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Author Topic: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future  (Read 8739 times)

sparker

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US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« on: April 04, 2020, 12:56:29 AM »

Since a substantial portion of the arguments regarding the bi-state I-87 corridor concern the fact that US 58 does in fact provide a shorter route from Newport News points to both I-95 and I-85, ostensibly the destination or at least the next leg of commercial (and other) traffic movements in the south/west direction from that port area,  I deemed it appropriate to actually initiate a thread concerning US 58 itself.  Went back through Mid-Atlantic threads; the only one specifically citing that route concerned some sinkholes about 3 years ago.  Now -- whether the dueling VA posters elect to use this thread to outline the pros and cons of this corridor's status or potential remains to be seen (the argument might well remain in the I-87 thread in Southeast, where the majority of that corridor resides) -- but it does provide a place for Mr. Kozel and others to elucidate what they can glean about the position of VDOT and its political handlers regarding this corridor -- and possibly whether any significant official attention has been paid to possible upgrades. 

And if anyone wants to talk about historical aspects of the corridor as well, please, have at it!  But a number of us are a bit weary of the endless and often pointless back-and-forth about these regional issues (I once likened it to Monty Python's classic "Argument Clinic" sketch), so this additional topic is intended to be a place for an informed discourse about the US 58 corridor as a stand-alone concept.   I can only hope that this thread will proceed with a bit more decorum and discussion of actual facts and policies instead of a locale for more two-way sniping.

Posters -- the ball's in your court; try to keep it civil! 
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sprjus4

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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2020, 01:09:22 AM »

There had been a thread in the Fictional Highways section that discussed various US-58 concepts, including a conceptual alignment I had done of a US-58 freeway between Suffolk and I-85, though never finished the area near Emporia. Some other posters including froggie and Beltway also presented concepts for relocations / upgrades near Suffolk and Emporia.

If you’re interested to read through it - https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=20535.0

By all means, I’m glad to have a dedicated thread to the US-58 corridor that often mixes in with the I-87 thread, and hopefully clean up any future / potential mess in that thread.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2020, 07:34:39 PM »

US 58, to me, is a fun drive across southern Virginia. Unfortunately, there is always going to be a "dead spot" that's never improved, and that's the portion between Independence and Damascus. Even though the road is four lanes from Hillsville through Galax to Independence, the preferred through route is obviously I-77 to I-81. I also don't think anything will ever be done to improve the route from Bristol to Jonesville. Alternate US 58 is already four lanes most of the way from Abingdon to Jonesville, and the portion of US 58 between Duffield (where US 58 and 421 split from 23) and Jonesville is an improved two-lane with passing lanes on the biggest hills.

I've driven the whole route from Cumberland Gap to Virginia Beach, but never all at once. My most recent journey across it involved going from Hillsville to South Boston, so I could access US 360 to begin my clinch of it.

When the missing portions (roughly east of Hillsville to Meadows of Dan, and then the segment from the end of the Meadows of Dan bypass to Stuart) are done, it will be an even better route.

I've driven the portion from Damascus to the VA 16 intersection near Volney just once, and don't care to repeat the drive. I've done Gate City to Bristol a couple of times, but if I'm going to Bristol I will either take Alt. 58 from Norton to Abingdon and then south, or will stay on 23 (or use VA 224/TN 93) and dip into Tennessee and then take 11W north).

If I ever have need to go to the Hampton Roads area again, I'd much rather take US 58 or US 460 than I-64. Too much north (from home to hit 64)/south (WV Turnpike)/north again (I-81 concurrency) out-of-the-wayness involved.
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sprjus4

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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2020, 02:01:44 AM »

US 58 ‘Suicide Strip’ is replaced with a new divided highway | 1991
Quote

1991

After a brief roadside ceremony, a new four-lane divided highway with a grassy median opens on U.S. 58 replacing the dangerous “Suicide Strip,” a 22-mile undivided highway from Courtland to Emporia. The undivided highway averaged one accident every six days between 1970 and 1990 with 107 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries. The $42.9 million road widening project follows years of pressure from local residents. The stretch of roadway is a vital east-west trade route that carries an estimated 7,355 vehicles a day, many of them heavy trucks. Before the median was built, trucks and cars routinely collided head on.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2020, 03:52:44 AM »

US 58 ‘Suicide Strip’ is replaced with a new divided highway | 1991
Quote

1991

After a brief roadside ceremony, a new four-lane divided highway with a grassy median opens on U.S. 58 replacing the dangerous “Suicide Strip,” a 22-mile undivided highway from Courtland to Emporia. The undivided highway averaged one accident every six days between 1970 and 1990 with 107 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries. The $42.9 million road widening project follows years of pressure from local residents. The stretch of roadway is a vital east-west trade route that carries an estimated 7,355 vehicles a day, many of them heavy trucks. Before the median was built, trucks and cars routinely collided head on.

