and to use US 219 through Parsons instead of US 33/WV 55 and then WV 32 to get to WV 93/US 48. If I haven't had to stop for gas earlier, I'll probably gas up at the Weston Sheetz and then stop again at the Sheetz at either Parsons or Moorefield for food. And I'll probably also stop briefly at the new US 48 overlook at Bismarck for some photos. I'm not sure what time that will put me getting on the interstate at Strasburg, but I'd hope no later than noon. Surely it's not a 2.5-hour drive from Weston to Strasburg.

From there it'll be I-66, the outer loop of I-495's regular lanes (not sure I want to incur a non-reimbursable toll charge to use the express lanes) and then US 50 on to Annapolis. I'll probably be running Google Maps to see if there are any major traffic jams, and hopefully Waze can give me a detour around it if necessary.
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froggie

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2015, 10:07:32 PM »

You should also be able to pick up WTOP by the time you hit Haymarket.  I'd keep tabs on WTOP to decide which direction you should go once you get close to the Beltway.
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hbelkins

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2015, 02:35:13 PM »

Stuck the destination in my Garmin, and its suggested routing involved I-270 and I-495 (inner loop) from Frederick, instead of I-70, I-695 and I-97. That one really surprised me.
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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2015, 01:14:59 AM »

Stuck the destination in my Garmin, and its suggested routing involved I-270 and I-495 (inner loop) from Frederick, instead of I-70, I-695 and I-97. That one really surprised me.
Your Garmin is clearly not familiar with traffic patterns in the area. Best route is going to be one that uses I-70 and I-97 (with your choice of MD-32, US-29 to MD-100, or I-695 to connect between them).
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hbelkins

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2015, 08:52:07 PM »

Arrived safely in Annapolis this afternoon. Some notes from the trip --

* Saw gas at a station on KY 7 just south of downtown Grayson priced in $X.XX3 increments instead of $X.XX9. Had to do a double-take on that one and check in the rearview mirror to be sure the price was the same on the other side of the sign (it was.)

* Sign replacement project for the first handful of exits on I-79 north of Charleston is ongoing. They're using Clearview. Most of the northbound signs are done along that stretch and a few of the empty posts are erected southbound. The Big Chimney exit's route number is being changed from WV 114 (which the exit actually serves) to US 119 (which WV 114 intersects a couple of miles south of I-79).

* On the Corridor H project, WV 93 traffic is using what will be the eastbound lanes of US 48 for a short piece before reverting back to the old alignment where the new route skirts away from it.

* For those who don't think that Corridor H will help that area of West Virginia economically (hi SPUI), think again. There's been quite a bit of development in Moorefield near the ramp from US 48 to US 220. A new Sheetz with a drive-thru, a couple of other fast food restaurants, a shopping center with a Dollar Tree and Tractor Supply, and a few other new businesses.

* Saw a few new "unisign" installations on US 48/VA 55. One on the mainline heading east and a few others at intersecting secondary routes.

* Only a few traffic issues on I-66, most of them due to a couple of minor fender-benders and people trying to merge where the entrance lanes give way to the red pavement shoulder lanes that are closed on Sundays. It's really amazing how the traffic seems to magically increase at the US 15 Haymarket exit.

* Noticed something I don't recall seeing before at the MD 4 exit on the Beltway. It's signed with all four directions. You can either exit onto South/East MD 4, or North/West MD 4. And it's signed that way in both directions on the Beltway. Does that happen anywhere else?

Overall, an uneventful trip. No new territory covered except for the new section of Corridor H and the route from US 50 to my hotel in Annapolis (other than the fact that I'd never driven I-66 eastbound between I-81 and US 29 before).
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 09:08:57 PM by hbelkins »
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Rothman

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Re: Eastern Kentucky to Annapolis and back
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2015, 09:00:50 PM »

* For those who don't think that Corridor H will help that area of West Virginia economically (hi SPUI), think again. There's been quite a bit of development in Moorefield near the ramp from US 48 to US 220. A new Sheetz with a drive-thru, a couple of other fast food restaurants, a shopping center with a Dollar Tree and Tractor Supply, and a few other new businesses.

It's not that upgrades to roads don't cause any development at all, it's the fact that a gas station, fast food restaurants and a Dollar Tree hardly set people up to be solidly in the middle class (outside the owners and possibly managers).  Yes, it's nice that someone might now get a just-above-minimum wage job at these places when they might not have a job at all, but as Ross Perot said:  You give a guy with a penny another penny, you've doubled their income.

It's simply not real development that will attract people to the area.
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