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Author Topic: Minnesota observations  (Read 1468 times)

kurumi

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Minnesota observations
« on: January 01, 2017, 07:59:07 PM »

Took a short trip to Minnesota and Iowa for family reunion. Thank you for all the sightseeing recommendations for the free afternoon I expected to have. Unfortunately, weather delays and related 2016-style airline nonsense (having to return to SJC gate to refuel; waiting 20 minutes at MSP gate for the jetway guy to get his s**t together, etc.) basically stole that afternoon. About 90 minutes or so between leaving the car rental place and sunset.

Routes traveled include: I-494, I-94, I-694, US 8 (short), I-35E, I-35, US 14/218 (s), US 65 (s), MN 13/US 69(s), I-90, MN/iA 86, US 71, IA 9, MN 4, MN 60/30/15, US 169, MN 62, MN 100, MN 55, MN 5

The grid pattern of MSP reminds me of Los Angeles (a little bit), with more cloverleaves and fewer lanes.  The eastern I-94 interchange where 494 becomes 694 reminds me of 280/680/101:

A quick detour to Wisconsin, a new state for me, and a stop at Culver's in Hudson. US 12 is co-signed along the I-94 overlap for your convenience:


Minnesota has a different approach:


Another bit of LA flavor: dual thru route markers on pull-through guide signs. I even saw a "double double" for I-494/MN 5 (IIRC), but could not get a photo of it.


County 14 on I-694 is marked as old MN route 5 (no light, bad photo). That route was truncated to MN 120 in 2015.


Blue Earth, MN has a statue of the Jolly Green Giant (which I like to think is based on Arthur Machen's Great God Pan), and a "Golden Spike" monument celebrating the completion of Interstate 90 in 1978 as the eastern and western construction teams met. Some sources place Blue Earth at I-90's center point, but a quick check of driving distances shows this point about 90 miles west. Also, Wallace, Idaho (where the final traffic light was bypassed in 1991) is a more accurate location to mark the completion of I-90.


Minnesota has a couple of locations where a US route ends just a bit short of a connecting interstate.

On the ground, US 218 has a short overlap with US 14 at Owatonna, but for some reason ends at CR 45 instead of continuing to I-35, another mile to the west. This is signed fairly well along US 14 if you know what's happening ("To" vs overlap signs, and "END 218" at CR 45). The MN highway log (http://www.dot.state.mn.us/roadway/data/reports/logpt/statelpt.pdf) shows 218 overlapping all the way to I-35 ("COINCIDENT WITH ROUTE USTH 14 FROM REFERENCE POINTS 173+00.671 TO 176+00.070"), but at that junction: "A2-017-7 - KEY ERROR IN TRMDSQ - ROUTE DOES NOT EXIST"


And US 69 ends at MN 13 instead of continuing 5 miles along 13 to meet I-90. However, "to 69" and "to 90" are marked both ways.


North of St. Peter, at US 169 / MN 22, I was surprised to see what MN calls a Reduced Conflict Intersection (RCI) that has elements of what many of us know as a Michigan Left: https://goo.gl/maps/xybMtXozg5n

More random notes:
* I noticed a few signs for numbered Township routes along US 169. The markers resemble the white county markers, but are marked "TWP" instead of a county name.
* Some county routes are white squares and others are blue pentagons
* MN 60 (a nicely improved diagonal route, mostly expressway; I've driven all the Iowa portion) overlaps 3 other routes in a row (contiguous): MN 4, then 30, then 15. Does any other route have 3 or more overlaps in a row like this? (Does any other route have all its overlappees evenly divisible into that route number?). Part of the most direct Sioux City to MSP route, MN/IA 60 acts as sort of a hidden (fictional) US 375.

