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Author Topic: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?  (Read 9756 times)

1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2016, 10:06:28 PM »

The 15/50 intersection used to be a crossroads with a traffic light that backed up. The middle one of the three roundabouts you mention connects to a new road that itself then ends at another roundabout on Route 15 a short distance south of the main one—essentially intended to allow traffic connecting from 15 south of 50 to 50 east of 15, or vice versa, to avoid having to pass through the roundabout where the two routes meet. I have no idea how much traffic makes that maneuver, but the intent was noble. The other roundabout to the east has always struck me as a little bit much, and I generally like roundabouts.
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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2016, 10:20:48 PM »

There are no structurally deficient bridges on 17 between VA 55 and US 50.  What may be the issue is the railroad crossing in Delaplane, which for some reason has always been difficult to maintain as a smooth crossing and is posted as UNEVEN TRACKS with a 20 mph advisory. 

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

As for US 50, there are 19th century bridges still on that route that apparently don't require restrictions.  The AADT for trucks between US 17 and US 15 doesn't really crack 300 and is only 3% of the traffic.  I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.
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74/171FAN

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2016, 10:35:38 PM »

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.

I am basically going into fictional territory here, but then should US 17 basically be truncated to I-66 in Marshall?  (with current US 17 from VA 55 to US 50 possibly an extended VA 255)  I do remember you mentioning before that you believe VA 7 could also be an extended US 48 (which would have to get to Winchester first.).
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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2016, 09:56:18 AM »

Quote
And how did those decorative medians ever get approved by VDOT? Seems to me they would cause difficulty for trucks or other wide loads.

And why is the truck restriction on US 17? Are their structurally deficient bridges along the route? From what I saw along US 50, I'd think it should be the truck-restricted route.

Through trucks are required to use I-66, I-81, and VA 37.  Some of it is traffic calming, some of it is local influence.

Quote
Also, were those three roundabouts in a row REALLY necessary? I'd only driven through the US 15/US 50 intersection once, northbound on 15, so I don't remember what kind of traffic control was in place there. But I can't imagine all three of those roundabouts were needed.

Yes they were.  The first roundabout, at SR 860, was to avoid putting in a signal (previously was stop-control on SR 860).  The second roundabout is part of a new connector road in the southeast quadrant of the 15/50 area, as the heaviest traffic movements were between 15 South and 50 East.  This pulled enough traffic from the existing 15/50 junction to where it would work with a roundabout...previously was a signal that backed up considerably during peak hours.

Very aware of your dislike of roundabouts, but it works fairly well in that area.
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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2016, 10:18:07 AM »

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.

I am basically going into fictional territory here, but then should US 17 basically be truncated to I-66 in Marshall?  (with current US 17 from VA 55 to US 50 possibly an extended VA 255)  I do remember you mentioning before that you believe VA 7 could also be an extended US 48 (which would have to get to Winchester first.).

My statement a while back about US 48 was more about VA 7 being a major route worthy of a US designation and 48 fitting the grid.  From a functional standpoint, it would make more sense to move US 50 over than to have US 48 reach the DC area, given that I-66 exists.

Don't know that US 17 would have to be truncated.  I would actually prefer it be extended to Hancock MD over US 522.

VA 255 should be downgraded...it already feels like a secondary route in most locations.
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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2016, 12:06:15 PM »

There are no structurally deficient bridges on 17 between VA 55 and US 50.  What may be the issue is the railroad crossing in Delaplane, which for some reason has always been difficult to maintain as a smooth crossing and is posted as UNEVEN TRACKS with a 20 mph advisory. 

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

As for US 50, there are 19th century bridges still on that route that apparently don't require restrictions.  The AADT for trucks between US 17 and US 15 doesn't really crack 300 and is only 3% of the traffic.  I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.

Why would the dividend segment west of Middleburg be removed? It serves as great chance for passing. If VDOT was to possibly someday move the US 50 designation onto VA 7,  traffic on current US 50 wouldn't just disappear since it, like VA 7, serves as a commuter route. I like the idea of making US 48 more respectable and actually fitting the grid by replacing VA 7. As for VDOT trying to direct people off of two lane US 15,17, and 50 when everyone knows where they go, isn't really working and perhaps future widenings might have to happen eventually. People who don't want these roads widened claim that will spur crazy out of control deployment. This is possible, but both Loudoun and Fauquier could stop it if they really wanted to.
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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2016, 12:37:16 PM »

Why would the dividend segment west of Middleburg be removed?

