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Author Topic: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes  (Read 2671 times)

stwoodbury

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Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2019, 01:24:26 PM »

It’s not a true “freeway” even though West Virginia calls it one, but the first road that came to mind when I saw the subject line is Corridor H.
IMHO, West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky should build these new "Corridors" to interstate standards, or at least build the ramps at certain interchanges to meet standards. I see a lot of narrow ramps on these new roads. At-grade intersections work until the point all of these relocations of roads are all connected (whenever that happens) and actually create a major thru-traffic route, in which being set up as an interstate-grade road is very beneficial.
US 340, our local divided highway between Charles Town and Harpers Ferry, is also called a “freeway” despite the numerous traffic lights along that stretch.
Odd. It has limited-access, in regards to there's no private driveways on it, but not freeway standards. Maryland's portion is definitely a freeway though.
I’ve heard of ‘controlled access’ highways,  two lane or four lane; with limited overpasses and a ramp here and there and with at grade intersections with stop signs, circles, or occasional traffic lights, but no driveways or commercial parking lots,  like US 195 between Spokane and Colfax. US 340 in WV is similar to that. After it crosses the Potomac into Maryland just east of Harpers Ferry  it becomes a true limited access freeway all the way to I-70 in Frederick. But WV still calls their portion a freeway, the ‘William L. Wilson Freeway.’


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« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 01:57:40 PM by stwoodbury »
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sprjus4

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2019, 01:32:56 PM »

I’ve heard of ‘controlled access’ highways,  two lane or four lane, with limited overpasses and a ramp here and there, and occasional traffic lights, but no driveways or commercial parking lots,  like US 195 between Spokane and Colfax. US 340 in WV is similar to that. After it crossed the Potomac into Maryland just east of Harpers Ferry  it becomes a true limited access freeway all the way to I-70 in Frederick. But WV still calls it a freeway, the ‘William L. Wilson Freeway.’
Controlled-access and limited-access can be used interchangeably. Some consider "limited-access" to be a freeway, whereas others consider it to be an at-grade road with no private connections. Same goes for controlled-access, it can either be a freeway or at-grade with no private connections. Usually though, it's better to also describe what you are talking about.

I'd get "William L. Wilson Parkway", but freeway is very misleading. Reminds me of the "Fall Line Freeway" in Georgia that runs between Augusta and Columbus, sounds like a nice concept, you'd think a 70 MPH freeway between the two. In reality, it's just a four-lane divided highway that bypasses some towns, goes through others, and while it's 65 MPH in rural areas, it cranks back to 55 MPH in a lot of places, and 45-35 MPH through towns.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2019, 02:27:30 PM »

I 16 Macon to Savannah
I 10 San Antonio to El Paso
I 20 Ft Worth to I 10 junction
I 90 Rochester, MN to Seattle
I 94 Minneapolis to Billings
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US 89

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2019, 03:16:14 PM »

I 16 Macon to Savannah

Ummm...AADT exceeds 30K on a lot of that, and never falls below 23K with current counts. And nearby metro areas like Atlanta are growing enough that I can easily see six lanes warranted there someday.
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stwoodbury

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2019, 03:27:15 PM »

I-15 from Ogden, UT to Alberta.

It’s already six lanes from Ogden to Brigham City. I can easily see six lanes being required in the future between Brigham City and the 15/84 split at Tremonton, as well as within Idaho Falls (maybe Pocatello and Great Falls too).
Ogden to Idaho Falls is still a fairly steady flow, but it is mostly four lanes, so maybe “never” would not qualify here. Also 84 seems to be a fairly steady flow all the way to Boise and the PNW coast, which would follow 15 until the 84 split. But north of Idaho Falls, especially where 20 veers off to Rexburg, this highway is almost devoid of traffic all the way to Butte where it briefly joins I-90. I have not driven on 15 past Butte, but I don’t imagine that Great Falls or Helena would generate all that much heavy traffic beyond their immediate vicinities. Perhaps long distance traffic between Calgary or Edmonton and SLC, Vegas, or SoCal might amount to something but I didn’t notice that south of Butte beyond an occasional cattle truck. Maybe this is different at other times.

Just about any stretch of Interstate; even in lightly populated States like Maine, Vermont, Montana, or Wyoming; will have an occasional city that might eventually require more than four lanes for a few miles, so just about any generalized long stretches (like I-15 north of Ogden or I-90 between Seattle and Minnesota) will have at least a couple exceptions.


