My "homecoming" road trip (long)

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Marc Fannin

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Jun 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/14/99
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Well, I FINALLY got a chance to return to the place where I grew up,
Southwest Michigan, after not having been back there for 2-1/4 years
(by far the longest time I had been away). Since the bulk of this trip
involved travelling on a multiplex of two trans-continental
Interstates, some of this report may not be news to a few people (in
fact, it's likely that when I was returning to Ohio, I passed Michael
Koerner going in the other direction), but here goes anyway.

Saturday, June 12

[Local roads/streets/highways east of and in Mentor, Ohio, to the I-
90/OH 306 interchange (Exit 193) -- I-90 EB, later I-90/OH 2 EB, then
OH 2 EB (Cleveland Memorial Shoreway West), picking up US 6 and 20]

The West Shoreway, while having been modernized in most places, still
retains many conspicuous original details (the Shoreway is one of the
oldest superhighways in Cleveland, pre-Interstate IIRC).

[Shoreway becomes Clifton Blvd., still US 6/20/OH 2]

My dad (the driver), while knowing of a parade here today (Lakewood),
didn't realize it was to follow Clifton. So we hopped down to I-90 via
W. 111th St., Detroit Ave., and W. 117th St. Detroit Ave. here is
identified as Alternate US 6 on many maps, but the portion we were on
was not signed as such (no surprise; the whole route is within the city
limits of Cleveland and Lakewood, and so is maintained by them and not
ODOT, and therefore is probably not an official route; I'm sure they
view that route much more as an urban thoroughfare than an alternate
U.S. route anyway). Many traffic lights were dark along W. 117th, no
doubt the result of a local power outage caused by too many fans and
air conditioners running at once.

[I-90 EB, then I-90/OH 2 EB, then OH 2 EB]

The signs on both sides of the 90/2 split are being upgraded. Signs
east of there which refer to the Ohio Turnpike now have the Turnpike
logo whereas they used to have text. ODOT is starting to number the
exits on OH 2 west of the split, to correspond with the milemarkers (at
this point, and all the rest of the way through Lorain County, they are
actually Interstate-style, rare for a state route in Ohio). There's
only one problem: Milemarkers on non-Interstates in Ohio reset at
county lines! Maybe this wasn't the greatest idea.

[OH 2 WB, later OH 2 WB/OH 53 SB, then OH 53 SB]

Ottawa County uses pentagons for their county highways -- to some
extent.

[OH 53 SB to I-80/I-90/Ohio Turnpike WB]

The new third lane ends a few miles west of the OH 53 interchange.
Varoius construction projects on the Turnpike, traffic flow not
affected. Speaking of the projects, they used LED flashing arrows (as
did ones on the Indiana Toll Road and in Michigan). This is notable
for me, since these were the first LED traffic control devices I had
ever seen. I have yet to find an LED traffic light.

Passed the new interchange with James Schul's favorite highway, OH 66!

[Ohio Turnpike becomes the Indiana Toll Road]

Strange-looking reflector markers line the Toll Road in places. They
have green or red on one side and black on the other. These are in
addition to the flat white/yellow reflectors. What are these?

I saw my first IN 933 marker in person on the Exit 77 advance signage
(IN 933 was US 33 up until last year).

It was reported that there were 9's added to the existing U.S. 33 signs
at the Toll Road overpass, creating "U.S. 933"; when I went past, the
signs had been removed from the posts, presumably to make way for
replacements.

I could see an example of the unique U.S. shield in the Bus. US 31
assembly along Cleveland Road, which parallels the Toll Road to the
north.

I saw many examples of "doghouse" traffic lights (red on top, yellow
ball and arrow next to each other, green ball and arrow next to each
other). These are relatively new to this part of Indiana.

[Toll Road to US 31 NB into Michigan]

Maps have been inconsistent as to the status of US 31 up to the end of
the new segment of highway north of Berrien Springs (Freeway or not?
Where are the interchanges, if any?). Well, as of now, it is in fact
all freeway right up to the end. The details:

State line
Bertrand Rd., underpass
Site of future rest area/Welcome Center?
Exit 3, US 12, Sturgis, New Buffalo (supplemental sign for Bus. 12 NB)
Amtrak, overpass
Exit 5, Niles-Buchanan Rd.
St. Joseph River crossing
Exit 7, Walton Rd. (supplemental sign for Bus. 31 SB)
Matthew Rd., overpass
Rangeline Rd., underpass
Lake Chapin Rd., underpass
St. Joseph River/Lake Chapin crossing
Exit 13, Berrien Springs (supplemental sign for Snow Rd.) (NB); Snow
Rd. (SB) (all ramps on north side)
Exits 15 A-B, US 31, Holland/Old 31
End of completed highway

[US 31 NB to M-139 NB in Benton Harbor area]

Probably the biggest thing for me on the trip, while not directly road-
related, was the complete rebuild of an entire shopping center along
M-139, one which I grew up with. It looked totally different, very
jarring. They are constructing new roads to connect the rebuilt
shopping area to the mall area nearly adjacent.


Sunday, June 13

Side trip: Northern Berrien County, extreme Southwest Van Buren and
Northwest Cass Counties

I drove 124 miles checking out things in this area.

First and foremost, my boyhood home (1971-1985), in Millburg.

Speaking of Millburg, this is the first settlement east of Benton
Harbor on Territorial Road, an important early travel route. I
documented parts of this road on film: The bridge over I-94/US 31; the
site of the future US 31 freeway crossing (no sign of current
construction, just some MDOT "No Trespassing" signs, the houses
formerly here having been demolished a few years ago); scenes in
Millburg; intersection with M-140. There were a couple things of
interest in Keeler (into Van Buren County): A monument to the road, and
a route marker! I thought I had seen these as a child, and I was
right. This is only one of two places I know where there is a route
marker for a named road (the other is Red Arrow Highway, part of old US
12, just north of here. James Lin has a picture of one of those on his
route marker site).

