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Author Topic: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport  (Read 2392 times)

hbelkins

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US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« on: January 10, 2018, 11:57:19 AM »

I'm looking at routes to get to the Shreveport meet and the most obvious one is to drive a huge chunk of US 79. I could clinch it in every state but Texas on the way down.

So, I have a few questions.

How well is the route signed in Memphis? I know TDOT is awful about signage in cities, and I also know Memphis has been a hodgepodge of signage given my past attempts to follow US 51, 61, 72 and 78 there. Will US 79 send me through any parts of the city where I should keep the doors locked and electronics out of sight?

I'm thinking that I should be able to drive from Clarksville to Pine Bluff in a day. It seems to me that Pine Bluff would be a logical place to spend the night, as it should be a big enough of a city to have several lodging options. Are there any other towns along the route, on either side of Pine Bluff, that would make good overnight stops should my schedule change?

Are there going to be any places where a business/bypass split will impact the route? I know Arkansas tends to sign the business routes with an "XXb" designation and the through route runs along the bypass. Google Maps shows a "Bypass 79" at Homer, La., which indicates that US 79 runs through downtown.

Any other words of advice about this route?
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 02:25:28 PM »

- The left turn onto S 2nd St downtown is only signed as US 64, but otherwise the turns through Memphis are signed going westbound.

- I think you're overhyping the potential "bad part of town" situation.

- I know you don't like actually using the TravelMapping website for mapping your travels, but it still comes in handy for looking up routes that exist and their routings.
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2018, 03:24:46 PM »

- I think you're overhyping the potential "bad part of town" situation.

I agree.  For the most part, as long as you’re traveling through the area during the day, you should have nothing to worry about.  I do a lot of driving through urban areas late at night for work, and I know I would feel safer in the same areas during the day,  but I mind my own business and get through just fine every time.

That being said, Memphis is still a lot more dangerous than Charlotte or Columbia, and is often mentioned alongside Detroit and New Orleans in terms of violent crime.  So just be aware and mind your own business, and plan fuel/food stops away from this area, and you should be fine.

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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 05:00:33 PM »

Crime Bluff: remember to lock your doors and keep belongings out of sight! If this is the option you consider, that is.


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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 08:10:56 PM »

79 "disappears" once you cross into Arkansas, until you get to the 70/79 Split. Follow US 70.

Clarendon: the old White River truss bridge is probably gone now. Lots of tiny towns along 79 in Arkansas. Watch your speed.

Pine Bluff lodging: decent stuff is around I-530. There's a Holiday Inn at 79 South and 530. Also several hotels on the east side along 79/63/65B. Anything else along old 65 is probably dicey. There used to be a nice, but small Econo Lodge, but last report is it's gone to Hell.

Next town south with hotels would be Fordyce  (approx 45 minutes) and most along the "bypass".  I seem to recall Camden was a little tricky to get on 79 south from 167.

Minden, LA  79 goes through downtown and picks up US 80. There is a TRUCK 79 and TRUCK 80, but my experience has been they are not good as bypasses.

After Minden, you should have no problems.
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hbelkins

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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2018, 08:34:34 PM »

79 "disappears" once you cross into Arkansas, until you get to the 70/79 Split. Follow US 70.

I will, of course, be crossing on I-55. I've done I-40 and I-55 so I have that portion clinched, so I take it I need to use US 70 through West Memphis. (Google shows US 79 routed on the interstate). I can always double back on AR 218 to I-40 just to be doubly sure.
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2018, 08:44:43 PM »

79 "disappears" once you cross into Arkansas, until you get to the 70/79 Split. Follow US 70.

I will, of course, be crossing on I-55. I've done I-40 and I-55 so I have that portion clinched, so I take it I need to use US 70 through West Memphis. (Google shows US 79 routed on the interstate). I can always double back on AR 218 to I-40 just to be doubly sure.

ARDOT has US 79 signed as jumping onto I-40, but it's not otherwise signed past the exit, so it's anyone's guess.  IMO, it follows 70.
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 08:58:20 PM »

If you're worried about crime, don't stay in Pine Bluff. Pine Bluff is one of the sketchiest parts of Arkansas (if not THE sketchiest) and crime is high. It is notorious for being a rough town. Stay in Stuttgart or Fordyce.

As far as business highways go, there aren't any business-bypass splits in Arkansas. The bypass will be signed mainline US 79 and the old business route will be signed as US 79B.

You could take contemporary US 79 down and come back via the old route. South to north, the old route follows US 79B in Magnolia, Camden, Fordyce, Pine Bluff, Altheimer, Stuttgart (US 79B ends at a Main Street and straight ahead is AR 130, which ends at the same non-highway junction. Old 79 goes north on Main) and Clarendon. The business loop from Pine Bluff to Altheimer is actually one long road that crosses US 63/79 north of Altheimer. The original US 79 followed AR 50 and AR 147 between Chatfield to Lehi. There are some old alignments along the way, one that leads to the site of a long-gone covered bridge in Camden and a stretch near Kingsland that is on the National Register of Historic Places. If you want some more information about the old alignments, I can look them up for you. I'd definitely check out the Kingsland segment, it's not very long. You could backtrack back to modern 79 so you don't miss any of it.

