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Author Topic: VA: Twinning Highways But Not Rebuilding Original Alignment  (Read 8390 times)

jbnati27

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Has anyone else driven US 23 in/through Virginia? It's a 4 lane road with a 55 mph speed limit. I drove it last week. Almost a non-existent left shoulder and a very narrow right shoulder. What jumped out at me was how uneven the grading was on this road. This was especially the case in the Pound and Norton areas. It had the feel of driving a secondary country road. Is this common for 4 lane roads in Virginia? It was huge contrast the the 2 lane roads I was on in Kentucky prior to driving this stretch.
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Avalanchez71

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2016, 12:56:36 PM »

The four lane section of US 23 in Tennessee is well graded with sufficient shoulders as well.
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jbnati27

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2016, 12:59:11 PM »

The four lane section of US 23 in Tennessee is well graded with sufficient shoulders as well.
Yes, I noticed that, too.
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Mapmikey

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2016, 01:54:03 PM »

When Virginia twinned a bunch of their highways in the 1960s-70s they did not rebuild the original alignment.  Many alignments in the 1920s-30s followed the terrain pretty closely so the roads were often straight but wavy with limited efforts to make grades gradual like is done with a new road today.

Today they do rebuild the original carriageway if they twin a highway.
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hbelkins

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2016, 03:16:03 PM »

I came up with a term "Virginia Twinning" for this. It's not just US 23 that got this treatment, but a whole lot of other roads as well all over the state. The example I drove most recently was US 522 between the West Virginia state line and Winchester.
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roadman65

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2016, 03:40:04 PM »

When Virginia twinned a bunch of their highways in the 1960s-70s they did not rebuild the original alignment.  Many alignments in the 1920s-30s followed the terrain pretty closely so the roads were often straight but wavy with limited efforts to make grades gradual like is done with a new road today.

Today they do rebuild the original carriageway if they twin a highway.
Alabama does it too with US 278 east of Cullman.  You have one side wavy with the terrain and the other side leveled out.

Yes Virginia was big on that having one side wavy and the other level.  In fact even US 301 where I-95 runs next to it or where the US route is now the frontage road of the freeway between Jaratt and Petersburg had its southbound lanes wavy while the NB lanes were more evenly graded.  That explains why US 301 is using its southbound and original alignment where the interstate stole half of its alignment.

VA 168 was that way west of Williamsburg before I-64 took over.  The EB lanes were wavy while the WB lanes were level, however a wide median with a forest in it prevented you from noticing.  Then again VDOT used the level grade to make the EB freeway, and converted the EB wavy lanes into the interstate service road.  So in essence the two lane alignment  that was the original VA 168 went from two way to one way and back to two way.
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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2016, 06:27:02 PM »

The four-lane section of VA 30 east of US 60 is like that. I figured it was leftover from the 168 days.
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Sykotyk

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2016, 09:48:21 PM »

https://goo.gl/maps/t2e7FsgXmfy

This is the same as US 422 between Parkman and Warren. The eastbound side goes up and down every little hill and valley. While the newer westbound side is basically flat the entire way.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2016, 09:56:47 PM »

Md. 2/Md. 4 in Calvert County, same thing.  Here the northbound side is the old two lane road, and the southbound side (where the GSV camera is located) is more modern.

Md. 3 in Anne Arundel County. The camera is looking south along the "old" side of the road.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 10:03:49 PM by cpzilliacus »
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roadman65

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2016, 10:14:50 PM »

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Whitehouse,+Readington+Township,+NJ/@40.6334783,-74.7837199,3a,66.8y,306.37h,83.04t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sdjLkqX6YE6tO2dGeZyYaAA!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x89c392f143ba6081:0x3626ca51b9e5cd54

US 22 in Readington Township, NJ has it as well.  Look at the hump on the WB side here (where the camera is) while the other side of the road has no hump.
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Sheryl Crowe

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2016, 10:30:55 PM »

US-29 in the Charlottesville area from Rio Road to Hydraulic Road used to be that way, with the southbound side a sort of roller coaster and the northbound side flat, until it was widened and flattened out in the 1993–95 timeframe.
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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2016, 10:41:00 PM »

Lots of US 1 between Petersburg and South Hill is this way. It's also a more relaxing drive than I-85 in that area.
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roadman65

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2016, 10:55:17 PM »

Lots of US 1 between Petersburg and South Hill is this way. It's also a more relaxing drive than I-85 in that area.
I always loved that section with the alternating center passing lane.  In fact up until 2002, some areas were striped with the orange broken lines in the center which was the classic suicide passing lane.

