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Author Topic: New York  (Read 618496 times)

webny99

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Re: New York
« Reply #3425 on: March 20, 2018, 01:53:03 PM »

A few of these Thruway "bridges" look like they're actually culverts.

I'd say the majority of small streams use culverts. I didn't link to any for that reason.

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Re: New York
« Reply #3426 on: March 20, 2018, 02:09:52 PM »

Everything I have seen, including NYSTA annual reports from very early on, indicates that the entire Thruway was planned for expansion to 6 lanes. Four sections were actually widened (23-24, 24-25A, 44-45, 53-55), while I think that south of Harriman was always 6 lanes (though that may have been an early widening), as was 50-53. In fact, some of these reports actually gave a reason for why the Berkshire Spur was NOT built for 6 lanes (I-90 was to use the US 20 corridor from Schodack Center to Lee).
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cl94

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Re: New York
« Reply #3427 on: March 20, 2018, 02:14:29 PM »

I hate double-posting, but in other unrelated news, the closed Schodack rest area is being reopened as a parking area/"truck inspection station".
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Re: New York
« Reply #3428 on: March 20, 2018, 02:37:55 PM »

I hate double-posting, but in other unrelated news, the closed Schodack rest area is being reopened as a parking area/"truck inspection station".
Last year there was a beautiful sign "Building The Future! Governor Cuomo blah-blah". Last week that was a virgin snow field with the old building gone..
Now I know how the future looks like - it means no more restrooms but more oversight...
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Re: New York
« Reply #3429 on: March 20, 2018, 05:20:50 PM »

What about the arch bridges like the Mendon Rd (https://goo.gl/maps/vji9mizSRkN2) overpass? Street view has this looking better than I recall it, so it is possible it is newer, but I don't think the real-estate is there for an easy three-lanes under each arch.

The peak of the arch looks like it’s over the current left lane, so I think it’s designed for for a third lane. Remember, we’re talking about 1950s design standards, so there wouldn’t be provision for a full-width left shoulder, and the pier would be closer to the shoulder than in a modern design.

As for its condition, I think I remember the concrete got a complete refinishing (maybe in the late ’80s or early ’90s?), but the basic structure is definitely original — it’s on the FHWA list of historic Interstate Highway bridges.
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Re: New York
« Reply #3430 on: March 20, 2018, 05:28:39 PM »

I'd bet the bridges were widened since the 1950s.
I am with froggie on this one.  As I also said above, wide bridges aren't an indication of planning for extra lanes (indeed, volumes were much lower back then, so that kind of added expense would not have been warranted based on that argument).  Rather, it is about enabling maintenance and protection of traffic (MPT) during construction.

How long have you been observing highway planning and construction?  Mine was back to 1970, and I can assure that none of the engineers and planners were thinking about future bridge rehabs on new Interstate highways, or if any thought was that would be waaaaaaaaayy off in the future (as in decades) and not something they would build an extra lane for today.
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cl94

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Re: New York
« Reply #3431 on: March 20, 2018, 05:37:22 PM »

What about the arch bridges like the Mendon Rd (https://goo.gl/maps/vji9mizSRkN2) overpass? Street view has this looking better than I recall it, so it is possible it is newer, but I don't think the real-estate is there for an easy three-lanes under each arch.

The peak of the arch looks like it’s over the left current lane, so I think it’s designed for for a third lane. Remember, we’re talking about 1950s design standards, so there wouldn’t be provision for a full-width left shoulder, and the pier would be closer to the shoulder than in a modern design.

As for its condition, I think I remember the concrete got a complete refinishing (maybe in the late ’80s or early ’90s?), but the basic structure is definitely original — it’s on the FHWA list of historic Interstate Highway bridges.
Bridges in that area were some of the first, if not the first, constructed for the Thruway. Much of 44-46 was constructed initially as a NY 96 Victor bypass.
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Rothman

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Re: New York
« Reply #3432 on: March 20, 2018, 10:55:41 PM »

I've heard it differently...that the wider bridges (many of which also exist south of Albany) weren't in order to widen the Thruway but were intended to better allow for 4-lane/2-way traffic on one side during bridge work.
But also notice that the original overpasses have piers that are located to allow for a third lane (using 1950s design standards; piers right up against the shoulder). This suggests that the original design was future-proofed for a third lane.
When I was checking all the bridges, I made another relevant find: there are six or seven bridges like this, where there's a single bridge despite an unpaved median. This supports the theory that future widening was considered when the thruway was being built.