Non-road sightseeing: the frozen lakes at Okoboji; and Minnehaha Falls, a partially frozen waterfall on the Mississippi River.
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Mdcastle

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Re: Minnesota observations
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2017, 10:12:05 PM »

The "Gold Cement Slab" at Blue Earth is still there but covered by an overlay, they left the shoulders so you can see where it is.

https://www.google.com/maps/@43.659691,-94.1105469,3a,75y,77.28h,42.69t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sLccqavJVCMaBK8ydXFs8Ig!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: Minnesota observations
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2017, 01:43:33 AM »

The crossroad US 69 ends at today used to be US 16, which is why the route ended there to begin with. Not sure why they didn't feel a need to extend it to I-90 when 16 was removed; another option would have been to route 69 east along MN 13 for a mile to the US 65 intersection. Oddly, it's a good chance MN 13 formerly ended at that intersection as well and was then later extended east to US 65 when US 16 was removed.

Oh well.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 01:49:25 AM by TheHighwayMan394 »
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: Minnesota observations
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2017, 11:56:42 AM »

That's a pretty nice trip!

I personally find it annoying that US-12 isn't signed along I-94/394 except for those "US-12 FOLLOW X" signs. I understand why—cheaper and there's less sign clutter—but the purist in me hates it. (I feel the same way about US-52, but personally I'd rather see that put back onto something like its original alignment than be signed all along I-94, but I digress.)

Also, I never noticed that about those three MN-60 concurrencies before. Neat.

Don't really have anything else to add to this conversation besides this slightly better picture of one of the OLD MN-5 markers on I-694, if anyone's interested. This one is going south on 694.
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froggie

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Re: Minnesota observations
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2017, 03:03:31 PM »

Quote
On the ground, US 218 has a short overlap with US 14 at Owatonna, but for some reason ends at CR 45 instead of continuing to I-35, another mile to the west. This is signed fairly well along US 14 if you know what's happening ("To" vs overlap signs, and "END 218" at CR 45). The MN highway log (http://www.dot.state.mn.us/roadway/data/reports/logpt/statelpt.pdf) shows 218 overlapping all the way to I-35 ("COINCIDENT WITH ROUTE USTH 14 FROM REFERENCE POINTS 173+00.671 TO 176+00.070"),

Not sure why MnDOT did the newer signage the way they did (which dates to when US 14 was relocated onto the new freeway between Owatonna and Waseca a few years ago) if they still consider US 218 to end at I-35.  There is significance in the signage at CSAH 45...namely in that county road is the old alignment of US 65, which was the route US 218 ended at pre-Interstate.

Quote
but at that junction: "A2-017-7 - KEY ERROR IN TRMDSQ - ROUTE DOES NOT EXIST"

This line does not refer to US 218 but instead refers to "US 859A"...in this instance, most likely an extension of the centerline at the southern I-94/US 59 interchange.

(EDITED TO ADD:)

Quote
North of St. Peter, at US 169 / MN 22, I was surprised to see what MN calls a Reduced Conflict Intersection (RCI) that has elements of what many of us know as a Michigan Left:

Not really a Michigan Left.  This is far closer in line with NCDOT's Superstreet concept.  Elements of the intersection itself, with closing off left turns and cross-median movements, is something that MnDOT's been doing for over 20 years, though mainly in urban/suburban areas.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 03:29:49 PM by froggie »
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DandyDan

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Re: Minnesota observations
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2017, 02:52:31 AM »

The crossroad US 69 ends at today used to be US 16, which is why the route ended there to begin with. Not sure why they didn't feel a need to extend it to I-90 when 16 was removed; another option would have been to route 69 east along MN 13 for a mile to the US 65 intersection. Oddly, it's a good chance MN 13 formerly ended at that intersection as well and was then later extended east to US 65 when US 16 was removed.

Oh well.
Having just made the trip to Albert Lea tonight, my theory as to why US 69 ends where it does is that MnDoT wanted one continuous number from I-90 to downtown for people coming from the west and since MN 13 continues north of I-90, MN 13 won out.  If US 69 continued north of I-90, MnDoT probably would say MN 13 ends there, too, and then they would have to come up with a new number for the east-west segment of MN 13.  But if they did that, it wouldn't be a continuous number to downtown Albert Lea.
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bschultzy

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Re: Minnesota observations
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2017, 05:44:45 PM »

Non-road sightseeing: the frozen lakes at Okoboji; and Minnehaha Falls, a partially frozen waterfall on the Mississippi River.

Minnehaha Falls is on Minnehaha Creek, about one mile from where the creek empties into the Mississippi.
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