AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Columbus–Mansfield–Pittsburgh(ish)–Columbus on short notice  (Read 1468 times)


  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 3912
  • she pronouns please

  • Age: -15
  • Location: Columbus
  • Last Login: September 24, 2019, 05:06:08 AM
    • Vid's Space

So last night I had a work trip that was a bit out of the ordinary.  Pick up in Mansfield, OH; drop off in Conway, PA.  Normally a driver out of Mansfield would handle this run, but I think they're a little short-staffed up there.  Though I've been to Mansfield countless times on this job, I hadn't gone to Conway before last night.  Fortunately I had enough advance notice to make the pickup on time, but after researching where the heck Conway was, I didn't have enough time to top off the gas tank on the way to Mansfield.

I picked up my passenger in Mansfield, and told him I knew how to get to Conway, all except for exactly where to turn off the public highway at the destination.  There was a bit of confusion almost immediately, when he noticed I wasn't heading east towards for I-71; instead I was heading north towards US 30.  Of course, either option would have made sense, and is independent from the bigger choice of, from the 71/30 junction, taking I-71 up to I-76 to the Turnpike versus taking US 30 due east.  Apparently, drivers accustomed to this run usually do the former, whereas I intended to do the latter.  It seemed to me the more direct route via US 30 couldn't be much longer timewise, and I wasn't prepared to take any toll roads.  (In the two years on this job, this was only the third oddball trip where a toll road might have made sense.  Drivers in my Columbus-based department simply aren't expected to deal with it.)

Leaving Mansfield on US 30 I noticed something interesting.  I've noticed Ohio tends to post "EXPRESSWAY ENDS" where an expressway transitions to a 2-lane road (even if that's still an expressway), or "FREEWAY ENDS" where a freeway transitions to anything 2-lane and/or undivided and/or with driveways.  Usually, a freeway can transition to a (divided 4-lane) expressway, or an expressway can transition to a divided 4-lane conventional road, without any such signage.  But when US 30 transitions from freeway to expressway east of Mansfield and again east of Wooster, there's a big "INTERSECTIONS AHEAD NEXT X MILES" sign, as if the road user expects nothing less than a continuous grade-separated freeway on US 30. 

Like many of my coworkers, I'm loyal to Speedway for refueling.  I imagined there were probably a few Speedways along the way in Wooster and/or Canton; maybe in Pennsylvania too, but I wasn't sure I'd make it all the way to Conway on the fuel I had.  After passing one exit that allegedly had a Speedway in Wooster, I took the first exit in Canton with a Speedway logo service sign, and was annoyed that the station was .7 miles from the freeway.  I thought I remembered a Speedway being conveniently located at Trump Ave and Lincoln Way (where US 30 passes) a few miles down the road, but since I hadn't actually been there in several years, I wasn't sure.  I certainly didn't want to pass up my last chance to get gas at a Speedway, and wind up desperately needing fuel somewhere in PA.  My passenger took the opportunity to possibly enjoy a tobacco product (I'm not sure) and apparently buy a candy bar.  Sure enough, we passed two more Speedways in Canton, one of them being at Trump and Lincoln. 

When the heck are they going to finish upgrading US 30, anyway?  I forgot how much 2-lane one must traverse between Canton and Pennsylvania.  It doesn't look like much on a map, but with all the curves and hills and towns, it seems to take forever.  Actually, I didn't follow US 30 exactly.  I had been considering taking OH 172 from East Canton to Lisbon, to avoid some towns, and then I saw where it said US 30 was closed several miles ahead.  The detour of course jumped back down to 30 at the first N–S state highway, but I kept going on 172 because I know better.  Oh yeah, I was also rather annoyed that, at the same time US 30 is closed, its detour (OH 172) is also having work done.  The top layer of asphalt had been milled away, making some nasty bumps where the milling stopped. 

Also, I'm annoyed at how US 30 doesn't just jump on the OH 11 freeway right there at Lisbon.  That would be faster, but I wasn't so sure at the time, so I stayed on US 30 to the next interchange like a schmuck.  The signage at the junctions where US 30 jumps from OH 45 to OH 11 can be kind of misleading, too.  I almost continued south on OH 45.  And then after the next interchange where OH 7 joined, the signage on the freeway only showed OH 7 and OH 11, as if US 30 wasn't even there.  ODOT District 11 seems a little sloppy.

OH 39 / PA 68 turned out to be a less-significant road than I expected from my quick research earlier.  I thought it would be a steady 55, like OH 7 downstream, but instead I found myself crawling along at 25–45 MPH all the way to Rochester.  I guess this part of the Ohio River sees more long-haul traffic on the rails and on the water than on rubber tires. 

The PA 68 / 168 junction by the bridge is weird.  The interchange itself is built as if PA 68 is a 4-lane divided highway, but outside of the interchange, it's just a 2-lane road.  Eastbound, this leads to the very odd situation, while cresting a hill, the one lane starts to widen as a big "RIGHT LANE ENDS" sign appears ahead.  Then you've got a left exit for 168, and the right two lanes are for 68, though the right lane is already ending.  You'd think they'd forgo the giant yellow signs, and just stripe it for one through lane each way on 68. 