Wide bridges aren't an indication of planning for extra lanes (indeed, volumes were much lower back then, so that kind of added expense would not have been warranted based on that argument).
How do you explain the above, then?
Links don't show what you are describing and I don't see how any form of wider bridge is some sort of omen that the entire Thruway is to be widened in the near future.

Building wider bridges for MPT was actually a policy and had little to do with adding lanes altogether.

ETA:  Tell you what:  Let's wait and see how long it is before your predicted widening is installed.
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Buffaboy

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Re: New York
« Reply #3433 on: March 21, 2018, 10:17:24 AM »

The NY 64 bridge seems ahead of its time. I feel like this is a common bridge style around the country, but I could be wrong.
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Re: New York
« Reply #3434 on: March 21, 2018, 12:54:09 PM »

The NY 64 one actually looks like a culvert now that I think about it.  Note that there's grass on top.

I do recall reading that the Thruway built things to make widening easier (learning and applying the lessons from the PTC's restricted ROW).  Of course, that doesn't say anything about an imminent widening in the present, which I don't expect to happen.  Even it it did, I'd think it would cost quite a bit more than the estimates here.  Keep in mind the Thruway doesn't just slap some asphalt down next to the existing lanes - the usually do a full-depth reconstruction when they widen.  I'd think they would have added an extra lane to 39-40 when they rebuilt that section if there were any plans to widen west of Syracuse.
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J N Winkler

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Re: New York
« Reply #3435 on: March 21, 2018, 01:38:55 PM »

When infrastructure is designed for future widening in mind, the construction plans often show the outlines of the proposed future widened facility.  Do the original construction plans for the Thruway include such tracings?  (The experience with recently completed rural freeways in Kansas that were initially staged in the 1970's as roadgeek Super Twos--two-lane highways with comprehensive grade separation--is that the infrastructure added later to achieve full build-out often does not fit neatly into the footprint reserved for it, often owing to changed design standards.)
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kalvado

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Re: New York
« Reply #3436 on: March 21, 2018, 01:47:02 PM »

The NY 64 one actually looks like a culvert now that I think about it.  Note that there's grass on top.

I do recall reading that the Thruway built things to make widening easier (learning and applying the lessons from the PTC's restricted ROW).  Of course, that doesn't say anything about an imminent widening in the present, which I don't expect to happen.  Even it it did, I'd think it would cost quite a bit more than the estimates here.  Keep in mind the Thruway doesn't just slap some asphalt down next to the existing lanes - the usually do a full-depth reconstruction when they widen.  I'd think they would have added an extra lane to 39-40 when they rebuilt that section if there were any plans to widen west of Syracuse.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't  widening between exits 23 and 24 include some creative shoehorning of lanes under the overpasses too narrow for that?..
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Beltway

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Re: New York
« Reply #3437 on: March 21, 2018, 01:51:18 PM »

When infrastructure is designed for future widening in mind, the construction plans often show the outlines of the proposed future widened facility.  Do the original construction plans for the Thruway include such tracings?  (The experience with recently completed rural freeways in Kansas that were initially staged in the 1970's as roadgeek Super Twos--two-lane highways with comprehensive grade separation--is that the infrastructure added later to achieve full build-out often does not fit neatly into the footprint reserved for it, often owing to changed design standards.)

I don't want to sound contrary, but I find it hard to believe that anyone in 1950 (the approximate design approval date) ever envisioned a future need for a 6-lane Thruway, other than maybe for about 40 miles north of NYC.  Keep in mind the concept of even a 4-lane rural long distance freeway was still in question as to whether it would ever carry enough traffic to justify even that design. 

A 4-lane freeway was a massive capacity improvement over the pre-existing 2-lane rural nonlimited-access highways that routed traffic thru towns and cities.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 01:54:20 PM by Beltway »
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cl94

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Re: New York
« Reply #3438 on: March 21, 2018, 01:53:45 PM »

The NY 64 one actually looks like a culvert now that I think about it.  Note that there's grass on top.

I do recall reading that the Thruway built things to make widening easier (learning and applying the lessons from the PTC's restricted ROW).  Of course, that doesn't say anything about an imminent widening in the present, which I don't expect to happen.  Even it it did, I'd think it would cost quite a bit more than the estimates here.  Keep in mind the Thruway doesn't just slap some asphalt down next to the existing lanes - the usually do a full-depth reconstruction when they widen.  I'd think they would have added an extra lane to 39-40 when they rebuilt that section if there were any plans to widen west of Syracuse.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't  widening between exits 23 and 24 include some creative shoehorning of lanes under the overpasses too narrow for that?..

