Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Don't Say "Tunnel", Say "Bobby Hopper Tunnel"


Have you ever noticed something for the first time even though you've passed by it possibly a hundred times?
Well, that's not quite the case here, but it's something I've been reminding myself to do yet never remember:

After all these years, I finally got some photos of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel along I-540. HOW many times have I passed it, but never stopped? Too many. So recently, I finally stopped.
A Brief History
Courtesy of ATHD: "Lying over 220 feet below the top of the Boston Mountain, construction was begun at both ends of the tunnel in August 1996 and the two ends connected in March of 1997. The tunnel was built as part of the US 71 Relocation Project" (later to be designated I-540). It was decided by AHTD to build a tunnel though the mountain as opposed to shearing off the mountain in an effort to maintain the natural beauty of the surrounding area. a Construction was completed in December of 1999.  The finished size of the tunnels is 25 feet tall (as measured from the roadway to the top of the tunnel arch), 1600 feet long and 38 feet wide. 

The tunnel was named for then Arkansas Highway Commissioner Bobby Hopper, a longtime resident of Springdale. 

I remember as I was growing up hearing radio ads for Bobby Hopper Ford. The tagline was always "Don't Say "Ford", Say "Bobby Hopper Ford". Funny how something like that sticks in your mind.

I'm Not Finished

I seem to have a lot of problems with the local AYCE food bar restaurants: when I'm getting another plate and standing in line waiting, the servers assume I've left and clear my table. I've complained about it a couple times, but usually they just laugh at me.
So this evening I took matters into my own hands and printed a card to put on my table
One of the competitors actually has signs saying "Table Occupied" and "Table Vacant". so I thought I would give this a try.

It worked! I wasn't sure if it would, but it worked! I was coming back to my table to find my server had started to clear it, but found my card. She told me that without the card, she probably would have cleaned my table. 

I sort of threw this together in about a half an hour. I think before I print another batch, I'm going to clean up the graphic a bit (it was a black&white graphic I colorized) and maybe change the I'm NOT Finished to a FHWA font (just because I can). 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Progress!

Finally,  some visible progress on US 71/ Future I-49 in Missouri! MoDOT has been busy over the last couple of years upgrading US 71 between I-44 at Fidelity and The 3 Trails Crossing (does anyone actually call it 3 Trails and not Grandview Triangle?). At-grade intersections are slowly being converted to full interchanges (such as MO 126,  Route M at Compton Junction, and Routes V and C near Irwin)

Now, even more progress is visible: MoDOT is adding mileposts along 71. Beginning at I-44, mileposts are going up every 1/10 mile 
I-44 will be exit 46, Cedar Road (Pictured) will be Exit 47, and Central Ave in Carthage will be Exit 53. For now, the mileposts are turned 90 degrees away from the roadway until the I-49 upgrade is complete.

I've also received word that I-49 won't end at Grandview Triangle 3 Trails Crossing, but more likely Bannister Road/ Route W.

MoDOT has also erected new overhead signs along US 71/I-49 at I-44 near Joplin
Note that I-44 West is posted as Exit 39C, while Mo 249 is posted as Exit 39B. So where's 39A? Half a mile south at Route FF/ 32nd St.

But where's 49? It will go in the blank space between I-44 and US 71. But first: MoDOT has to finish the road upgrades before they can officially call it I-49. That should happen about mid-December.