The county highway numbers one might see on a map for Van Buren county
highways are only posted on street signs, no markers at all.

I got a picture of a lone {M-152}{ENDS} assembly, lone because it was
at its dangling end.

Speaking of photographs, my camera went haywire, so I was unable to get
pictures of anything outside Michigan, but in addition to the
previously mentioned photos, I got (or think I got)

An at-grade diamond interchange (BL-94 at Crystal Ave., just west of
I-94)
A traffic light whose green light had been replaced with a red flashing
left arrow
Traffic lights more representative of what is used in Michigan
Railroad crossing signals along the CSX tracks that said "STOP ON RED
SIGNAL"
A raised drawbridge (M-63)
Various street scenes in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph

One more thing: The doghouse lights mentioned above are now being used
much more in Michigan as well, where they were non-existent until just
recently.

On the way back to Ohio, we detoured through Buchanan to see where I
lived 1985-1987, then took US 12 EB to the new alignment of M-51 (old
US 33). Bus. 31 in Niles was decommissioned south of downtown Niles
last year, but there is a {BUS}{31} assembly left over on US 12 EB
heading away from the US 31 interchange. Then it was M-51 to IN 933
most of the way back to the Toll Road (another detour), then the Toll
Road/Turnpike/I-90 combo back to OH 306 then OH 84 and beyond. A note
about a portion of the Turnpike I missed on the way out: I assumed that
with the addition of the third lane being added to the Turnpike between
Toledo and Youngstown that in the places where there were already three
lanes (usually two lanes and a climbing lane) there would be no
change. But east of US 250, they actually added an inside lane to an
already three-lane section! Four lanes, plus three in the other
direction, make this a seven-lane highway. Is this the most number of
lanes on a freeway in a rural area?

Finally, OH 176 markers are now paired with the I-71 markers on the
overhead signs on I-90 in Cleveland.

Whew!


--
Marc Fannin
musx...@kent.edu
http://www.personal.kent.edu/~musxf579/home.html


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Dennis S. Gulyas

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Jun 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/14/99
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Marc Fannin <musx...@kent.edu> wrote in message
news:7k2jje$l8c$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...
> Saturday, June 12

> [I-90 EB, then I-90/OH 2 EB, then OH 2 EB]
>
> The signs on both sides of the 90/2 split are being upgraded. Signs
> east of there which refer to the Ohio Turnpike now have the Turnpike
> logo whereas they used to have text. ODOT is starting to number the
> exits on OH 2 west of the split, to correspond with the milemarkers (at
> this point, and all the rest of the way through Lorain County, they are
> actually Interstate-style, rare for a state route in Ohio). There's
> only one problem: Milemarkers on non-Interstates in Ohio reset at
> county lines! Maybe this wasn't the greatest idea.
>
Check the thread between Paul Wolf and myself from the past week (it's under
the humungous US highway shield thread till I changed it to Ohio MUTCD.
Then it ended because I couldn't think of anything else to ask Paul). We
talked about milemarkers on highways other than the I-routes in Ohio, among
other things.

BTW, some goofball, here in O(h)DOT Dis.6, proclaimed I-73 dead in Ohio
while you were away. Evidently he doesn't have any road atlases from the
last several years. :-)

SJG
bt...@bright.net - home, though Wednesday
guly...osu.com - It's summer break, I'm not checking it.


Adam Froehlig

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Jun 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/15/99
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>One more thing: The doghouse lights mentioned above are
>now being used much more in Michigan as well, where they
>were non-existent until just recently.

"Doghouse" lights are the standard 5-lens lights in
Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. AFAIK, they do not
exist in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Illinois.

Froggie | Meridian, MS |
http://www.mississippi.net/~froggie/roads/laudcohi.htm

**** Posted from RemarQ - http://www.remarq.com - Discussions Start Here (tm) ****

Marc Fannin

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Jun 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/16/99
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In article <9294811...@www2.remarq.com>,
Adam Froehlig <fro...@mississippi.net> wrote:

> >One more thing: The doghouse lights mentioned above are
> >now being used much more in Michigan as well, where they
> >were non-existent until just recently.
>

> "Doghouse" lights are the standard 5-lens lights in
> Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. AFAIK, they do not
> exist in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Illinois.

If the lights you're talking about are the same as ones I've seen in
Tennessee, then we're talking about two different styles. The TN
version has the red, yellow, and green balls vertically aligned, and
the arrow lenses off to the side. The version which is common in Ohio,
becoming more common in Indiana, and just starting to be used in
Michigan, has the yellow and green arrow lenses vertically aligned, the
yellow and green solid lenses vertically aligned, and the red lens
centered on the top of the assembly, as seen in
http://www.personal.kent.edu/~musxf579/greendot.jpg (from
http://www.personal.kent.edu/~musxf579/neohsign.html ).

> Froggie

Adam Froehlig

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Jun 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/16/99
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>If the lights you're talking about are the same as ones
>I've seen in Tennessee, then we're talking about two
>different styles.

No, we're talking about the same style. They're SOP
(standard operating procedure) in Mississippi (
http://www.mississippi.net/~froggie/roadpics/meridian/29av-n
hills.jpg - an example in Meridian) and Alabama.

>The TN version has the red, yellow, and green balls
>vertically aligned, and the arrow lenses off to the
>side.

Newer Tennessee lights have this version, like this example:
http://www.mississippi.net/~froggie/roadpics/other/dtwn-bna.
jpg in downtown Nashville. Older signals in Tennessee still
use the "Ohio version", or "Mississippi version", or
Alabama, or wherever...:o)

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