Yes, because none of the original bridges were designed to include shoulders. Standards were changed in the 60s-70s to require continuous shoulders across bridges and, because of that, you need an extra 40 feet for a 6-lane roadway (10' inside and outside shoulders).
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J N Winkler

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Re: New York
« Reply #3439 on: March 21, 2018, 02:54:18 PM »

I don't want to sound contrary, but I find it hard to believe that anyone in 1950 (the approximate design approval date) ever envisioned a future need for a 6-lane Thruway, other than maybe for about 40 miles north of NYC.

I don't think it is implausible.  The spread in annual traffic estimates for the original length of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, prior to opening in 1940, was 260,000 to 1.3 million.  In the first few days it was open, about 27,000 vehicles used it per day, and annualized that is 8.1 million, or 6.2 times the high-end estimate.  Obviously the novelty effect tailed off, but actual usage in the first years was about 2.4 million a year, almost double the high-end estimate.

On the basis of this experience, it is not implausible that the Thruway Authority would have made provision for widening from four to six lanes, as an inexpensive hedge against traffic being significantly higher than projected.  Unlike the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Thruway is a very easy crossing of the Appalachians and as such would have been very attractive to long-distance trucks, which count much more heavily against capacity than passenger cars.

If it turns out that the Thruway as-builts show the footprint of a six-lane facility, that will be a fairly definitive answer.  I don't know if they actually do or not.  My purpose in making the last post was really to plant the idea that it would be nice if the as-builts were available through an online repository of some kind.
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Re: New York
« Reply #3440 on: March 21, 2018, 03:30:10 PM »

While looking up as to if the Thruway was designed for six lanes, I came across this gem from the Ithaca Journal, 21 Jul. 1952, page 7:

"Access will be possible through an estimated 52 interchanges. Most of these will be cornet or trumpet-shaped approaches through which all traffic will funnel like customers at a supermarket. A half-dozen, though, built in a day when the Thurway was supposed to be a free-way, are "clover-leaves." These take more toll-takers. They're like super-markets with four doors.

What portions were designed when the Thruway was to be free?

- NY 96 near Victor west to Rochester?

"There will be six lanes from New York to Suffern; four (with two extra hard-surface lanes for parking) from Suffern west.)"

--

And the answer, from the Elmira Advertiser, 27 Jan. 1951, page 12:

"Although parts of the superhighway will be made only four lanes at first, he said, the base is being constructed six lanes for its entire route from New York City to Buffalo and western points so that it can be increased to six lanes if the need develops later."
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 03:33:52 PM by seicer »
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Re: New York
« Reply #3441 on: March 21, 2018, 03:39:06 PM »

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cl94

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Re: New York
« Reply #3442 on: March 21, 2018, 04:38:53 PM »

The Victor bypass and Albany bypass were originally planned with cloverleafs. Only the Victor bypass was actually built before the decision to toll everything was made and Exit 45 was indeed a partial cloverleaf at first (ghost ramps remain). I'll be damned if I can find it again, but I did see a plan for the Albany area that showed a cloverleaf at Exit 25, with the SW leg tying into NY 146 and/or US 20.

I don't know if those articles included the interchanges south of Spring Valley, as Bronx-Spring Valley was always a barrier system with tolls at Yonkers and Tappan Zee. I think Buffalo was always planned to be free as well minus the barrier tolls on I-190.
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Beltway

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Re: New York
« Reply #3443 on: March 21, 2018, 06:31:10 PM »

I don't want to sound contrary, but I find it hard to believe that anyone in 1950 (the approximate design approval date) ever envisioned a future need for a 6-lane Thruway, other than maybe for about 40 miles north of NYC.
I don't think it is implausible.  The spread in annual traffic estimates for the original length of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, prior to opening in 1940, was 260,000 to 1.3 million.  In the first few days it was open, about 27,000 vehicles used it per day, and annualized that is 8.1 million, or 6.2 times the high-end estimate.  Obviously the novelty effect tailed off, but actual usage in the first years was about 2.4 million a year, almost double the high-end estimate.

So actual usage in the first few years that is 6,575 AADT. 

VA I-64 over North Mountain is about 9,800 AADT today and that volume is an "almost empty" look on a rural freeway.