I am guessing it was built with the intent of being extended further before the aforementioned "rich-bitch NIMBYs" put a stop to it. They probably want the existing segment removed in order to enforce that it shall never be extended further in the future.

I drove through there on the way to Corridor H and it struck me as "well that was a random short section of divided highway".

It did not appear to be near the end of its life/in need of resurfacing soon, but if it is then redoing one side and closing the other would be cheaper than doing both, so saving money could be a more rational motive than NIMBY's demanding the bridge be burned.
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1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2016, 01:38:32 PM »

I seem to recall reading somewhere, but I do not remember where, that the proposal for that divided segment was not to eliminate it entirely but rather to sever it from Route 50 so that thru traffic would use the current westbound (northern) carriageway and the current eastbound (southern) carriageway would remain in place, just disconnected at each end, to provide access for the homeowners and businesses located along that segment. I'm pretty sure it wasn't on the Route50.org website.

It is indeed a fairly random-feeling divided segment, and it is indeed a great opportunity to pass slower traffic. It certainly doesn't fit with the rest of the road and I don't doubt there's some sentiment in Middleburg that eastbound people who floor it to pass sometimes enter the town at too high a speed (when I was younger and dumber I was one of those people more than once).
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74/171FAN

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2016, 03:03:12 PM »

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.

I am basically going into fictional territory here, but then should US 17 basically be truncated to I-66 in Marshall?  (with current US 17 from VA 55 to US 50 possibly an extended VA 255)  I do remember you mentioning before that you believe VA 7 could also be an extended US 48 (which would have to get to Winchester first.).

My statement a while back about US 48 was more about VA 7 being a major route worthy of a US designation and 48 fitting the grid.  From a functional standpoint, it would make more sense to move US 50 over than to have US 48 reach the DC area, given that I-66 exists.

Don't know that US 17 would have to be truncated.  I would actually prefer it be extended to Hancock MD over US 522.

VA 255 should be downgraded...it already feels like a secondary route in most locations.

I can agree on VA 255, I drove it one night in January while heading home to see my family and the southern portion around Millwood in particular definitely felt like a secondary route.

I have also noticed that taking US 17 and US 50 in Winchester instead of I-81 to I-66 seems to be negligible on time.  (oddly putting it in Google maps the former seems to be slightly faster)  Personally, I would be more likely to use I-66 to I-81 if planning to stay on interstates or going to VA 37, but I would use US 17/US 50 if planning to go into downtown Winchester.

 
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2016, 09:53:54 PM »

Don't know that US 17 would have to be truncated.  I would actually prefer it be extended to Hancock MD over US 522.

Because the people of substantial means along U.S. 17 between I-66 at Delaplane and U.S. 50 at Paris have succeeded in getting a total truck ban imposed, I would like to see U.S. 17 terminate at I-66 at Marshall.

The section of 17 that has the total truck ban should be downgraded to a secondary system highway, and the redundant overlap with U.S. 50 can be entirely removed. Business U.S. 17 through Marshall can be entirely removed, or it can be converted to Business Loop I-66 (though I have never seen a business Interstate Loop in Virginia).
« Last Edit: June 05, 2016, 07:21:19 PM by cpzilliacus »
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hbelkins

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2016, 10:02:18 PM »

There was at least one sign posted along westbound US 50 that had a "Truck Route" plate installed where "West" should go.

I've never driven US 17 between I-66 and US 50, but from here it seems to me that trucks should be prohibited on US 50 instead of US 17.

And I agree that US 17 should be truncated at either I-66 or US 50, instead of following a useless concurrency into downtown Winchester.
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74/171FAN

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2016, 10:16:49 PM »

Don't know that US 17 would have to be truncated.  I would actually prefer it be extended to Hancock MD over US 522.

