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Author Topic: Dubuque meet trip  (Read 1286 times)


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Dubuque meet trip
« on: May 07, 2013, 10:13:08 AM »

Got home Monday afternoon from my trip to Dubuque for the meet hosted by Scott Onson. It was a good trip that was plagued by rain.

Headed out Thursday afternoon, taking I-64 and I-255/IL 255 to Alton, which was my destination for the night. Noted the progression of construction on I-64 widening east of Louisville. The current project extends to the KY 55 Shelbyville exit (Exit 32) and seems to be coming along at a pretty good pace. There is also work going on at the KY 1848 (Simpsonville) exit.

Ran into a nasty slowdown on I-64 inside the Watterson Expressway. The slowdown started near the Cannons Lane exit and progressed through the tunnel to a point between the Grinstead Drive and US 42/60 exit, where traffic opened back up. There was no sign of a wreck or roadwork or anything that would have caused the slowdown. There was also a corresponding slowdown in the eastbound lanes. Sailed through Spaghetti Junction and across southern Indiana. One exit still has button copy signage; it must have gotten omitted when Indiana replaced the guide signs along I-64 a few years back.

No major problems in the construction zone along the I-57/I-64 co-signed route. I can't tell if that's a widening project, a pavement rehab, or both. Stopped for gas at Mt. Vernon and the rain began shortly after I split from I-57 toward St. Louis.

No issues through the I-255 construction zone, but the three lanes were reduced to one lane with no obvious signs of what work was being done through much of the lane closure. I'd imagine this gets pretty messy during heavy traffic. The work zone was signed for 55 mph with "Photo Enforced" signage, so I drove 55 mph and was getting pushed by a truck behind me. Sorry, bud, but I had no interest in getting a mail-order ticket. After getting my hotel room, I drove down US 67 into Missouri and turned around so I could get new mileage on that route and not have a short segment hanging over my head if I ever come close to clinching it.

Had to alter my travel plans for Friday due to the massive river flooding along the Illinois River. I had planned to use IL 100 north on the west side of the river to connect to US 54/IL 107, but high water made that impossible. I did venture over to visit Calhoun County, but had to turn around at Hardin and go back to US 67, which I took north to I-72. I experienced no other high water road closures and was able to follow my planned route to visit the counties I had left to clinch Illinois. I eventually made my way to US 136, which I followed from Havana to Keokuk. Noticed that the IL 110 CKC route joins US 136 in downtown Macomb; there was construction west of town but I could not tell if the four-lane is being extended for a northwest bypass to connect to US 67 north of town. As it is now, I don't know why through traffic between Chicago and Kansas City would want to navigate downtown Macomb when other perfectly good options (I-70 and I-55, or I-35 and I-80) already exist.

Took US 61 north from Keokuk, crossing back into Illinois on US 34 to visit Henderson County and thus clinch Illinois.

Had a surprise when I got to the Quad Cities on US 61; that being that US 61 has been routed along I-280 and I-80, and the route through town is now Business US 61. This made it much easier for me to clinch US 61 in Iowa since I wasn't bogged down taking surface streets through Davenport. I looped back to pick up US 67 in Illinois so I could clinch that route in Iowa. A resurfacing project in Bettendorf slowed traffic down.

I had originally thought about spending Friday night in the Quad Cities and driving on to Dubuque Saturday morning, but with the rainy weather I opted to press onward to Dubuque for the night so I could sleep in the next morning. Clinched US 67 in Iowa and then took US 52 on to Dubuque. US 52's alignment is not bad and it's a scenic route, but the pavement quality was terrible. Construction on US 52/61/151 south of Dubuque caused no serious problems.

After Saturday's meet, I re-drove part of the meet tour (IL/WI 35 and Badger Road) to photograph some old relic signs, then headed west on US 20. That's an interesting route and was fun to drive. IL 84 south of US 20 was in horrible shape. The pavement was terrible. When I reached US 52, I crossed the bridge and drove back over to the US 67 intersection, then re-crossed and headed east to Joliet, where I overnighted.

