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Author Topic: Western roadtrip: a NV "Waste of Energy" ticket, Phoenix musings and more…  (Read 2248 times)

Sub-Urbanite

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Route: Portland to La Pine via US 26/97; on to Lakeview, Winnemucca, Austin, Alamo, St. George, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff, Navajo Bridge, St. George, Pioche, Ely, Twin Falls, Boise, Portland.

Oregon

I continue to think it's sensible to route I-11 from Reno to Portland via Bend. There's so much traffic on US 26 between Portland and Madras, and the passing can at times be downright dangerous. ADTs around 5500 aren't unreasonable for at least a divided highway, but I don't see Oregon buying in on that without some sort of larger push/marketing campaign. I get that ODOT *is* doing it piecemeal from LaPine to Redmond, but more is needed.

I found it interesting that ODOT has a sign directing drivers to use OR 31 to get to Reno from SB 97. I've always thought of the route to Reno as going through K-Falls, Canby and Susanville, and Google confirms that as slightly shorter, but I guess ODOT thought it best to just direct drivers to 395 as early as possible.

Nevada

I have set my cruise at 83 in Nevada's 70 mph zones for as long as I've been driving. I've passed parked NHP cruisers without breaking a sweat going 83 in a 70. So imagine my surprise when, south of Battle Mountain on NV 305, a navy blue SUV flipped a U behind me and pulled me over for doing 83 in a 70. Perhaps the culture has changed, who knows, but it really annoyed me – more because I was going to be limited to *not* going 83 for the rest of my drive. Luckily, I was given a $25 rural speeding ticket (no points, but $50 in tacked-on court fees, for a total of $75)… still, wow. What a shocker.

As always, a hat-tip to NDOT for maintaining their highways so well – not only the asphalt, but keeping brush alongside the roads down to improve visibility. Nevada 376 was one of the most beautiful roads I've ever had the pleasure of driving, and I hope to get a chance to spend some time in Carvers or Round Mountain some day. NV 375 (The ET Highway) was *barren* – even by Nevada standards. A lot of cows grazing around the road, and a lot of dead cows nearby, although evidently not enough to justify paying for a fence. The Little Ale-E-Inn was a pretty poor tourist trap, even by tourist trap standards.

US 93 from Alamo to Coyote Springs needs some passing lanes, desperately. Don't know what the ADTs are there, but they have to be enough to justify adding a handful in each direction – the two lanes just aren't cutting it.

Nice to see Clark County being clear that Indexing the gas tax helps build roads through some explicit signage. Looks like work on the Boulder City Bypass is going along smoothly - a lot of grading visible.

On the return trip, went up US 93 from Panaca to Jackpot (and beyond). Interesting to see the investment in deer kill prevention (overpasses, fencing) between Wells and Jackpot. Wish there were a couple more passing lanes in here as well.

Arizona

Is ADOT basically rebuilding I-15 through the Gorge? Looked like some intense cliff and bridge work underway… 

Great to see progress happening on the I-11 project between I-40 and Phoenix. It's been a decade since I've driven that stretch, and I can't believe the progress that's been made, and how much safer the road feels.

It makes no sense to take 11 due south from Wickenburg. Run it over on 74, or south on 303, but for heaven's sakes don't take it so far west of Phoenix. Too much traffic will just divert right back onto 60.

What is the basis for the exit numbering on Loop 303? It starts at Exit 105…

Phoenix's surface streets are hellacious. I thought I could save time driving from the Metrocenter to Surprise by going due west on Dunlap to Grand, but boy was I mistaken. Might as well have driven an extra 15 miles and taken the 101. I can't imagine what that does to Phoenix's VMT and emissions.

Here in Portland, a lot of debate about whether the UGB is "forcing" new apartment construction in the central city. Imagine my surprise to see a bunch of Portland-like apartments going up in downtown Phoenix…clearly not their UGB's fault…

Leaving town, took 17 north and got stuck in an epic Wednesday morning traffic jam caused by two slow semis heading up the hill. Seems like that area is prime for a truck climbing lane, right?

Utah

Only memorable observation was how UT 18 is increasingly functioning as an expressway north of Sunset Blvd (old 91). I was surprised to see that Bluff was essentially the "mainline" at the Red Cliffs/Snow Canyon Pkwy interchange.
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Max Rockatansky

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Nevada is a getting a lot more aggressive in enforcing speeds in the land train highways in the middle of the state.  I was doing 74 MPH out of Goldfield in Esmeralda County and got followed by the County Sheriff (yes rare sighting in a county with 700 people and almost the size of Connecticut) to the Nye County Line a couple weeks back.  Basically the whole wriggamoral with the I-11 alignment going west of the White Tanks has a lot to do with annexations by Buckeye and Goodyear, I'm with you on AZ 303 or 74.  I have no idea on the mileage with AZ 303....maybe it's from AZ 85?

kkt

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I don't any reason for I-11 to go north of Las Vegas.  AADT of 5,500 could be a 2-lane road with regular passing opportunities just fine.  It doesn't need the full interstate treatment.

