Skip to main content

Freeway Signing in Greensboro: The Saga Continues

Today's Raleigh N&O's Road Worrier column is devoted to driver confusion caused by the re-signing along Greensboro freeways due to I-40 being put back on its old alignment:

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1660986.html

In the article an NCDOT traffic engineer, Kelvin Jordan, admits the I-40 East interchange with I-73 on the west side of town is confusing with those needing to stay on I-40 having to exit the main highway. However, since the interchange was designed when I-40 was to use the Loop, it's understandable. He also says that NCDOT is considering removing the Business 85 designation through Greensboro in the future as well. From the article:

"Getting through Greensboro will be easier now, Jordan said, with just one I-40 and no Business 40.

But DOT may never finish trying to untangle Greensboro's Urban Loop.

There are more plans to simplify markers at the three main approaches to the city. And there's still the confusion of two freeways called 85. DOT could decide one day to get rid of Business 85, too.

'I won't say that change won't come at some point," Jordan said. "That is something we will look at, but it won't be changed in the next year or two.'"

See the URL for the entire article.

Commentary
I was interviewed for the piece and suggested they should have given Business 85 perhaps a 3di number, in the first place since having two highways with the same number, is naturally confusing. I guess I wasn't confused enough as a driver to be quoted for the article, however.

Business 85 was conceived when I-85 and I-40 were to use the Loop, leaving the freeway east of Death Valley with no designation. With the I-40 re-routing this is no longer the case and only adds another route between the US 29 and I-40 interchanges which, even with the rerouting of US 421 is still also I-40, US 29, US 70 and US 220. South of the I-40 split the Business 85 route does have other designations, US 29/70, for the three miles or so back to I-85.

The questions I would ask are: if an NCDOT traffic engineer is mentioning removing Business 85 sometime in the future, why was this not thought of, or thought of and not done, at the same time they were (I guess they still are) re-signing the original I-40 route? Isn't the new NCDOT supposed to be more efficient and cost sensitive?

My solution would try to solve two problems with one new route number and possibly provide NCDOT with additional money in the process. The 2 biggest with how the highways are signed now are that people are supposedly confused due to the two 85 routes, and drivers are also confused about how to get to US 220 South (Future I-73) from I-85 North. You can't get there on the I-85 Loop but have to exit onto Business 85 travel a mile or so north and then take the US 220 South exit. I would remove the Business 85 designation completely through Greensboro, I would then replace it south of US 220 with a new 3di, I-273 (To I-73, too obvious?) which would travel with US 29/70 to the US 220 exit and then back south on US 220 to the Loop and I-73. NCDOT could then claim interstate maintenance money for the route like they did by putting I-40 on its original alignment. As to the argument that the route is not up to modern interstate standards, so are parts of I-40 through Death Valley, yet the FHWA let NCDOT move I-40 back anyway. The Business 85 part was also marked as I-85 for decades.

Trying to figure out why NCDOT does the things it does is sometimes frustrating, but it always makes life interesting for those interested in roads in North Carolina.

Comments

Anonymous said…
They should have signed it I-685 for the business 85 in Greensboro. Since it is a loop and it will make the road more qualifying for federal money.

The sign heading to Greensboro from I-85 should read "I-685 North, US 29 North, US 70 East (TO US 220 South/I-73 South)

BUT the one thing of all.. they should have signed I-73 along US 220 anyways (even if some stretch is not interstate standards)
Bob Malme said…
Looks like there's some progress on completing the signage work. I-73/US 421 in both directions was closed during the midday hours today for what was described as sign installation. This may mean the last I-40/I-73 sign on the SW portion of the Loop has been updated.

Also in looking at the traffic cameras on the I-85 portion, I believe that one of the former green signs that had both I-40 and I-85 on it, now just has a centered I-85. I guess they decided not to waste the signage already up there by replacing it with a stand alone I-85 shield on a signpost.
Bob Malme said…
The I-73 closings were lanes near Wendover Avenue. The I-85 sign was heading southbound on the portion north of the US 421 interchange.

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway (in the making since 1947)

On September 15, 2022, the Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway opened in the city of Modesto from California State Route 99 west to North Dakota Avenue.  Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway was built upon a corridor which was tentatively to designated to become the branching point for Interstate 5W in the 1947 concept of the Interstate Highway System.  The present California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor was adopted by the California Highway Commission on June 20, 1956.  Despite almost being rescinded during the 1970s the concept of the California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor lingered on for over half a century and became likely the oldest undeveloped right-of-way owned by California Transportation Commission.  Pictured above is the planned California State Route 132 freeway west of US Route 99 in Modesto as featured in the May/June 1962 California Highways & Public Works.   The history of the California State Route

Aptos Creek Road to the Loma Prieta ghost town site

Aptos Creek Road is a roadway in Santa Cruz County, California which connects the community of Aptos north to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks.  Aptos Creek Road north of Aptos is largely unpaved and is where the town site of Loma Prieta can be located.  Loma Prieta was a sawmill community which operated from 1883-1923 and reached a peak population of approximately three hundred.  Loma Prieta included a railroad which is now occupied by Aptos Creek Road along with a spur to Bridge Creek which now the Loma Prieta Grade Trail.  The site of the Loma Prieta Mill and company town burned in 1942.   Part 1; the history of Aptos Creek Road and the Loma Prieta town site Modern Aptos traces its origin to Mexican Rancho Aptos.  Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican Government in 1833 Rafael Castro.  Rancho Aptos took its name from Aptos Creek which coursed through from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey Bay.  Castro initially used Rancho Aptos to raise cattle for their hides.  Following