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LM117

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2019, 04:32:05 PM »

US-264 (Future I-587) in NC between Zebulon and Greenville.
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sprjus4

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2019, 04:46:31 PM »

US-264 (Future I-587) in NC between Zebulon and Greenville.
I wouldn't say never, it's up there in 20 - 30K AADT range. Not now, but in the future it's a possibility, especially if Greenville continues to grow larger.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #32 on: January 05, 2019, 05:11:05 PM »

Every current rural freeway. The decision to widen a freeway is always a value judgment and never a need

jakeroot

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2019, 05:16:02 PM »

It's more of an expressway, so I'll put it down as an honourable mention: WA-3 between Aberdeen and the 101. It's great that it's divided and four-laned, but six lanes would be a ways off, if it was ever required. There's just so little growth in that stretch. Aberdeen's population has been steady for thirty years, and none of the other cities in the area have grown either. Not sure about the traffic counts between the 101 and I-5; WA-3's main purpose is to connect those two routes to avoid a detour around the Olympic Peninsula. Unless the 101 is getting busier, WA-3's traffic will remain steady.

It's not legally a freeway according to WSDOT maps, but there are a few stray signs that indicate otherwise: http://bit.ly/2CQOt0x.
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Jmiles32

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2019, 05:55:13 PM »

In addition to I-64 west of I-81, another rural stretch of interstate in Virginia I'd like to nominate is I-85 south of US-460. Nothing over 25,000 AADT until you get close to Petersburg. Nothing much in terms of population or growth in between the Raleigh-Durham and Richmond metro areas either.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 05:58:45 PM by Jmiles32 »
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Beltway

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2019, 06:39:02 PM »

Agreed it is a good (and needed) connection, but there's likely traffic that shunpikes it via VA-10 (traffic volumes increase to 50,000 AADT exclusively between I-95 and I-295), and if the toll were lowered to a more reasonable rate, more traffic would likely use it, offsetting the lower toll with more traffic. Yes, using it one time isn't a big deal, and I would pay the toll too, but for a daily commuter, that toll one way would hurt. Every other toll in Richmond is under $1.00 and way more reasonable than VA-895, and honestly most other toll roads in Virginia.

If built as I-895 toll-free with the 90% FHWA Interstate 4R funding as was planned in the 1980s, it would undoubtedly carry about 30,000 AADT across the river and about 20,000 east of Laburnum.  Maybe 5,000 more.  But after it was funded under PPTA that federal funding was used elsewhere in the state (I think most went to the HOV extension projects on I-95 Springfield-Dumfries).

Unless 1) the state heavily subsidizes the debt service, or 2) puts all Richmond area toll roads into one pooled system, the toll will remain high.

The segment between Charlottesville and Waynesboro, and perhaps to I-81, is getting in 6-lane territory.  Other than a few miles east of Charlottesville and a few miles west of VA-288, while I-64 is fairly busy it is nowhere near needing 6 lanes, IMO.
Agreed, but the most prioritized (even now) would be Afton Mountain, and lack of climbing lanes. That's estimated to cost $51.4 million for 8 miles (that's $6 million per mile, which makes no sense). Last weekend, got stuck behind two trucks, one in the right lane doing 25 MPH, and the left lane doing 30 MPH. The speed limit is 65 MPH.

It worked well enough for the first 25 years or so, when volumes were much lighter, and when trucks were limited to 72,000 pounds GVW.  Now it needs more lanes.

Is there a project in the SYIP for that?
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 06:46:27 PM by Beltway »
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Eth

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2019, 07:30:15 PM »

I 16 Macon to Savannah

Ummm...AADT exceeds 30K on a lot of that, and never falls below 23K with current counts. And nearby metro areas like Atlanta are growing enough that I can easily see six lanes warranted there someday.

Yep. It's not needed right now, but I would definitely not say never.

In fact, I don't believe there is a single rural freeway in Georgia that fits this category (excluding one-off bypasses).
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sprjus4

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2019, 07:38:59 PM »

Unless 1) the state heavily subsidizes the debt service, or 2) puts all Richmond area toll roads into one pooled system, the toll will remain high.
Balancing a lower toll with more traffic can work out to provide still sufficient revenue and offer driver's a cheaper rate, attracting more. There's a point in the middle where it begins to not work.