On the basis of this experience, it is not implausible that the Thruway Authority would have made provision for widening from four to six lanes, as an inexpensive hedge against traffic being significantly higher than projected.  Unlike the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Thruway is a very easy crossing of the Appalachians and as such would have been very attractive to long-distance trucks, which count much more heavily against capacity than passenger cars.
If it turns out that the Thruway as-builts show the footprint of a six-lane facility, that will be a fairly definitive answer.  I don't know if they actually do or not.  My purpose in making the last post was really to plant the idea that it would be nice if the as-builts were available through an online repository of some kind.

The ultimate design plan sheets would show dashed lines at the edge of a future third lane, and the typical sections would show dashed lines outlining the third lane and extended cuts and fills.

Those as-builts should most definitely exist, if in paper form only, at the NYSTA central office.

Unless NYSTA was forecasting at least 30,000 AADT, I don't think they would have envisioned 400+ miles of 6-lane rural freeway.  And this was at a time when no legislation yet existed to fund and build the national segments of I-87 and I-90.

I can think of precious few original Interstates that were built with an extra lane across the bridges, actually the only one I am sure of is MD I-495 between MD-210 and MD-97, and it had the extra lane built later.
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Re: New York
« Reply #3444 on: March 21, 2018, 06:55:50 PM »

It is interesting that seicer's map showed the Thruway going down into New Jersey apparently following Route 17 and then probably heading towards the GWB.  How nice it would be to have that direct connexion between the Thruway and the NJ Turnpike now.  Who would have been responsible for this change?
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Re: New York
« Reply #3445 on: March 21, 2018, 07:25:35 PM »

When the Mass Turnpike opened in 1957, it was 6 lanes from Route 128 west to Framingham (Exit 12) and 4 lanes the rest of the way.  But, the roadway grade and all the bridges/overpasses as far west as Sturbridge (Exit 9) were built to accommodate an added lane.   That lane was added in the late 60s.
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cl94

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Re: New York
« Reply #3446 on: March 21, 2018, 07:42:21 PM »

It is interesting that seicer's map showed the Thruway going down into New Jersey apparently following Route 17 and then probably heading towards the GWB.  How nice it would be to have that direct connexion between the Thruway and the NJ Turnpike now.  Who would have been responsible for this change?

A northern extension of the NJ Turnpike was proposed until the 70s. Would have followed Teaneck Rd, Washington Ave, and NY 303 up to the Thruway with the only intermediate interchange being at the Palisades Parkway. Thing was stopped by NIMBYs and the cost of land.

As to why the Thruway crosses the Hudson at Tarrytown, NYSTA wanted control of the bridge. Any further south and it would have been within the Port Authority's sphere of influence.
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seicer

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Re: New York
« Reply #3447 on: March 21, 2018, 09:57:20 PM »

It is interesting that seicer's map showed the Thruway going down into New Jersey apparently following Route 17 and then probably heading towards the GWB.  How nice it would be to have that direct connexion between the Thruway and the NJ Turnpike now.  Who would have been responsible for this change?

I was specifically searching for answers to the six-lane question but did note references to NJ 17 and as to why that route wasn't chosen. I can compile a history of the Thruway - or at least go through the articles from the 1940's and 1950's for AARoads.
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Re: New York
« Reply #3448 on: March 21, 2018, 10:34:39 PM »

When the Mass Turnpike opened in 1957, it was 6 lanes from Route 128 west to Framingham (Exit 12) and 4 lanes the rest of the way.  But, the roadway grade and all the bridges/overpasses as far west as Sturbridge (Exit 9) were built to accommodate an added lane.   That lane was added in the late 60s.

I am trying to recall whether the bridges on the 42-mile I-95 Northeastern Expressway in Maryland were built with 3 directional lanes.  It opened in 1963 with 4 lanes (2 each way) and was widened to 6 lanes (3 each way) in 1972.  I do recall that the Susquehanna River Bridge was built with 4 lanes and with 12-foot right shoulders, and only needed restriping to be used for 6 lanes.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/fallston-joppa/ph-ag-jfk-memorial-highway-turns-50-jpg-20131114-photogallery.html

The widening was near completion when I first drove on it in 1972.  I seem to recall that the other mainline bridges had to be widened.
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Re: New York
« Reply #3449 on: March 22, 2018, 02:12:11 PM »

How do you explain the above, then?
Links don't show what you are describing and I don't see how any form of wider bridge is some sort of omen that the entire Thruway is to be widened in the near future.

You misunderstand - it's not an omen at all; rather a feature the thruway happens to have, that would make a widening relatively easy. I do not see a widening in the near term. It would be nice, but I don't see it happening.

 


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