I don't know if anybody knows for sure whether US 79 follows I-40 east of Shearerville. Older maps show it following US 70 but newer maps are ambiguous. Signage at US 70 doesn't mention US 79 but just to the north at I-40, there is a sign directing US 79 traffic onto I-40. Here is a picture courtesy of Street View:

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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 09:00:28 PM »

You can't always trust Arkansas's signing or their maps. US 64 is signed heading east from I-55 and ending at AR 77. AHTD - er ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHDOT shows the same thing. I doubt if anybody in Little Rock even has a clue to where US 79 runs. To AHTD/ARDOT it doesn't exist north of Shearerville.
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 09:24:03 PM »

Looking at Google Maps, US 79 has a beginning terminus at I-40 and heads south into LA from Emerson at the Arkansas state line.


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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 09:30:53 PM »

Looking at Google Maps, US 79 has a beginning terminus at I-40 and heads south into LA from Emerson at the Arkansas state line.


It's supposed to follow US 70 into Tennessee, but ARDOT won't post it (sort of like US 62 between Fayetteville and Rogers)
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 09:33:57 PM »

Looking at Google Maps, US 79 has a beginning terminus at I-40 and heads south into LA from Emerson at the Arkansas state line.


It's supposed to follow US 70 into Tennessee, but ARDOT won't post it (sort of like US 62 between Fayetteville and Rogers)
So, what’s with it heading south and not east? Besides the DOT not wanting to sign it?


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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2018, 09:43:46 PM »

Looking at Google Maps, US 79 has a beginning terminus at I-40 and heads south into LA from Emerson at the Arkansas state line.


It's supposed to follow US 70 into Tennessee, but ARDOT won't post it (sort of like US 62 between Fayetteville and Rogers)
So, what’s with it heading south and not east? Besides the DOT not wanting to sign it?


I'm not sure I understand.
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2018, 09:50:15 PM »

Looking at Google Maps, US 79 has a beginning terminus at I-40 and heads south into LA from Emerson at the Arkansas state line.


It's supposed to follow US 70 into Tennessee, but ARDOT won't post it (sort of like US 62 between Fayetteville and Rogers)
So, what’s with it heading south and not east? Besides the DOT not wanting to sign it?


I'm not sure I understand.
As you state in the above quote, US 79 should (or does, rather) head east why would it also head south without a 3 digit designation? It should be a spur, no?


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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2018, 10:10:19 PM »

It's been a while since I've been that way, but if I remember right US 79 follows I-55 from the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge to the merge with I-40, then follows I-40 west until 79 turns south to go to Hughes.  US 70 branches off of I-55 just west of the bridge and goes through the heart of West Memphis, then follows its old route just south of I-40.

Going through Memphis US 79 comes in from the northeast with US 70, then merges with US 64 near Bartlett.  They all run together on Summer Avenue to East Parkway, then they head south on East Parkway (crossing the planned but abandoned I-40 routing by Overton Park) to Union Avenue.  64-70-79 then run west on Union to downtown Memphis, where they turn south on Second Street.  South of downtown the highways switch over to South Third Street after the one-way sections end, then run on South Third to E.H. Crump Boulevard; they then head west on Crump to I-55 and the bridge.
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US71

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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2018, 10:30:25 PM »

Looking at Google Maps, US 79 has a beginning terminus at I-40 and heads south into LA from Emerson at the Arkansas state line.


It's supposed to follow US 70 into Tennessee, but ARDOT won't post it (sort of like US 62 between Fayetteville and Rogers)
So, what’s with it heading south and not east? Besides the DOT not wanting to sign it?


I'm not sure I understand.
As you state in the above quote, US 79 should (or does, rather) head east why would it also head south without a 3 digit designation? It should be a spur, no?



79 runs E-W along I-40 & I-55 (or US 70 depending who you ask) between Jennette and Memphis, though it would be posted as North-South IF it were posted.

At Jennette, 79 turns south towards Louisiana (though more southwest).
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2018, 11:46:41 PM »

Here is an older topo map showing US 79 following US 70 through West Memphis. Of course, AHTD/ADOT maps only show one number for each highway so they're worthless.

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hbelkins

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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2018, 11:11:13 AM »

I'll take US 70 after crossing the river just to be safe, since I've already been on those portions of I-55 and I-40 over which US 79 would otherwise run if not routed unseen along US 70.

If you're worried about crime, don't stay in Pine Bluff. Pine Bluff is one of the sketchiest parts of Arkansas (if not THE sketchiest) and crime is high. It is notorious for being a rough town. Stay in Stuttgart or Fordyce.

You're the second person who's posted a dire warning about Pine Bluff. What makes it sketchy and dangerous?
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2018, 11:20:51 AM »

I'll take US 70 after crossing the river just to be safe, since I've already been on those portions of I-55 and I-40 over which US 79 would otherwise run if not routed unseen along US 70.