It worked well enough for the first 25 years or so, when volumes were much lighter, and when trucks were limited to 72,000 pounds GVW.  Now it needs more lanes.

Is there a project in the SYIP for that?
I don't believe so, the cost estimate (which I'd say closer to $200-250 million, not $51.4 million) came from the Virginia Statewide
Multimodal Freight Study back in 2010.
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Beltway

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2019, 07:43:23 PM »

Unless 1) the state heavily subsidizes the debt service, or 2) puts all Richmond area toll roads into one pooled system, the toll will remain high.
Balancing a lower toll with more traffic can work out to provide still sufficient revenue and offer driver's a cheaper rate, attracting more. There's a point in the middle where it begins to not work.

They would have taken that into consideration in the studies.  If say a $2 toll would have led to double the traffic they could have considered that.

It worked well enough for the first 25 years or so, when volumes were much lighter, and when trucks were limited to 72,000 pounds GVW.  Now it needs more lanes.
Is there a project in the SYIP for that?
I don't believe so, the cost estimate (which I'd say closer to $200-250 million, not $51.4 million) came from the Virginia Statewide Multimodal Freight Study back in 2010.

$6 or 7 million a mile might have been possible 9 years ago.  That particular study would not constitute an engineering estimate, though.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #39 on: January 05, 2019, 08:11:04 PM »

Every current rural freeway. The decision to widen a freeway is always a value judgment and never a need.

I'm trying to imagine I-95 between Philly and Baltimore with only four lanes. Certainly more of a need than a value judgment, if you ask me.
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #40 on: January 06, 2019, 12:44:29 AM »

I 94 Minneapolis to Billings

I-94 between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities is an eventuality, if not even further west than there.
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sparker

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #41 on: January 06, 2019, 01:42:36 AM »

I-10 between I-20 and Kerrville in TX.  I'm just surprised that the corridor wasn't originally routed from Midland to San Antonio via San Angelo and Brady, which feature considerably greater population than along the present route, Ft. Stockton excepted. 
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Aaron Camp

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #42 on: January 06, 2019, 03:13:07 AM »

Interstate 74 from St. Joseph, Illinois to Brownsburg, Indiana. I could see widening I-74 from Mahomet to St. Joseph in Champaign County, Illinois being necessary in a couple of decades, and I-74 from Brownsburg to the western I-74/I-465 junction in Indiana may need widening sooner than that.
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Bickendan

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #43 on: January 06, 2019, 04:27:08 AM »

I-84 between Portland and Ontario; Mountain Home (most likely Boise) and Tremonton.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #44 on: January 06, 2019, 09:11:03 AM »

I 94 Minneapolis to Billings

I-94 between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities is an eventuality, if not even further west than there.

Up to Clearwater is being actively planned now (with an interesting rationale behind it).  Long-range, you could make a case up to St. Augusta or perhaps MN 15.  Up in Moorhead, it will depend how much (and how fast) Moorhead develops away from the river as to whether they extend 6 lanes out to Exit 6 (MN 336).  West of I-29 may eventually get 6 lanes for a couple exits, but there isn't a need beyond West Fargo.
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Revive 755

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2019, 10:59:20 PM »

Every current rural freeway. The decision to widen a freeway is always a value judgment and never a need

Strongly disagree.  When rural parts of I-70 in Missouri can't get above 40 mph or are even stopped (EB at the climb out of the Loutre River Valley has this frequently) due to the amount of vehicles, it's a need.

Interstate 74 from St. Joseph, Illinois to Brownsburg, Indiana. I could see widening I-74 from Mahomet to St. Joseph in Champaign County, Illinois being necessary in a couple of decades, and I-74 from Brownsburg to the western I-74/I-465 junction in Indiana may need widening sooner than that.

I wouldn't go with 'never' for St. Joesph to Brownsburg, but 'very unlikely'.  There could be a few future scenarios which would result in widening at least parts of this stretch:

1) Danville makes a significant turnaround and starts growing again.
2) Crawfordsville grows significantly.
3) I-74 starts picking up more traffic either bypassing I-70 (via I-72) or I-80.
4) Indiana builds a four lane connector to Lafayette, so more traffic starts using I-74 as an extension of the IN 25/US 24 corridor or to bypass part of I-65.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #46 on: January 07, 2019, 04:12:03 AM »

I-84 between Portland and Ontario; Mountain Home (most likely Boise) and Tremonton.
It could be needed eventually to The Dalles for tourism, but I highly doubt it would ever happen.