I have many memories of this stretch from when I was a kid. It was indeed very dangerous, my pops had a few close calls driving us through here. A lot of people used to pass others over the solid yellow lines (the no passing zones) and it made our travels pretty scary.

It's actually pretty funny to me how the stretch between Emporia and South Hill was 4 lanes before the stretch between Emporia and Courtland was.
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Beltway

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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2020, 07:20:14 AM »

I have many memories of this stretch from when I was a kid. It was indeed very dangerous, my pops had a few close calls driving us through here. A lot of people used to pass others over the solid yellow lines (the no passing zones) and it made our travels pretty scary.
It's actually pretty funny to me how the stretch between Emporia and South Hill was 4 lanes before the stretch between Emporia and Courtland was.
Because it was a high-quality 2-lane highway, with wide lanes, decent shoulders and not with much horizontal curvature, and as the article said "carries an estimated 7,355 vehicles a day," which was low enough that it was a pleasant enough drive and had no congestion issues to speak of.  The "many trucks" was not really the case, it was about 10%.  Clearly lower priority to widen than the other section that you named.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2020, 08:13:22 AM »

I have many memories of this stretch from when I was a kid. It was indeed very dangerous, my pops had a few close calls driving us through here. A lot of people used to pass others over the solid yellow lines (the no passing zones) and it made our travels pretty scary.
It's actually pretty funny to me how the stretch between Emporia and South Hill was 4 lanes before the stretch between Emporia and Courtland was.
Because it was a high-quality 2-lane highway, with wide lanes, decent shoulders and not with much horizontal curvature, and as the article said "carries an estimated 7,355 vehicles a day," which was low enough that it was a pleasant enough drive and had no congestion issues to speak of.  The "many trucks" was not really the case, it was about 10%.  Clearly lower priority to widen than the other section that you named.

Per the 1990 VDOT traffic log the stretch with 7355 vehicles was 22% trucks (19% if you don't include "single unit trucks").  Don't know what constitutes heavy truck traffic but for context, in 1990 I-81, which is widely considered truck-heavy, was 25-30% truck traffic.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2020, 08:17:31 AM »

Basically, it was not the "road itself" causing all the crashes and deaths but the inability of motorists properly driving.  There were many times in my youth when, living in the Hampton Roads area, we would use US 58 west to take weekend trips to the mountains or visiting friends in Burlington, NC.  Traffic was not heavy and, as Beltway has said, the truck traffic was very low.  We had no problems, mostly because my father paid attention while driving and, being that he grew up in the Syracuse area, he was used to driving on two-lane quality NY state highways as well as the county highways.

Some of the crashes occurred because motorists were pulling onto US 58 from the side roads and did not properly judge how far another vehicle was from them.  I remember reading about at least five such crashes in the Virginian-Pilot back in the late 1970's-1980's.

It was not a "heavily traveled" corridor back in the 1970's and early 1980's.  It, however, did start becoming more traveled starting in the late 1980's for some reason (Franklin bypass?), necessitating the upgrade.  Now, it is a lot safer to drive.

Not to get into the "US 58/I-95 vs I-87" discussion/debate/argument, and I may have posted this before, depending on how one motorist wants to drive from Raleigh to Hampton Roads (and vice versa), it doesn't matter which way is quicker.  A motorist is going to drive whichever way they want to--or however their GPS tells them  :D.

Each route has its own merit.  Those living in western Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk are more than likely going to use US 58/I-95 to get to Raleigh.  Those living in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and central and southern Chesapeake may want to use I-87, in the obvious far-off future, to get to Raleigh.  However, if there was an Interstate highway proposal to "cut both the corners", the above mentioned discussion would not last for 50+ pages over two or three threads.
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Beltway

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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2020, 09:53:03 AM »

Because it was a high-quality 2-lane highway, with wide lanes, decent shoulders and not with much horizontal curvature, and as the article said "carries an estimated 7,355 vehicles a day," which was low enough that it was a pleasant enough drive and had no congestion issues to speak of.  The "many trucks" was not really the case, it was about 10%.  Clearly lower priority to widen than the other section that you named.
Per the 1990 VDOT traffic log the stretch with 7355 vehicles was 22% trucks (19% if you don't include "single unit trucks").  Don't know what constitutes heavy truck traffic but for context, in 1990 I-81, which is widely considered truck-heavy, was 25-30% truck traffic.
1,618 truck AADT as opposed to about 10,000 truck AADT.

