Wednesday, June 07, 2017

I Told You So!

I hate to say "I told you so", but I told you so. While AHTD has opened the new US 70 Broadway Bridge, a lot of finishing work is still going on. The most recent was reopening the ramp from US 70 to AR 10 where AHTD tweeted their triumph along with a photo of the ramp:

But wait: something doesn't look right. Does that sign say US 10? Yes, it does.

Of course, AHTD didn't catch the error until I reported it to them, but they initially insisted there was nothing wrong . It really should look like the Hwy 10 below:

*sigh* You just can't get good help these days. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017


I've been promising for months to start posting again. Today's the day (I hope).

Let's see if I can do a Readers Digest of some of the news:

  • AR 220 is still being destroyed upgraded between Lee Creek and Devil's Den State Park. Almost everything in Crawford County is finished, but Washington County still has a ways to go. The dirt work is finished, but the road is mostly gravel with a couple bridges still under construction. I'm guessing they will finish sometime this Summer.

  • Nearby. the AR 59 bridge over Lee Creek at Natural Dam is in the process of being replaced. The old bridge will be moved to Fort Chaffee for use as a pedestrian bridge.

  • AR 549 (Future I-49) is expected to open at Bella Vista sometime in April. It will only be two lanes for now and will connect to current I-49 via a Roundabout.  IMO, that's going to be a major headache, but what do I know? Eventually, it will be rebuilt as a full interchange after MoDOT starts working on their section of I-49 maybe in 2020

  • The new US 70 Broadway Bridge has opened over the Arkansas River about a month ahead of time. The contractor will receive a hefty bonus for finishing early. I hope he didn't cut any corners.

  • In the meantime, US 71 continues to slowly wash away near Artist's Point north of Mountainburg. The pavement is badly cracked and parts of the roadbed have shifted. Of course, AHTD has no money to fix things, but has just enough to build new roads (like the 412 Bypass at Sprigdale).

  • I-49 is being widened to 3-lanes between Fayetteville and Bella Vista, but many drivers don't seem to know they can use the far left lane for speeding as a fast lane.

  • AHTD is in the process of rebuilding the I-49/Business 71/AR 112 interchanges in Fayetteville, eliminating the harsh corves (which they should have done 30 years ago when they first built it. Never enough money to do it right the first time.

  • ODOT has eliminated the Tri-State signage at the AR-OK state line norht of Maysville. Now it's simply OK 20, except if you're coming from Arkansas where thsi is still no signage beyond a stop sign.

Well, I seem to out of news right now.  Oh wait! I've been approached by Encyclopedia of Arkansas to do an article on the history of US 71 in Arkansas. I thought I knew everything until i got deeper into it. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2017 Already?

I've lost track of time. I was going to keep this thing better updated, but that's not been the case. Life has somehow got in the way.

So, a quick update: two road meets this past year (St Louis and Birmingham). Lots of photos, lots of wishing I had more time to explore, etc. Even found part of the Bankhead Highway east of Tupelo, Mississippi.

Did my annual trek to SE Texas in November and picked up a few more bridges and other items.

The last few weeks I've been researching the history of US 71, going back to its days as a Civil War Trail. Lots of information starting in the early 1900's, but lots of blank spots further back that I am trying to piece together, also lots of conflicting information.

I'm on Twitter and Instagram now, but still posting more of my photos on Flickr.

Eventually, maybe I'll get back to posting regularly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mixed Signals

I've just returned from 10 days up in Kansas City (or more properly Smithville, Missouri) for the annual SCA Lilies War. It was HOT! At least 3 days of triple-digit temps. Needless to say, I roasted.
Of course, I can never take a trip without exploring the area. One of my main stops was Harrisonville to check out the new "Diverging Diamond" interchange at MO 291 and I-49. No big surprises, except people haven't learned to drive it yet. I took a few photos then started to wander back to my van when something caught my eye: there were new signals at 291 and Commerical St, but they didn't look right.

Red-Green-Yellow-Yellow Arrow-Green Arrow. Isn't that supposed to be Red-Yellow-Green-Yellow Arrow-Green Arrow?

Something isn't right here.The sequence is correct, but the Yellow and Green are in the wrong places. They didn't do it once, but twice. WTF? Either MoDOT is trying to psych-out drivers, or their contractor royally screwed up and no one caught it. 

I decided to contact MoDOT and received the following response:

Thank you for notifying us of the discrepancy in the signal head layout at 291 & Commercial Street in Harrisonville, MO.
This is a new signal set up at the intersection. 
Our project manager has notified the contractor and the signal head configuration will be corrected by 06/23/16.

We appreciate your assistance with noticing this discrepancy and very much appreciate that you took the time to notify MoDOT.

So I guess it WAS a contractor error, which leaves me with two questions: (1) What was the contractor thinking (2) Why didn't someone catch this before now?

When I said I wanted to make a difference in the world, I never imagined it would be calling out highway departments for stupid stuff.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

An Extra Nickel (or 3)

AASHTO has announced that AHTD will be allowed to extend I-555 from its current terminus at US 49 in Jonesboro, to AR 91 on the northeast side. Why this wasn't done in the first place, is beyond me (probably bureaucratic red tape). 

I explored 555 a few weeks ago, but haven't had time to post anything here. Hopefully, I'll find time next week, when my schedule slows down a little.

Friday, April 08, 2016

I Have Sinned

An error that has stood for over 10 years may be going away soon;
Oklahoma Highway 20 shares a roadway with Arkansas Highway 43 from just north of Maysville, Arkansas to SouthWest City, Missouri where it becomes Missouri Highway 43.

For whatever reason, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is responsible for signing the road. North AR 43/East OK 20 is posted as East 20/North MO 43, while the opposite direction is West OK 20/ South AR 43.  I can sort of see the logic behind that, though it seems silly.

To make matters more confusing, the signage where 43 meets 20 at the OK/AR State Line shows AR 43 heading north along East 20, but MO 43 heading south.  In otherwords, the 43 shields have been reversed. I never gave it much thought in the past and figured ODOT would eventually correct things. 

On a recent trip along Hwy 43, I checked the sign assembly and noticed it hadn't changed. Ten years and the error remains, so I finally decided to contact ODOT who said they will have a sign maintenance crew check it out, 

So I have, very likely, commiteed a sin against the road enthusiast community by bringing this error to ODOT's attention. I'm sure the average motorist has probably never noticed and now I've ruined everything.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

And It's Official!

I-555  is now official (or will be in less then 24 hours). I received a Tweet (yeah I'm on Twitter now) that the dedication ceremony for 555 (formerly US 63) will be Friday from 11-1 in Jonesboro. Great! Let's go...or not.
Sadly, the weather is looking dicey: lots of rain, lots of potential flooding (Southeast Arkansas and Northern Louisiana are already having problems) so it's probably better if I stay home.
On the plus side, I don't have to hear all the politicians talking about how great they are. On the minus side, I'll miss some cool photo opportunities &/or goodie bags.

If i'd had more than 24 hours notice, I could likely have worked something out, but the timing is just too close. No real time to plan.

Maybe next week I can go get some photos. There are also several bridges I want to look for, so I'll take my lumps for now and try again when the weather is better.

If, by chance, someone makes it up there, save me a goodie bag? ;-) 

Looking at the photos from the dedication, it appears it was a private luncheon/dedication: lots of police officers, local and area talking heads politicians, etc. So being a part-time blogger probably wouldn't have got me in the door. I did make it up there about a week later. I'll post on that later.