The divided sections in between had not only the two road grade types, but had the old side with trusses and the new side more modern.  In days of old bridges were kept the same for the old road, as of now they rebuild the entire bridge to be as modern as its new counterpart.  Even in NJ you used to see on US 1 & 9 in Newark you saw the SB lanes pass through a truss over the now defunct CNJ Newark Branch, while the NB side had no truss.  I believe still in Sayreville NJ 35 over the North Jersey Coastline  commuter RR has a warren truss bridge for NB 35 and a regular bridge over the RR on the SB side.

Wichita, KS still has two different types of bridges over the Arkanas River on Broadway that is night and day as the current NB side was added years after the SB bridge that used to be for both directions.

Those days are as gone as the former Weight Limit signs on rural NY bridges that even existed well into the 80's.  Plus even NY used to use Warren Truss bridges on many rural roads over creeks and other waterways which most of them been replaced in recent road projects.  Those trusses brought in so much to the area and the aesthetics of the road itself.  Ahh!
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mattpedersen

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2016, 01:38:58 PM »

Md. 2/Md. 4 in Calvert County, same thing.  Here the northbound side is the old two lane road, and the southbound side (where the GSV camera is located) is more modern.

Md. 3 in Anne Arundel County. The camera is looking south along the "old" side of the road.

I'll add in 301 between Cheltingham and Upper Marlboro is the same way, the Southbound lanes and Northbound lanes switch back and forth between the MD 3 alignment though.
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froggie

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2016, 01:41:52 PM »

A number of states did this sort of thing, up until the point where FHWA started requiring that the old roadbed be reconstructed.  In my Mississippi experience, this generally did not happen until the early 2000's.
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hbelkins

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2016, 03:55:16 PM »

A number of states did this sort of thing, up until the point where FHWA started requiring that the old roadbed be reconstructed.  In my Mississippi experience, this generally did not happen until the early 2000's.

Wish I had photos (I wasn't as prolific at taking them back then) but on my first drive across US 68 in the southwestern part of Kentucky after it was four-laned, one side used the original up-and-down alignment, while the other used a flat alignment. I may have an old VHS-C tape of that trip but I have no idea where it is. The old alignment has since been reconstructed, but for awhile US 68 definitely was like that.

Another example is US 60 west of Hawesville, Ky.
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VTGoose

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2016, 09:53:33 AM »

I came up with a term "Virginia Twinning" for this. It's not just US 23 that got this treatment, but a whole lot of other roads as well all over the state. The example I drove most recently was US 522 between the West Virginia state line and Winchester.

US 460 is like that for most of its length, especially in Southwest Virginia. One of the first sections done, because the two-lane road was narrow with lots of curves, was between Narrows and Glen Lyn in Giles County. VDOH (at that time) condemned the former Virginian Railway, which had a nice level grade along the New River, while the road clung to the bluffs up above. The Norfolk & Western Railway (which had taken over the VGN in a merger) got two new bridges out of the deal, to cross from the VGN in Kellysville, West Virginia to the N&W tracks on the other side of the East River and to cross back to the VGN tracks south of Narrows. The westbound lanes were closed for several weeks last month following yet another rock slide on the outside of the lane, which had to be shored up. It wouldn't take too much work to add two more lanes next to the eastbound lanes to get the traffic off the narrow twisting lanes above.

Other sections of 460 received the same treatment in the '60s and '70s, with some sections being totally replaced with a new alignment (mainly going west from Blacksburg over Brush and Gap mountains) but other sections, such as between Blacksburg and Christiansburg, are twinned. Heading east into and out of Montvale is another place where the eastbound lanes dip and curve while the westbound lanes are much straighter with better vertical curves. A project is now on the books to eliminate the curves and stiff climb east out of Montvale.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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Strider

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2016, 11:47:16 PM »

I came up with a term "Virginia Twinning" for this. It's not just US 23 that got this treatment, but a whole lot of other roads as well all over the state. The example I drove most recently was US 522 between the West Virginia state line and Winchester.

