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Author Topic: Could this be the nicest road in Louisiana?  (Read 3439 times)

mcdonaat

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Could this be the nicest road in Louisiana?
« on: June 06, 2014, 02:20:36 AM »

It's just perfect. 12 foot wide lanes, with breakaway sign posts (quite rare on a rural two-lane highway), a comfortable speed of 65-70 MPH (what Texas would sign it as), bike lanes with TONS of signage, and perfectly smooth lanes with light traffic. LA 478 is the name, Natchitoches Parish, between I-49 and LA 1. The bike lanes are signed to "Use Full Lane" when crossing a bridge, and are told that they are to "Ride with Traffic" because if not, it's the "Bike-picture Wrong Way"

It's just so smooth to ride on, and lightly traveled, so it's going to stay this way for a long, long time. Also, since instead of a gravel state highway, it's an asphalt road, you can be at the southern end of the Natchitoches Bypass from I-49 in about six minutes. Go on over to Street View and check out LA 478. If you're having a hard time finding it, look up Natchez, LA, and head north on LA 1. It's on a diagonal from the southeast.

Thoughts? Opinions?

Urban Prairie Schooner

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Re: Could this be the nicest road in Louisiana?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2014, 09:15:59 PM »

Looks like the section north of I-49 was recently rebuilt to the pristine condition in which you found it. I am guessing it is supposed to serve as a southern entrance for Natchitoches.

Now south of I-49 to Flora, the road is quite poor, in fact quite substandard for a state highway. Looks like it is missing even a center stripe.
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mcdonaat

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Re: Could this be the nicest road in Louisiana?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2014, 12:35:43 AM »

South of I-49, you'll see why the highway is signed on the next-exit signs as Parish Rd instead of LA 478. North of the Interstate, you have a beautiful ribbon of asphalt, with NO TRAFFIC TO RUIN IT! Worst of all, the state doesn't even give this pristine road a city... it's just LA 478. At least give it Natchitoches or Natchez!

txstateends

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Re: Could this be the nicest road in Louisiana?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2014, 10:27:31 AM »

Really looks nice for a rural highway.  At the LA 1 terminus intersection I noticed that they didn't have all the signage needed (LGS guides, reassurances, the choice of one way or the other for LA 1), but one there that stuck out:  http://goo.gl/maps/vgIQ8
I don't think I've seen anything like it anywhere before.  A square, advisory-yellow sign telling drivers how much room there is between an upcoming RR crossing and its parallel highway.  It would probably be very useful if those affected by it would pay attention to it and heed it.  Is it MUTCD, or just a LA idea?

This: http://goo.gl/maps/9GyFn
almost makes me think that LA is trying to get this on the USBR network.  I don't think I've ever seen wrong-way type of signage for bikes.  I think it's great that LA is trying to think of bicyclists, but LA 478's bike lanes barely qualify as shoulders anywhere else.

Interesting, that, at least for the first part west of LA 1, that there are buried electrical lines in a rural area.

The double-driveway turnoff right after the wrong-way bike sign
http://goo.gl/maps/9GyFn
is it for a park, or what? (I couldn't tell from the Google maps aerial even though I saw the small lake there)

Not far after the wrong-way bike sign, at this point
http://goo.gl/maps/hdoBj
the Google car gives up and the road goes back in time to dirt.  I thought I should stop at this point, but I figured I'd see what was up.  Well, a momentary blip of several feet later, and
http://goo.gl/maps/HFVPx
back to new again!  I'm guessing the road was originally dirt, before it was added to the state highway system?

At the approach to I-49, it widens to 4-lane with grass median, and the bike lane stops.  Then the first shield signage I saw, was
http://goo.gl/maps/6Sdoy
Funny how this parish road turnoff gets a sign (at the turnoff but no advance JCT), but the others before it weren't acknowledged hardly at all (Looking the other way from I-49, I saw JCT and turnoff signage for the same parish road.).  Also the I-49 intersection gets a JCT in advance, but the LA 1 intersection isn't noted as such.  I also saw no LA 478 every-so-often shields (TX does theirs every 2 miles, usually) along the way.

I looked after I-49 to see how not-nice the road was; as the 4 lanes went back to 2, I finally saw an LA 478 reassurance assembly (http://goo.gl/maps/yQw2G).  Then, what Urban Prairie Schooner described.  Narrow, suuubbbstandard, and no striping.

Well, it was nice.  So is this (I-49 to LA 1) a wave-of-the-future for LA, or just a one-off?  I'm guessing any signage I considered as missing was that way because the road was new and not all the housekeeping had been done yet at the end, or was it spotty/lazy sign treatment?

As for *nicest*, I'm not sure, since I haven't been on very many LA roads before.  But LA 478 is decidedly nicer, especially for a rural highway, than many I have seen.
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cjk374

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Re: Could this be the nicest road in Louisiana?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2014, 05:07:28 PM »

I don't think I've seen anything like it anywhere before.  A square, advisory-yellow sign telling drivers how much room there is between an upcoming RR crossing and its parallel highway.  It would probably be very useful if those affected by it would pay attention to it and heed it.  Is it MUTCD, or just a LA idea?


W10-11a & W10-11b are the MUTCD designations for that sign.  (fig. 8B-4, pg 759...section 8B.06)
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jbnv

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Re: Could this be the nicest road in Louisiana?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2014, 10:46:34 PM »

I'd like to give it a try. Alas, with my wedding and honeymoon at the end of the month, I will be skipping this year's LSMSA alumni service weekend in July. Hopefully next year.
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mcdonaat

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Re: Could this be the nicest road in Louisiana?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 12:27:37 AM »

I'd like to give it a try. Alas, with my wedding and honeymoon at the end of the month, I will be skipping this year's LSMSA alumni service weekend in July. Hopefully next year.
It's a road that's actually in better condition than the two roads the segment ends at. I-49 is bumpy, LA 1 is asphalted from many years ago, and bike lanes are a good choice, since it connects LA 1 to segments of Kisatchie Nat'l Forest. Shoulders need to be widened a little bit more, but it is signed very well.

In regards to the "XXX Feet Between Road and X-ing" it's the first time I've ever seen that sign, but it's actually needed. LA 1 is barely past the crossing, and trucks longer than XXX feet need to be able to know to stop at the railroad, while trucks shorter than XXX feet can continue across. Especially since the railroad crossing is a hill, and you can't exactly see the other road too well.

 


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