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Old Jun 24, 03, 11:24 am
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The FlyerTalk Road Network Forum

Prompted by the fact that the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (hereafter referred to as the Interstate Highway System) has become the main topic in the trivia thread, I thought that a separate thread concerning travel on the Interstate Highway System — and any other highway system or network in the world — should be created.

In this initial post, I will discuss the Interstate Highway System. Apparently I am not the only one bugged by its inconsistencies.

For example, all one-digit and two-digit Interstate highways would have to cross at least one state boundary to be a true Interstate highway.

I realize that there may be political, financial, logistical and/or technical reasons as to why some of my suggestions below cannot initally be done, but I generally feel that the Interstate Highway System should be cleaned up into a consolidated, more efficient road network. I would re-design interchanges where major Interstate highways narrow to a one-lane off-ramp just to continue. I would make it easier for people to follow a designated route to get to where they want to go.

Things I would personally change:
  • Interstates 17 and 19 in Arizona would become Interstate 19.
  • Interstate 84 in the western United States would become Interstate 86 between Portland, Oregon and Pocatello, Idaho (as there is already another Interstate 84 in the eastern United States); and Interstate 84 between Interstate 86 and Interstate 15 would become Interstate 17.
  • Interstate 20 would replace U.S. 76 to be extended as a limited-access highway between Florence, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina.
  • Interstate 238 in California would become either Interstate 180 or Interstate 480.
  • Interstate 27 in Texas would become Interstate 340.
  • Interstate 24 would continue eastbound from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Savannah, replacing (and eliminating) Interstate 16.
  • Interstate 10 would replace (and eliminate) Interstate 12 in Louisiana, and Interstate 59 would continue south, replacing the portion of the current Interstate 10 all the way to Baton Rouge.
  • Interstate 80 would be extended eastbound from New Jersey to terminate in Riverhead, New York via the Cross Bronx Expressway, Throgs Neck Bridge, Clearview Expressway and Long Island Expressway.
  • Interstate 87 would be extended southbound from the South Bronx to terminate in Linden, New Jersey, replacing most of Interstate 278.
  • Interstate 4 would become either Interstate 795 or Interstate 975, to reflect the connection between Interstate 75 and Interstate 95 in Florida.
  • Interstate 75 would be extended at its southern terminus to either intersect with Interstate 95 by replacing Florida 924 (Gratigny Parkway) and being extended with new construction to Interstate 95, or by replacing Florida 826 (Palmetto Expressway) south or Miami Lakes to Kendall, or veering off and also replacing Florida 874 (Don Shula Expressway).
  • Either Interstate 55 or Interstate 57 would extend northward beyond its current northern terminus south of Chicago to replace (and eliminate) Interstate 43 in Wisconsin.
  • Interstate 96 between Grand Rapids and its western terminus in Michigan would be redesignated Interstate 196. The current Interstate 196 would become Interstate 96, which would share Interstate 94 until Chicago, then replace Interstate 290 between its eastern terminus and Interstate 88, and fully replace Interstate 88 since one already exists in New York.
  • Interstate 64 would be extended westbound to replace (and eliminate) Interstate 44. The small portion of the current Interstate 64 west of St. Louis would be re-designated Interstate 164.
  • Interstate 99 in Pennsylvania would be re-designated Interstate 980.
  • Interstate 70 in Maryland would be extended eastbound via Interstate 695 to then replace (and eliminate) Interstate 97. The small portion of Interstate 70 east of Interstate 695 would become Interstate 170.
  • Interstate 49 in Louisiana would become Interstate 120.
  • Interstate 88 in New York would be extended eastbound to share Interstate 90 into Massachusetts and share Interstate 495 south to the current terminus of Interstate 495.
  • Interstate 73 in North Carolina would become Interstate 485.

By no means is this a complete list of suggestions. However, I present this thread because ... well ... fellow FlyerTalkers, you simply amaze me with your travel knowledge. I know you can come up with some interesting, intriguing suggestions on how to improve the Interstate Highway System — if you think it even needs improvement.