Because the people of substantial means along U.S. 17 between I-66 at Delaplane and U.S. 50 at Paris have succeeded in getting a total truck ban imposed, I would like to see U.S. 17 terminate at I-66 at Marshall.  ?

The section of 17 that has the total truck ban should be downgraded to a secondary system highway, and the redundant overlap with U.S. 50 can be entirely removed. Business U.S. 17 through Marshall can be entirely removed, or it can be converted to Business Loop I-66 (though I have never seen a business Interstate Loop in Virginia).

I would prefer that the section of 17 stays in the primary system, but only due to its function as a shortcut for cars to US 340 near Boyce over going to Front Royal to access US 340/522 or even having to cut east on VA 277 from I-81 (which it seems that some trucks may be forced into doing??)

I doubt that a Business Loop I-66 would make sense due to the presence of VA 55.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 10:19:45 PM by 74/171FAN »
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Mapmikey

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2016, 09:46:49 AM »

I've never driven US 17 between I-66 and US 50, but from here it seems to me that trucks should be prohibited on US 50 instead of US 17.



This part of US 17 is very nice.  No sharp curves, and no towns.  Serves Sky Meadows State Park which is scenic.  They straightened out this road a long time ago.  The only downside is the 45 mph speed limit which is hard because it is clearly designed for more than that.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #38 on: June 05, 2016, 10:38:47 AM »

There are no structurally deficient bridges on 17 between VA 55 and US 50.  What may be the issue is the railroad crossing in Delaplane, which for some reason has always been difficult to maintain as a smooth crossing and is posted as UNEVEN TRACKS with a 20 mph advisory.

Agreed.  That railroad grade crossing (especially for southbound movements) is a hazard for laden trucks, who used to use U.S. 17 as a shortcut to avoid I-81 (and the weigh/inspection station at Stephens City) and I-66.  South of Marshall, U.S. 17 is a de facto Outer Beltway routing for trucks, from I-95 in southern Stafford County to I-66 at Marshall.

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

Yes, there is even a sign on northbound I-81 approaching the ramp to U.S. 50/U.S. 17/U.S. 522 South stating that.

As for US 50, there are 19th century bridges still on that route that apparently don't require restrictions.  The AADT for trucks between US 17 and US 15 doesn't really crack 300 and is only 3% of the traffic.  I don't know if VDOT still secretly hopes to build a US 50 bypass for those villages someday but absent that they should just move US 50 to VA 7 and either make US 50 secondary or make it part of VA 236.  VDOT is also supposedly considering removing the divided segment west of Middleburg.

All of the changes to U.S. 50 between Paris and Arcola bear the fingerprints of the Piedmont Environmental Council, which would like to convert the road to some sort of a private driveway for their contributors, and to keep the unwashed masses away from Middleburg and Upperville.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2016, 07:22:51 PM by cpzilliacus »
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74/171FAN

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #39 on: June 05, 2016, 01:25:46 PM »

There are no structurally deficient bridges on 17 between VA 55 and US 50.  What may be the issue is the railroad crossing in Delaplane, which for some reason has always been difficult to maintain as a smooth crossing and is posted as UNEVEN TRACKS with a 20 mph advisory.

Agreed.  That railroad grade crossing (especially for southbound movements) is a hazard for laden trucks, who used to use U.S. 17 as a shortcut to avoid I-81 (and the weigh/inspection station at Stephens City) and I-66.  South of Marshall, U.S. 17 is a de facto Outer Beltway routing for trucks, from I-95 in southern Stafford County to I-66 at Marshall.

The speed limit on this entire stretch of 17 was dropped to 45 at least 15 years ago and on I-66 VDOT makes it clear they want traffic to use 66 to 81 to get to Winchester.

Yes, there is even a sign on northbound I-81 approaching the ramp to U.S. 50/U.S. 17/U.S. 522 South stating that.

I think you meant I-81 southbound. (unless it is not on GSV)
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #40 on: June 05, 2016, 07:30:03 PM »

I think you meant I-81 southbound. (unless it is not on GSV)

No, I mean northbound (November 2015).

It does not show on the northbound I-81 GSV (because the GSV car was overtaking a FedEx double trailer combination, also November 2015) but it can be seen looking across the median from the southbound side.