I could have looked that % before posting it, but today and back in the 1980s that section of US-58 had low enough truck volume that it didn't look 'truck busy' and nothing like the effect of I-81.

The highway actually flowed well enough and fast enough that it worked well with 2 lanes, other than the high head-on collision rate.
 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 10:21:26 AM by Beltway »
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2020, 10:02:08 AM »

It was not a "heavily traveled" corridor back in the 1970's and early 1980's.  It, however, did start becoming more traveled starting in the late 1980's for some reason (Franklin bypass?), necessitating the upgrade.  Now, it is a lot safer to drive.
The first focus was on building the bypasses.  They were Suffolk completed in 1974, and Franklin, Courtland and Emporia completed as 2 lanes on 4-lane limited access R/W in the 1982 to 1986 range (I would need to look for some notes to get exact years).  Each city had its own congestion or delay problems, minor compared to a large metro but annoying nonetheless.

Not to get into the "US 58/I-95 vs I-87" discussion/debate/argument, and I may have posted this
The original poster created this thread specifically to separate the two, and Sprjus4 has complained repeatedly about the two being comingled.
 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 10:05:30 AM by Beltway »
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2020, 02:46:33 PM »

Any plans to upgrade U.S. 58 east of Hillsville (here) and east of Meadows of Dan (here)?  Especially the descent from Meadows of Dan would seem to qualify for the Not Cheap award, given that the terrain there is quite rough.
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sprjus4

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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2020, 04:07:50 PM »

Any plans to upgrade U.S. 58 east of Hillsville (here) and east of Meadows of Dan (here)?  Especially the descent from Meadows of Dan would seem to qualify for the Not Cheap award, given that the terrain there is quite rough.
IIRC, VDOT plans on completing those segments to 4 lane divided highway over the next decade, likely on new location in areas.

Those are the last segments needed to complete a four lane divided highway between Norfolk and I-77, serving the towns and cities along the route and acting as a supplementary / alternative route to the current I-81 and I-64 preferred routing for long distance traffic, particularly trucks which are currently prohibited west of Stuart.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2020, 06:15:48 PM »

IIRC, VDOT plans on completing those segments to 4 lane divided highway over the next decade, likely on new location in areas.
Target completion FY 2025 per the SYIP

PC   Description   Route   District   Road System   Estimate   Previous   FY20   FY21-25   Balance
(Values in Thousands of Dollars)
7534   RTE 58 - CORRIDOR DEVELOPMENT PROG - 4 LANES (CROOKED OAK)   0058   Salem   Primary   $168,500   $12,321   $8,696   $147,483   $0
17536   RTE 58 - CORRIDOR DEVELPMENT PROG - 4 LANES (LOVERS LEAP)   0058   Salem   Primary   $258,300   $17,500   $102,712   $138,088   $0
17537   RTE 58 - CORRIDOR DEVELOPMENT PROG - 4 LANES (VESTA)   0058   Salem   Primary   $98,300   $11,511   $31,919   $54,870   $0

Totals in Red.  $525,100,000 total.

Search on Route 58 and scroll thru -- http://syip.virginiadot.org/Pages/allProjects.aspx
 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 06:21:04 PM by Beltway »
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sprjus4

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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2020, 06:27:16 PM »

Totals in Red.  $525,100,000 total.
Fair estimate, about $27 million per mile. An expensive project nonetheless, though is funded under the US-58 Corridor Development Program through bonds.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2020, 06:31:59 PM »

Totals in Red.  $525,100,000 total.
Fair estimate, about $27 million per mile. An expensive project nonetheless, though is funded under the US-58 Corridor Development Program through bonds.
Be nice to get it completed to 4 lanes all the way between I-77 and I-64/I-664.

That will leave only the bypasses at Big Stone Gap, Jonesville and Pennington Gap.

The last one is in R/W acquisition --
http://syip.virginiadot.org/Pages/lineitemDetails.aspx?syp_scenario_id=247&line_item_id=27079
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2020, 07:15:52 PM »

Totals in Red.  $525,100,000 total.
Fair estimate, about $27 million per mile. An expensive project nonetheless, though is funded under the US-58 Corridor Development Program through bonds.

Thanks.  Price seems quite reasonable. 