I know this thread will generate controversy. Bring it on! Let’s debate the issues. We can discuss road networks other than the Interstate Highway System, such as state or county routes. We can even discuss road network issues in other countries.

----------------------

No, I do not have a lot of time on my hands, but I do a lot of traveling, which includes plenty of driving, which makes me think while I drive. Yes, I am obsessed by road networks.
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Old Jun 24, 03, 11:48 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Canarsie:
[*] Interstate 99 in Pennsylvania would be re-designated Interstate 980.</font>
Why, that would be a violation of Federal Law!

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Old Jun 24, 03, 11:53 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Canarsie:
Interstate 84 in the western United States would become Interstate 86 between Portland, Oregon and Pocatello, Idaho (as there is already another Interstate 84 in the eastern United States); and Interstate 84 between Interstate 86 and Interstate 15 would become Interstate 17.</font>
There's also both a Western and Eastern I-86; the Eastern I-86 will eventually follow the NY17 corridor. I think that currently the only stretch signed is between I-87 and Binghamton. I'd call the Western parts I-88 and call the finished NY17 corridor I-86 while renaming the present I-88 in New York to I-186.

You also have Western I-76 (Denver to I-80 just over the Nebraska line) and Eastern I-76 (PA Turnpike and Ohio extension). This one is easy; rename the Western I-76 to I-170 or I-180)

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Old Jun 24, 03, 11:59 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by pdhenry:
[b]Why, that would be a violation of Federal Law!</font>
Even more of a reason to change it.

I am so rebellious.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Kubla:
There's also both a Western and Eastern I-86; the Eastern I-86 will eventually follow the NY17 corridor. I think that currently the only stretch signed is between I-87 and Binghamton. I'd call the Western parts I-88 and call the finished NY17 corridor I-86 while renaming the present I-88 in New York to I-186.</font>
I did not know that!

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Kubla:
You also have Western I-76 (Denver to I-80 just over the Nebraska line) and Eastern I-76 (PA Turnpike and Ohio extension). This one is easy; rename the Western I-76 to I-170 or I-180)
</font>
...or, just have Interstate 76 share the same highway with Interstate 80 until it reaches its other half.
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Old Jun 24, 03, 2:00 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Canarsie:
For example, all one-digit and two-digit Interstate highways would have to cross at least one state boundary to be a true Interstate highway.</font>
This is not an inconsistency. It is an example of the errors created by not paying attention to capitalization.

An interstate highway (lower-case "i") is a highway that crosses one or more state boundaries.

An Interstate highway (upper-case "I") is a highway that conforms to the requirements of Public Law ..., yadda yadda. Those say nothing about crossing state boundaries.

Requiring an Interstate highway to also be an interstate highway makes as much sense, with all due respect, as requiring everyone named Potter to work in ceramics. There is a historical connection in the origin of the name, but that's all.
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Old Jun 24, 03, 3:34 pm
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Another abomination - I'm only aware on one interstate outside hawaii that has letters as well as numbers in its designation.

In both the MSP and DFW areas, I-35 splits into I-35E and I-35W, only to merge again on the other side of the metro area. I imagine that this was done to solve fights over whether the main highway goes thru Minneapolis or St Paul; and Dallas or Ft Worth.

But it's dang confusing to give directions to an unsuspecting out-of-towner:
"take i-35E..."
"you mean east?"
"no, take I-35 East, north"
...

They ought to just call one branch I-135, or something like that.
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Old Jun 24, 03, 4:59 pm
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At least one FTer has had his road-related Web site written up in at least three different newspapers

I used to care about roads a lot... then I started flying.
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Old Jun 24, 03, 5:08 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Efrem:
[B] This is not an inconsistency. It is an example of the errors created by not paying attention to capitalization.{/b]</font>
This is really nothing more than an aesthetic argument among roadgeeks. Some people would like to see all 2 digit Interstates be major interstate highways, just to make the numbering system more tidy.