And yes, there is one on I-81 southbound as well, as you post above.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2016, 07:36:04 PM by cpzilliacus »
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74/171FAN

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #41 on: November 02, 2016, 08:57:48 PM »

Traffic calming is in Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville...a beautiful ride but not wide open end to end from US 17 to US 15.

Well it looks like another traffic calming project in Middleburg was just completed.

I have also noticed that taking US 17 and US 50 in Winchester instead of I-81 to I-66 seems to be negligible on time.  (oddly putting it in Google maps the former seems to be slightly faster)  Personally, I would be more likely to use I-66 to I-81 if planning to stay on interstates or going to VA 37, but I would use US 17/US 50 if planning to go into downtown Winchester.

I also wanted to make an update on this.  Last time I went to see my parents (back in July), I used US 17 and US 50 instead of I-81 to I-66 as I did not need to get gas before entering VA so I waited until I got to the Sheetz at the US 340 intersection.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #42 on: November 03, 2016, 09:49:57 AM »

Traffic calming is in Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville...a beautiful ride but not wide open end to end from US 17 to US 15.

Well it looks like another traffic calming project in Middleburg was just completed.

WTOP Radio was reporting that rather prominently on their air yesterday.

Middleburg (along with Upperville) and Warrenton are smack in the middle of the wheelhouse(s) of the Piedmont Environmental Council. 

I have also noticed that taking US 17 and US 50 in Winchester instead of I-81 to I-66 seems to be negligible on time.  (oddly putting it in Google maps the former seems to be slightly faster)  Personally, I would be more likely to use I-66 to I-81 if planning to stay on interstates or going to VA 37, but I would use US 17/US 50 if planning to go into downtown Winchester.

I also wanted to make an update on this.  Last time I went to see my parents (back in July), I used US 17 and US 50 instead of I-81 to I-66 as I did not need to get gas before entering VA so I waited until I got to the Sheetz at the US 340 intersection.

I may not have noticed that Sheetz before.  There used to be a 7-11 store on that parcel of land, so Sheetz is a definite improvement!
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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #43 on: November 03, 2016, 11:51:06 AM »

I may not have noticed that Sheetz before.  There used to be a 7-11 store on that parcel of land, so Sheetz is a definite improvement!

I have stopped at that Sheetz twice before. Once when doing my US 340 clinch, and most recently when doing my US 50 Virginia clinch that is the subject of this thread.
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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #44 on: November 03, 2016, 06:17:01 PM »

I may not have noticed that Sheetz before.  There used to be a 7-11 store on that parcel of land, so Sheetz is a definite improvement!

I have stopped at that Sheetz twice before. Once when doing my US 340 clinch, and most recently when doing my US 50 Virginia clinch that is the subject of this thread.

I rather like the Virginia part of U.S. 50, aside from the politics associated with the lack of widening across much of Loudoun County. 

It comes down the mountain from West Virginia, through (not around) Winchester, then pretty rolling countryside and across the Blue Ridge (locally called Paris Mountain because of the town just over the east side of the ridgecrest), through  the extremely wealthy Upperville area, and the excessively quaint Middleburg.  Then into the sprawl and the wealth of Northern Virginia passing south of Dulles Airport and through the City of Fairfax, then the "final" Virginia section, Arlington Boulevard, with its mysterious 8 ton truck weight limit (nobody I have talked to seems to know the origin of that limit) and merging with I-66 as it crosses into D.C.
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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #45 on: November 03, 2016, 08:26:57 PM »

...its mysterious 8 ton truck weight limit... (nobody I have talked to seems to know the origin of that limit)...

If I recall correctly, a Dr. Gridlock column from way back in the day addressed this issue.  It turned out that the substructure under US-50 is so old that it can no longer support such heavy loads.   Took a while, but I did manage to find the column: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2001/01/11/navigating-route-50/a34cf73a-1dd4-40b5-8a81-d1acec2f3eea/
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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #46 on: November 03, 2016, 08:36:55 PM »

... then the "final" Virginia section, Arlington Boulevard, with its mysterious 8 ton truck weight limit (nobody I have talked to seems to know the origin of that limit) and merging with I-66 as it crosses into D.C.