If you're worried about crime, don't stay in Pine Bluff. Pine Bluff is one of the sketchiest parts of Arkansas (if not THE sketchiest) and crime is high. It is notorious for being a rough town. Stay in Stuttgart or Fordyce.

You're the second person who's posted a dire warning about Pine Bluff. What makes it sketchy and dangerous?
My family and I went to a ball game for my brother and by the time we left someone had been shot and we later found out someone's bag had been stolen.
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US71

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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2018, 11:42:12 AM »

I'll take US 70 after crossing the river just to be safe, since I've already been on those portions of I-55 and I-40 over which US 79 would otherwise run if not routed unseen along US 70.

If you're worried about crime, don't stay in Pine Bluff. Pine Bluff is one of the sketchiest parts of Arkansas (if not THE sketchiest) and crime is high. It is notorious for being a rough town. Stay in Stuttgart or Fordyce.

You're the second person who's posted a dire warning about Pine Bluff. What makes it sketchy and dangerous?

https://www.amren.com/news/2013/02/why-is-pine-bluff-americas-most-crime-ridden-town-the-small-community-thats-second-only-to-detroit-for-law-breaking/

Based on my experience (your mileage may vary) in the vicinity of I-530, it's not bad. It's mostly downtown and after dark. I've been through PB a number of times and had no problem, but I make sure I'm at my motel or out of town by dark.   My 2 pfennigs.
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2018, 07:14:33 PM »

Concerning Homer & the US 79 bypass:

Just stay on US 79 through Homer. There are a few lights, but you will see the antebellum courthouse in the courthouse square (which if you were going northbound, you would have to drive around the courthouse. South bound you just drive straight). Then you will pass by my railroad's office.

Then, just before you get to the junction of LA 9 SOUTH/US 79 BYPASS NORTH, you will see probably the only 4 bannered sign in the state at the junction of the bypass south of Homer (JCT/NORTH/TRUCK/BYPASS/US 79). Also at that junction, there is an active construction zone where they are building a roundabout there. The 4-way stop there can be a challenge but it is not bad.

Concerning Pine Bluff, AR.

When you get to Altheimer, AR US 79/US 63 turns left on the "new" road (built in 1996-1998) and "original" US 79 continues straight on what is now US 79B. On the "new" road you will cross the Arkansas River on a bridge built on top of a lock & dam. At the end, you will turn left and head toward the south terminus of I-530. Get on 530 and you will be on I-530 NORTH/US 65 NORTH/US 79 SOUTH/US 63 SOUTH.

IIRC, US 79 exits at exit 40. The BGSs for the exit list 3 control points...Rison, Fordyce, & Camden.

Places to eat in Pine Bluff are scarce...unless you like a KFC AYCE buffet or McDs.

Concerning US 79 @ Fordyce:

It is so easy to stay on 79 in Fordyce. When US 167 north joins US 79, just stay in the right lane (the road becomes a 4-lane divided road where 167 comes in). Beware of speed limit fluctuations going through Fordyce. When US 167 splits from 79, it will be a left-lane-must-exit situation for a left hand exit...with overhead signs pointing the way to US 167/El Dorado & US 79/Camden.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 08:05:36 PM by cjk374 »
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2018, 07:59:18 PM »

This thread reminds me that I've covered a lot of US 79 already (including all of it in Texas), and I could finish off the rest heading to or from Shreveport.

This map shows the gaps in my US 79 coverage. Basically, a little around Russellville KY and Clarksville TN; a longer stretch NE of Memphis (but I think I have the downtown segment covered); big chunks in Arkansas between Memphis and Fordyce; and a stretch in the Shreveport LA area, where I ran out of daylight before I could finish off US 79 in Louisiana.
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US71

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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2018, 08:15:35 PM »

This thread reminds me that I've covered a lot of US 79 already (including all of it in Texas), and I could finish off the rest heading to or from Shreveport.

This map shows the gaps in my US 79 coverage. Basically, a little around Russellville KY and Clarksville TN; a longer stretch NE of Memphis (but I think I have the downtown segment covered); big chunks in Arkansas between Memphis and Fordyce; and a stretch in the Shreveport LA area, where I ran out of daylight before I could finish off US 79 in Louisiana.

A couple years ago I drove 79 from Minden to Pine Bluff, then up to US 70. I've also driven Jacksonville, TX to Shreveport. Eventually, I hope to finish the Texas routing, maybe the rest of Tennessee, too
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2018, 09:18:32 AM »

I don't recall US 79 being posted very well in downtown Memphis.  I recall it is posted well in Bartlett and Mid Town.
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Re: US 79, Clarksville to Shreveport
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2018, 09:28:38 AM »

I don't recall US 79 being posted very well in downtown Memphis.  I recall it is posted well in Bartlett and Mid Town.

79/70 run together west of Brownsville. My recollection is 70 is posted well, 79 is hit and miss
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