Oh by the way, I was wrong about the section of the NY17 corridor that's been upgraded to Interstate standard. It's the western part of the road that's now I-86, from the PA border to Horseheads. The eastern part still needs improvements before it can be signed as I-86.
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Old Jun 24, 03, 5:28 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Kubla:
Oh by the way, I was wrong about the section of the NY17 corridor that's been upgraded to Interstate standard. It's the western part of the road that's now I-86, from the PA border to Horseheads. The eastern part still needs improvements before it can be signed as I-86.</font>
Especially since the speed limit of New York 17 is only 25 miles per hour as it slices right through downtown Elmira. That is one of the most annoying portions of 17. I would have to assume that a new limited-access road on the edge of town would have to be built.

As far as granting New York 17 Interstate status between Binghamton and Interstate 87: I hope they do not ruin the beauty of the portion of the road (complete with a sign: Most Beautiful Highway 1965-1966, I believe? Please correct me if I am wrong.) that meanders alongside the Beaverkill and Delaware Rivers. I hope they do get rid of that one lone pesky traffic light (which was always red for me whenever I approached it), which I believe was located somewhere near Roscoe, if I am not mistaken.
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Old Jun 24, 03, 6:00 pm
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Okay, how many of you guys are also regular posters on misc.transport.road? (If you're not, you'd sure be at home there.)
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Old Jun 24, 03, 8:42 pm
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Canarsie: Totally agree. The two rivers are the few remaining gems for flyfishers in the NorthEastern US. Any new construction might forever alter their character (from an addicted flyfisher)
Route 80 - I believe that the other routes mentioned can not be upgraded to Interstate (capital I ) standards.

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Old Jun 25, 03, 7:51 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by swag:
Another abomination - I'm only aware on one interstate outside hawaii that has letters as well as numbers in its designation.

In both the MSP and DFW areas, I-35 splits into I-35E and I-35W, only to merge again on the other side of the metro area. I imagine that this was done to solve fights over whether the main highway goes thru Minneapolis or St Paul; and Dallas or Ft Worth.

But it's dang confusing to give directions to an unsuspecting out-of-towner:
"take i-35E..."
"you mean east?"
"no, take I-35 East, north"
...

They ought to just call one branch I-135, or something like that.
</font>
I don't think the problem is with out-of-towners, it's those who are not fans of maps, directions, road networks, etc.

When I first moved to the D/FW Metroplex, I immediately recognized the logic of I-35E and I-35W. It makes more sense to me than to have an I-35 and I-135. With the E or W suffix, you know exactly which city you're going through (assuming you know that Dallas is east of Ft. Worth).

"Northbound I-35 East" might sound odd, but it is true that you are heading to or from a point northeast of the center of I-35E and I-35W.

I wish we did that with other highways. It would be easier to figure out where I-635 and Skillman Rd is if you said "I-635N and Skillman".

Not only that, but there are two intersections of I-635 and I-35E, and there are two intersections of I-820 and I-35W. Why not uniquely identify them with I-635N & I-35E, I-635S & I-35E, I-820N & I-35W, and I-820S & I-35W?
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Old Jun 25, 03, 8:52 am
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Actually if you combine I-17 and I-19 in Arizona, the combined road would still not cross State Lines. According to the numbering system, a better option would be I-110,I-310,I-510,I-710, or I-910, since they branch off from I-10. Although I-17 could also be a spur of I-40. And the section of I-17 that is south of downtown Phoenix could be considered a loop giving it a I-210, 410, etc, designation.

But I think both highways were numbered as such for strictly political reasons. By using I-17 and I-19 Arizona has 5 major Interstate Highways so we are a progressive developed State.

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Old Jun 25, 03, 3:39 pm
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A few years ago I drove I-19 and was very surprised to discover that the highway was signed with kilometer markings instead of miles.

Are there other highways like that?
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Old Jun 26, 03, 12:52 pm
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my personal favorite is the segment of the 401 through Ontario that's designated both as the 401, and also with signs designating it as I-75
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