How I-11 goes to or around Phoenix depends on what they want it to be, really.  If they want it to be a wide bypass of Phoenix for through traffic from Tucson or Nogales to I-40, turning south at Wickenburg makes perfect sense.  If they want it to go to the center of Phoenix, they'd better start reserving right of way now, because there's already quite a few grade crossings of US 60 north of 303 they'd have to eliminate.  Looks like 303 has one too.
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Max Rockatansky

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I don't any reason for I-11 to go north of Las Vegas.  AADT of 5,500 could be a 2-lane road with regular passing opportunities just fine.  It doesn't need the full interstate treatment.

How I-11 goes to or around Phoenix depends on what they want it to be, really.  If they want it to be a wide bypass of Phoenix for through traffic from Tucson or Nogales to I-40, turning south at Wickenburg makes perfect sense.  If they want it to go to the center of Phoenix, they'd better start reserving right of way now, because there's already quite a few grade crossings of US 60 north of 303 they'd have to eliminate.  Looks like 303 has one too.

I don't think most people understand how barren the desert along the US 60 expressway is between Surprise and Wickenburg.  Basically you have a couple thousand people living in CDPs along empty swathes of desert that are going to get swallowed up probably one day by Surprise and Peoria....but not anytime soon.

Basically there is a whole mountain range between US 60/AZ 303 that some of the initial routings of I-11 showed going past.  That doesn't serve as a bypass since it greatly elongates the I-11 route west and doesn't serve the city of Phoenix directly.  US 60 from Wickenburg to AZ 303 can be upgraded a lot easier since it doesn't have much along the current four-lane expressway.  There isn't anything between Wickenburg and Surprise that can't be handled with a couple ramps and frontage roads like Morristown, Wittman and Circle City.  Basically Buckeye which is a city of 50,000 people annexed several hundred square miles of land during the housing boom west of the White Tanks which is all empty desert even to this day.  Basically the only one that would benefit from an I-11 routing going west of the White Tanks would be Buckeye and that shouldn't be the aim of upgrading a transportation corridor.  I-11 could take US 60 to AZ 303 south to reach I-10 like the OP suggested or even upgrade AZ 74 and have it reach I-17.  I often used the latter route myself when I was living in Phoenix to reach US 60 on my way to Vegas.

I don't see a need a long US 93 for any kind of upgrade soon or even US 95.  We're talking about counties in Nevada that have population densities similar to Alaska between Clark and Washoe, the current roads are more than sufficient. 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2016, 07:56:57 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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kkt

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So if I-11 used AZ 303, could South Cotton Lane south of I-40 I-10 be turned into 4-lane interstate without requiring lots of eminent domain?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2016, 09:57:45 PM by kkt »
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Max Rockatansky

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So if I-11 used AZ 303, could South Cotton Lane south of I-40 be turned into 4-lane interstate without requiring lots of eminent domain?

I think you meant I-10 not I-40.  But yes especially now still since most of the land is still semi-rural consisting of farm lands.  It would make a pretty good connection for the spur route ADOT has planned along MC 85 and possibly an extension of I-11 towards Casa Grande and Maricopa.  Granted that land isn't going to grow any time in the near future either despite what the city of Goodyear thought.

kkt

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So if I-11 used AZ 303, could South Cotton Lane south of I-40 be turned into 4-lane interstate without requiring lots of eminent domain?

Corrected my post to say I-10, thanks.

Looks like South Cotton Lane passes between subdivisions for the first mile and a half south of I-10.  Just wondering how much space there really is on the ground there.  Sometimes it's hard to tell from aerial photos how much space is needed for drainage, etc.


I think you meant I-10 not I-40.  But yes especially now still since most of the land is still semi-rural consisting of farm lands.  It would make a pretty good connection for the spur route ADOT has planned along MC 85 and possibly an extension of I-11 towards Casa Grande and Maricopa.  Granted that land isn't going to grow any time in the near future either despite what the city of Goodyear thought.
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Max Rockatansky

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It's very wide between the sub-divisions, they probably have been kept that way purposely.  The 303 project is supposed to extend south on Cotton Lane at some point in the next couple years.  The ramps at the interchange with I-10 are basically close to complete and are built to connect to a freeway running south.

 


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