I-82 south of tri-cities, and north of Yakima
I-182 Mp 0-3
US 395 Tri-Cities to Ritzville
I-90 George to Ritzville, Idaho and Cor D Alan's (can't spell it right) to Sioux Falls, with some exceptions (US 93 to MT 200, Billings to Laramie)
I-86 (Idaho)
OR 22 from exit 7-14 (current AADT is 15,000 or less and holding steady)

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sprjus4

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #47 on: January 07, 2019, 07:02:35 AM »

Every current rural freeway. The decision to widen a freeway is always a value judgment and never a need.

I'm trying to imagine I-95 between Philly and Baltimore with only four lanes. Certainly more of a need than a value judgment, if you ask me.
I'm trying to imagine every single freeway in the U.S. shrinking to four lanes after it leaves an urban area. There's many stretches with up to 8-lanes for miles through rural areas, and there's good reason for that.
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Beltway

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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #48 on: January 07, 2019, 07:06:34 AM »

Every current rural freeway. The decision to widen a freeway is always a value judgment and never a need.
I'm trying to imagine I-95 between Philly and Baltimore with only four lanes. Certainly more of a need than a value judgment, if you ask me.
I'm trying to imagine every single freeway in the U.S. shrinking to four lanes after it leaves an urban area. There's many stretches with up to 8-lanes for miles through rural areas, and there's good reason for that.

The I-95 Maryland and Delaware turnpikes were opened with 4 lanes in 1963.  They were widened to 6 lanes by 1972 because of growing traffic congestion.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Will Never Need 6 Lanes
« Reply #49 on: January 07, 2019, 06:09:26 PM »

* Perhaps Interstate 25 in Wyoming between Cheyenne and I-90, save maybe for Casper. While, as noted upthread, most interstate mileage in Wyoming could qualify for this thread, this stretch of I-25 may be the most likely, since - while relatively low-traveled in this area - I-80 and I-90 are both cross-country routes carrying some coast-to-coast traffic.


I 16 Macon to Savannah

Ummm...AADT exceeds 30K on a lot of that, and never falls below 23K with current counts. And nearby metro areas like Atlanta are growing enough that I can easily see six lanes warranted there someday.

Yep. It's not needed right now, but I would definitely not say never.

In fact, I don't believe there is a single rural freeway in Georgia that fits this category (excluding one-off bypasses).

I agree. Interstate 16 is vital for many trucks going from the Savannah port to Atlanta and elsewhere. Especially since the Atlanta Metro Area is growing so monstrously fast, I suspect that the question is not if I-16 will be widened, but rather when it will be widened (thinking in the long-term). It is probably very tricky to submit some interstates in the Sun Belt to this thread (particularly in the South and on the West Coast), due to the rapid influx of population, industry, and more to the region that has been evident since halfway through the 20th Century, and is only continuing to occur. As a result, I agree that there is probably not a single mile of interstate in the state of Georgia that could be submitted to this thread, when thinking in the long-term.


Every current rural freeway. The decision to widen a freeway is always a value judgment and never a need

That's just not accurate. An interstate traversing rural territory does not necessarily mandate that it is impossible for it to still have the traffic counts to desperately necessitate it being more than 4 lanes. There are many rural interstates that absolutely need to be (and many are) more than 4 lanes, especially when having a lot of long-distance traffic (including trucks).

For example, all of Interstate 75 in south Georgia (i.e. south of Macon to the Florida Line) has thankfully been widened to a minimum of six lanes. It goes through the rural (save a couple of decent-sized cities such as Valdosta) farmland and coastal plains of southern Georgia. But it still has tons of traffic, and the road couldn't bare to be 4 lanes any longer.

While being out of the proximity of a large city or metro area definitely makes it significantly more likely for a road to have low traffic counts, it does not mean that it still can't have high traffic counts in some cases. There are numerous stretches of rural freeway across the country that are in much need of widening to more than 4 lanes. While sometimes widening proposals for rural freeways are a value judgment, very many cases showcase a very legitimate need.


« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 06:15:54 PM by adventurernumber1 »
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