Skip to main content

Who you callin' useless?

What do all these roads have in common?
  • US 264 in Wake County
  • US 258 in Onslow County
  • US 117 in Wilson County
  • US 311 in Rockingham County
  • NC 39 in Johnston County
They all have what roadgeeks call "useless multiplexes" -- a road that ends at a random point while sharing pavement with another road, and North Carolina seems to have more useless multiplexes than most states. For example, 264 east of Raleigh is routed along the US 64 freeway between Zebulon and the Beltline, but at the Beltline 264 ends while 64 continues. Why couldn't 264 just end at 64 in Zebulon where the two roads merge? (And to make it even more ridiculous, that's exactly what it did until about 1995!)

I think I finally figured out why these useless multiplexes exist, and they most certainly aren't useless. Look at a map and you'll notice that all of these roads go somewhere -- or, more to the point, they connect two places. And it makes it a hell of a lot easier to give directions when you only have to follow one road.

For example, do you need to head from Raleigh to Wilson or Greenville? Take US 264. Coming south on I-95 and need to get to Goldsboro? US 117's your ticket. US 258 connects Jacksonville and Kinston, and US 311 does the same between Winston-Salem and Eden (or it would if the signage would catch up with the map). Traffic that's going between those cities probably doesn't care that the road they're following is also US 64, 264, NC 24 or NC 135, much the same that traffic on I-85 from Charlotte to Durham doesn't care that I-40's also on the road for 40 miles or so.

It doesn't apply to absolutely everything. The formerly- (and still largely-) useless multiplex of NC 24 and 27 connects so many different places to Charlotte that it's pretty pointless; the only people that would use one road but not the other would be NC 24 traffic from Fayetteville to Charlotte, all 141 miles of it. Likewise, I'm not sure too much traffic heads from Eden to...well, wherever NC 700 ends, and NC 902 in Chatham County literally connects Pittsboro to nowhere. But overall, those useless multiplexes might not be so useless the next time you have to give directions to someone who does best only following one road.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

History of the Big Oak Flat Road (Yosemite National Park)

This week I hiked much of what was the original alignment of the Big Oak Flat Road which is located to the north of the modern roadway.  Unlike the original alignment of the Wawona Road the Old Big Oak Flat Road is surprisingly intact.


The complete history of the Big Oak Flat Road including the original alignment can be found on a 2002 report from the U.S. Department of Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road.

U.S. Department of the Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road

The Big Oak Flat Road began construction east from the mining community of Big Oak Flat in towards Yosemite Valley in 1869.  The Big Oak Flat Road was constructed by the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company which had secured the franchise rights for a toll road to the Yosemite Grant (the designation prior to Yosemite National Park).  By the summer of 1871 the Big Oak Flat Road reached the northern cliffs above Yosemite Valley which is when the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company ran out of funding.  After the…

The Tioga Pass Road

Last Summer the Tioga Pass Road over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park opened late due to the heavy snow pack from the previous winter.  Approaching the start of July the Park Service finally had cleared the road to Tioga Pass.  That being the case I headed up shortly after the 4th of July holiday during a lull in the tourist season.


The Tioga Pass Road runs from the Big Oak Flat Road at Crane Flat east to US Route 395 ("US 395").  The Tioga Pass Road is largely within the boundary of Yosemite National Park but is maintained by Caltrans as California State Route 120 ("CA 120") east of the Tioga Pass entry station to US 395.  The National Park Service maintained portion of the Tioga Pass Road serve as a implied connection between the two segments of CA 120.  The Tioga Pass Road is the highway mountain pass in California reaching Tioga Pass at 9,945 feet above sea level.



Part 1; the history of the Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass first obtained notewort…

Horseshoe Meadows Road; former California State Route 190 and the legacy of the Lone Pine-Porterville HIgh Sierra Road

This summer I had an opportunity to drive one of the lesser known great roads of California; Horseshoe Meadows Road from Whitney Portal Road westward into Horseshoe Meadows of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Aside from being massive climb into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains the path of Horseshoe Meadows Road was once part of California State Route 190 and was intended to be part of a Trans-Sierra Highway known as the Lone Pine-Porterville High Sierra Road.


Horseshoe Meadows Road is located west of Lone Pine of Inyo County and is 19.7 miles in length.  Horseshoe Meadows Road begins at an approximate elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level at Whitney Portal Road in the Alabama Hills and ends at an elevation of 10,072 feet above sea level in Horseshoe Meadows.  Horseshoe Meadows Road is the second highest paved road in California only behind Rock Creek Road near Tom's Place.  Pjammcycling rates Horseshoe Meadows Road with an average gradient of 6.2% and lists it as th…