US 460 is like that for most of its length, especially in Southwest Virginia. One of the first sections done, because the two-lane road was narrow with lots of curves, was between Narrows and Glen Lyn in Giles County. VDOH (at that time) condemned the former Virginian Railway, which had a nice level grade along the New River, while the road clung to the bluffs up above. The Norfolk & Western Railway (which had taken over the VGN in a merger) got two new bridges out of the deal, to cross from the VGN in Kellysville, West Virginia to the N&W tracks on the other side of the East River and to cross back to the VGN tracks south of Narrows. The westbound lanes were closed for several weeks last month following yet another rock slide on the outside of the lane, which had to be shored up. It wouldn't take too much work to add two more lanes next to the eastbound lanes to get the traffic off the narrow twisting lanes above.

Other sections of 460 received the same treatment in the '60s and '70s, with some sections being totally replaced with a new alignment (mainly going west from Blacksburg over Brush and Gap mountains) but other sections, such as between Blacksburg and Christiansburg, are twinned. Heading east into and out of Montvale is another place where the eastbound lanes dip and curve while the westbound lanes are much straighter with better vertical curves. A project is now on the books to eliminate the curves and stiff climb east out of Montvale.

Bruce in Blacksburg



Does Virginia still do that "twinning"? just wondering because I didn't know most roads there was "twinned" until this post.
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froggie

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2016, 09:59:33 AM »

Not in the traditional sense, as FHWA generally requires now that the old lanes be reconstructed.  Also, most of Virginia's recent rural 4-lane projects have been on new location.
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Strider

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2016, 11:29:50 AM »

Not in the traditional sense, as FHWA generally requires now that the old lanes be reconstructed.  Also, most of Virginia's recent rural 4-lane projects have been on new location.


Cool. Thanks for explaining it. Do you know if any other states did the same thing, or is it just Virginia?
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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2016, 01:30:22 PM »

"did the same thing" as in "Virginia twinning"?  Or as in reconstructing the old lanes?  The short answer to both is "yes".

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2016, 01:44:49 PM »

Now that this is mentioned, I believe a couple of interstates in my area are like this. If I remember right, some portions of I-81 north of Carlisle had the SB lanes being a rollercoaster ride, while the NB lanes had a flat alignment. I believe this was fixed around 2008.
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Strider

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #22 on: July 15, 2016, 02:07:34 PM »

"did the same thing" as in "Virginia twinning"?  Or as in reconstructing the old lanes?  The short answer to both is "yes".


Sorry if my question wasn't clear. Yes, I was referring to "Virginia Twinning". Again, my apologizes. The "same" thing is happening to US 220 between Greensboro and the future I-73 interchange in Summerfield, NC. They built a new parallel lane that will be southbound lanes, and modified the old road (future northbound lanes) by making some changes and then cover it with new asphalt. The reason I put "same" is because I am not sure if that is called "twinning" or just a rebuild. Some parts of US 220 is being torn down and rebuilt, however.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 02:13:37 PM by Strider »
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froggie

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2016, 11:07:46 PM »

Quote
Now that this is mentioned, I believe a couple of interstates in my area are like this. If I remember right, some portions of I-81 north of Carlisle had the SB lanes being a rollercoaster ride, while the NB lanes had a flat alignment.

Not the same thing.  This thread is referring to 2-lane highways that had a set of parallel lanes built to make it 4 lanes, but where minimal (if any) work was done with the original set of lanes.
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hbelkins

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Re: US 23 in Virginia
« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2016, 05:29:30 PM »

"did the same thing" as in "Virginia twinning"?  Or as in reconstructing the old lanes?  The short answer to both is "yes".


Sorry if my question wasn't clear. Yes, I was referring to "Virginia Twinning". Again, my apologizes. The "same" thing is happening to US 220 between Greensboro and the future I-73 interchange in Summerfield, NC. They built a new parallel lane that will be southbound lanes, and modified the old road (future northbound lanes) by making some changes and then cover it with new asphalt. The reason I put "same" is because I am not sure if that is called "twinning" or just a rebuild. Some parts of US 220 is being torn down and rebuilt, however.

"Virginia Twinning" is just a term I came up with years ago to describe the conversion of a two-lane route to a four-lane route merely by building one new parallel carriageway and not making any changes, or only minimal ones, to the existing route.
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