You have now talked to the right person...

The restriction was enacted Sept 23, 1937 (pg 28 at http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-09-1937-01.pdf) from Falls Church to Fort Myer

"not sufficiently strong to carry heavily weighted trucks."

Pg. 29 of the March 1950 CTB (http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-03-1950-01.pdf) noted that the exact boundary of the truck restriction was not well defined so here they made it explicit from VA 237 Ft Myer west to the Fairfax Circle.

US 50 was officially put onto Arlington Blvd in Aug 1937 and it was new construction, so it is curious and unfortunate it was unable to handle truck traffic as it existed in the 1930s. 

The Dr. Gridlock article reads to me that while the road is old, the truck restriction is a recent development.
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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #47 on: November 03, 2016, 10:39:00 PM »

... then the "final" Virginia section, Arlington Boulevard, with its mysterious 8 ton truck weight limit (nobody I have talked to seems to know the origin of that limit) and merging with I-66 as it crosses into D.C.

You have now talked to the right person...

The restriction was enacted Sept 23, 1937 (pg 28 at http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-09-1937-01.pdf) from Falls Church to Fort Myer

"not sufficiently strong to carry heavily weighted trucks."

Pg. 29 of the March 1950 CTB (http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/meetings/minutes_pdf/CTB-03-1950-01.pdf) noted that the exact boundary of the truck restriction was not well defined so here they made it explicit from VA 237 Ft Myer west to the Fairfax Circle.

US 50 was officially put onto Arlington Blvd in Aug 1937 and it was new construction, so it is curious and unfortunate it was unable to handle truck traffic as it existed in the 1930s. 

The Dr. Gridlock article reads to me that while the road is old, the truck restriction is a recent development.

That's really fascinating. I remember U.S. 50 having a weight restriction as far back as the  1960's (I have mentioned in this forum going to visit an aunt and uncle that lived in the Lake Barcroft area of Fairfax County), and our route would cross U.S. 50 (Arlington Boulevard) at some point on the way there.

I am speculating now, but I wonder if the original construction might have been done by the federal government (maybe to improve road access to Fort Myer) and then turned-over to State Highway Commission/Virginia Department of Highways? I have a hard time believing that VDH (or its predecessor, SHC) would have allowed the construction of such a substandard road with state dollars.

I know that much of Arlington Boulevard has an "old" feel to it, though the limits above do raise a question. Buses have apparently never been restricted (including chartered buses, school buses, and especially transit buses (Arnold Lines prior to about 1964, then D.C. Transit's Virginia subsidiary, W.V.&M. "Virginia Lines," and since 1972 WMATA's Metrobus and in some places probably ART and Fairfax Connector)).  The transit buses run by  Arnold Lines, W.V.&M. and WMATA were quite a bit heavier than 8 tons, and generally very heavy in the rear over the drive axle. 

I assume that those drive axle loadings would be very hard on the pavement, but apparently not that much.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 11:03:31 PM by cpzilliacus »
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1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #48 on: November 08, 2016, 07:21:41 AM »

Regarding Route 50 generally, in another long-dormant thread we had noted that its crossings between Fauquier and Loudoun Counties weren't marked. They are now. Ms1995hoo and I stopped in Middleburg this past Sunday on the way back from our favorite winery and I noted there are now several county line signs in place, all the newer style with the county names not in all-caps.

I put this here instead of in the other thread just because I didn't think it was a matter significant enough to warrant exhuming a dead discussion.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #49 on: November 08, 2016, 11:39:14 AM »

Regarding Route 50 generally, in another long-dormant thread we had noted that its crossings between Fauquier and Loudoun Counties weren't marked. They are now. Ms1995hoo and I stopped in Middleburg this past Sunday on the way back from our favorite winery and I noted there are now several county line signs in place, all the newer style with the county names not in all-caps.

I put this here instead of in the other thread just because I didn't think it was a matter significant enough to warrant exhuming a dead discussion.

Yeah, U.S. 50 jumps back and forth between Loudoun County and Fauquier Count several times between the crest of the Blue Ridge and Middleburg.

Have not been by since the those crossings of the boundary were signed.
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