Quite a bit of 68, and especially 65 south of Rochester, is a weird hybrid of urban arterial and freeway.  Barrier-separated except at the more significant intersections, the southbound side looks like a freeway with an abnormally low speed limit while the northbound side has intersections with every side road.  Every bridge over the river seems to also go over southbound 65, but not usually northbound 65.

I dropped off my passenger at Conway, noting that it had taken exactly 3 hours.  Passenger said the trip usually takes two and a half.  Considering some of that extra time was due to a gas stop, I don't think 15–20 minutes extra travel time is a bad tradeoff for avoiding tolls and driving fewer miles. 

I wasn't sure of the best way back to Columbus.  In my mind, I had a few options:  1) follow the Ohio river; 2) try to find I-376 and go south; 3) continue southeast on PA 65 to I-99;; then A) go west on US 22 to I-70, or B) keep going south to I-70, then west.  The Google Maps app on my phone wanted option 3B.  My experience since East Liverpool had weakened my impression that non-Interstates are faster than the machines would have you believe, so I went for 3B via Washington, PA.

Entering I-79 from PA 65, I was pretty sure I'd seen that interchange and I-79's tied-arch bridge in a photo taken by Steve from an airplane before landing at PGH, though when I'd seen the photo the interchange wasn't identified.  Now I can't find that forum thread with the photo I'm thinking of.   

I-79 seems to alternate between floating high above the surrounding terrain, and cutting right through mountains.  I'm not sure if this impression was augmented by the dark of night.

Contrary to recent chatter on this forum, I-70 west of Washington didn't seem terribly substandard.  Actually, it was the first chance I had to go 65 since entering Pennsylvania. 

At the 70/470 split, it struck me that it wasn't really a choice of left or right so much as up or down.  The two freeways seem to run parallel for a short distance while a considerable difference of elevation builds between them. 

Approaching the tunnel, the signs and pavement markings were quite insistent for a considerable distance that I-70 through traffic should use the leftmost lane, but there was no indication why.  Finally, at the east portal, signs identified where the right lane goes on the other side of the tunnel.  It looks to me like the original setup at this Exit 1A had two through lanes each way on I-70 with no shoulders, but that would have made the entrance merges hairy. 

I can't say there's really anything noteworthy about the rest of the trip home on I-70.  The hills kept it from being too monotonous as I slowly overtook a Greyhound bus and added distance between us.  A couple of signs were a little wonky, with the two control cities smushed together with reduced interline and intercharacter spacing, but the rest of the sign had ample room to accommodate them normally; I forget which exit those were for. 

I passed a total of four of what I think are fracking sites; three in Columbiana County, and one in Belmont County.  Total time away from home was about 8½ hours.
Look, over by the restrooms! It's a girl! It's a boy! No, it's Captain Enby!

…Do you think they're trying to decide which one to use?


  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 5
  • Last Login: August 19, 2013, 01:20:45 AM
Re: Columbus–Mansfield–Pittsburgh(ish)–Columbus on short notice
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 01:21:23 AM »

Columbus is my old stomping grounds. I lived more than half my life in Central Ohio before moving to the Northern Plains. Big Bucks fan still


  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 13965
  • fuck

  • Age: 11
  • Location: central Florida
  • Last Login: February 20, 2020, 09:37:52 PM
Re: Columbus–Mansfield–Pittsburgh(ish)–Columbus on short notice
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 01:25:21 AM »

68-65 is the original Lincoln Highway, bypassed in 1927 by the new US 30 through West Virginia.
Florida route log | pre-1945
I will do my best to not make America hate again.
Global warming denial is barely worse than white privilege denial.


  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1970
  • Location: Philadelphia
  • Last Login: Today at 02:29:36 AM
    • briantroutman.com/land
Re: Columbus–Mansfield–Pittsburgh(ish)–Columbus on short notice
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 04:46:20 AM »

Contrary to recent chatter on this forum, I-70 west of Washington didn't seem terribly substandard.  Actually, it was the first chance I had to go 65 since entering Pennsylvania. 

I-70 between Washington (PA) and the WV state line really isn't that bad, although there are some substandard interchanges with inadequate accel/decel lanes. For the most part, though, that section is fairly typical of a '60s-'70s-era Pennsylvania freeway.

It's the section east of I-79 that's terrible: narrow ROW with the left lane shoved up against a Jersey barrier, tiny interchanges with 15 mph ramps, rutted and crumbling pavement... There have been various repair and resurfacing operations since the '70s, so some areas have a more tolerable road surface than others, but total reconstruction of this section is certainly well overdue.

Of truckers "shunpiking" Breezewood and taking I-68 and I-79 to I-70 in Washington, I would imagine that it's as much to avoid the terrible section of I-70 between New Stanton and Washington as it is to get out of paying the turnpike toll.


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.