And of course, in that part of Virginia, probably not so much NIMBY opposition either.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2020, 07:20:24 PM »

Be nice to get it completed to 4 lanes all the way between I-77 and I-64/I-664.
Agreed, and will better serve towns and cities along the route connecting to either end, especially for trucks. IIRC, trucks from Martinsville to I-77 or I-81 have to either take US-220 to I-81 at Roanoke, or dip into North Carolina along US-220 and the US-52 freeway, routes that add significant mileage and time, due to truck restrictions on that segment of US-58.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2020, 08:24:08 PM »

Be nice to get it completed to 4 lanes all the way between I-77 and I-64/I-664.
Agreed, and will better serve towns and cities along the route connecting to either end, especially for trucks. IIRC, trucks from Martinsville to I-77 or I-81 have to either take US-220 to I-81 at Roanoke, or dip into North Carolina along US-220 and the US-52 freeway, routes that add significant mileage and time, due to truck restrictions on that segment of US-58.
I don't think it will ever be 4-laned between Damascus and Indepedence given the terrain and low traffic.  So I-77 and I-81 would provide a route for traffic to bypass that.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2020, 10:22:24 PM »

I have many memories of this stretch from when I was a kid. It was indeed very dangerous, my pops had a few close calls driving us through here. A lot of people used to pass others over the solid yellow lines (the no passing zones) and it made our travels pretty scary.
It's actually pretty funny to me how the stretch between Emporia and South Hill was 4 lanes before the stretch between Emporia and Courtland was.
Because it was a high-quality 2-lane highway, with wide lanes, decent shoulders and not with much horizontal curvature, and as the article said "carries an estimated 7,355 vehicles a day," which was low enough that it was a pleasant enough drive and had no congestion issues to speak of.  The "many trucks" was not really the case, it was about 10%.  Clearly lower priority to widen than the other section that you named.

I think you were quoting the wrong dude when posting this, as I never said anything about the truck traffic nor did I say anything about the overall AADT. I was simply stating what I remember from this stretch from when it was still 2 lanes.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2020, 11:57:05 PM »

I don't think it will ever be 4-laned between Damascus and Indepedence given the terrain and low traffic.  So I-77 and I-81 would provide a route for traffic to bypass that.
Correct, that is what I was referring to. Trucks are currently prohibited west of Stuart, so those looking to get to I-81 South have to go north on US-220 at Martinsville to Roanoke, as opposed to US-58 to I-77 North to I-81 South.

I don't foresee the section between I-77 and I-81 being apart of any long distance 4 lane corridor. As you mention, I-77 and I-81 provide that movement.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2020, 11:58:31 PM »

but today ... that section of US-58 had low enough truck volume that it didn't look 'truck busy' and nothing like the effect of I-81.
Agreed for most of the corridor, but the US-58 Suffolk Bypass can get hairy sometimes with the truck traffic.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2020, 12:13:25 AM »

but today ... that section of US-58 had low enough truck volume that it didn't look 'truck busy' and nothing like the effect of I-81.
Agreed for most of the corridor, but the US-58 Suffolk Bypass can get hairy sometimes with the truck traffic.
I was referring to the section with 2 lanes that had the high head-on fatal rate, between Emporia and Courtland.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2020, 12:15:21 AM »

Trucks are currently prohibited west of Stuart, so those looking to get to I-81 South have to go north on US-220 at Martinsville to Roanoke, as opposed to US-58 to I-77 North to I-81 South.

US-58 should be open to large trucks all the way west to I-77 after it is rebuilt to 4 lane divided.
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2020, 12:16:21 AM »

Trucks are currently prohibited west of Stuart, so those looking to get to I-81 South have to go north on US-220 at Martinsville to Roanoke, as opposed to US-58 to I-77 North to I-81 South.

US-58 should be open to large trucks all the way west to I-77 after it is rebuilt to 4 lane divided.
It most likely will be - the concern I believe were the mountainous stretches.

Edit - Looking at VDOT's Truck Routes map, the segment between Meadows of Dan and Stuart is "Restricted Route - No Tractor Truck Semi-Trailer combinations over 65' total length". The rest of US-58 west of Meadows of Dan is not restricted, though two-lane, albeit straighter. No viable way to bypass that restricted segment though, the other routes are also restricted nearby. The only viable way for a trucker would be US-220 to I-81.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 12:19:34 AM by sprjus4 »
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Re: US 58 -- Past, Present, and Future
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2020, 12:20:21 AM »

Edit - Looking at VDOT's Truck Routes map, the segment between Meadows of Dan and Stuart is "Restricted Route - No Tractor Truck Semi-Trailer combinations over 65' total length". The rest of US-58 west of Meadows of Dan is not restricted, though two-lane, albeit straighter.

Lovers Leap area, between Meadows of Dan and Stuart.  Steep grades, some sharp curves.
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