US 52 seems to be just placed on a bunch of various roads in Illinois and, to me, does not serve a through route purpose. It could probably be killed off at US 41 in Indiana and resurrected north of Dubuque with a different number (possibly an extension of US 67).

Happy to find that US 52 southeast of US 41 was a four-lane route, it made speeding across western Indiana to clinch the route a breeze, except for a slowdown in the Lafayette area (where the pavement was in terrible shape). Once I got to I-65, that got me a clinch of US 52 in both Illinois and Indiana.

There's construction on I-65 in that area, which appears to be a widening. The old state-named Interstate sign on the overhead approaching I-865 has been replaced.

It started raining just as I approached Indianapolis so I worked around the northern portion of the beltway (noticing some button copy still in existence) and headed down I-74 to Cincinnati. I had time to kill so I made plans to drive what I needed to clinch US 50 in Ohio. I exited I-74 at IN 1 and headed down to hit US 50, and was greeted with an "Ohio 50" sign immediately upon entering the Buckeye State. Lots of construction just west of I-75, and I photographed a cutout US 50 sign still standing in the Cincy suburb of Mariemont.

Drove east on US 50 to Chillicothe, then took US 23 south and OH 32 west back to the Cincinnati area and overnighted on the Kentucky side of the river.

Cheapest gas found was $3.35 at Lexington; most expensive was $4.14 in Joliet.

Accomplishments for the trip:

*Clinched Illinois counties
*Two new Iowa counties
*Clinched US 61 in Iowa
*Clinched US 67 in Iowa
*Clinched US 52 in Illinois and Indiana
*Clinched US 50 in Ohio


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Re: Dubuque meet trip
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 12:12:11 PM »

Sounds like a good trip.

US-52 really doesn't serve much purpose as a through route in Illinois.  It's a jumble of smaller connecting routes, many of which were formerly state routes.

The photo enforcement signs in Illinois seem to be mostly a bluff.  The following in required before they can use the vans and send out the tickets.

1. There must be construction workers present in the zone.
2. There must be a clear photo of the face of the drive as well as the license plate.

They use big white vans for it, and the last one I saw was on I-57 in Champaign in 2008.  The signs have only appeared on some IDOT freeways, but not anymore on the tollways.  I guess ISTHA has given up on the idea of photo enforcement.  It may cost too much for the few fines collected.

And yeah, IL-84 south of US-20 sucks for pavement quality.  I took it back in 2004 and it sucked back then.  It must be much worse now.

As for my road trip, I just went out for the day.

Left about 7 am (CT) and went north on I-55 to I-355, then took I-290 to I-90.  I took I-90 west through the construction zone (no photo enforcement signage) to Rockford and made a stop at the Belvidere Oasis.  No tollway maps at the oasis unfortunately.  ISTHA is busy widening I-90 to six lanes from Elgin to Rockford.  They maintain two lanes in each direction except for westbound for about a mile before the Kishwaukee River and at the bridge itself.  Followed I-39/90 north to Wis-81 with a stop at the welcome center for a Wisconsin map.

I then took Wis-81 through Beloit (that was a slog) to Wis-11.  Then I went along Wis-11 around Monroe to US-61/151 north of Dubuque.  I got two new Wisconsin counties, Lafayette and Green.  Then I took US-61/151 into Dubuque.

After the meet, I took US-61 south toward Davenport.  Gained a new Iowa county, Clinton, and then followed BL US-61 into Davenport.  I then took the Government Bridge across the Mississippi River.  That completes the bridges I have crossed in the Quad Cities.  I still need the two in Clinton, IA, and the one in Keokuk between Dubuque and Hannibal.

I then made my way through Rock Island and Moline to I-74.  From there, I-74 to I-280 to I-80 and home with a gas stop in Morris where it was $3.799/gallon for 87 octane.
"If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention." - Ramsay Bolton

Illinois: America's own banana republic.


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