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Rock Hill (SC) road trip report

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Chris Lawrence

Feb 19, 2003, 1:14:12 AM2/19/03
I took a long trip to Rock Hill, SC this weekend for the annual
meeting of the South Carolina Political Science Association.

Route there:
MS 6 > MS 76 > MS 9 > US 78 > I-20 > I-285 > I-85 > SC 5

Route back:
SC 5 > I-85 > BR 85 > I-85 > I-285 > I-75 > GA 20 > AL 9 > AL 35 > US
72 > Alt US 72 (incl. I-565) > AL 67 > AL 24 > MS 767 > MS 25 > US 78 >
MS 9 > MS 76 > MS 6

Not a lot of notes here...

- ROW clearing and preliminary grading has made it to the MS 76/MS 9
intersection; the amount of clearning suggests that an interchange is
planned here.

- Corridor X still not open from AL 129 to AL 233 as of Thursday.

- I-20 from I-59 to approx. Forestdale Rd desperately needs widening
to three lanes in each direction; however, there's a long viaduct
here that could make it expensive.

- Looks like I-20 is being widened to 6 lanes to US 411. The 411
overpass is also being widened.

- Lots of lighting has been installed at the Talledega Speedway

- GA 5 @ I-20 is a nasty mess. Remind me to avoid that exit in the

- Peachtree Industrial Blvd is signed "GA 141 to GA 400" northbound.
The section I took (from I-285 to GA 140) was nice.

- GA 140 is mistakenly signed "To US 85" south of Buford Hwy.

- It looks like GDOT is widening all of the overpasses on I-85 to the
SC line to accomodate six-laning of the route. However, it's all
4-lane east of I-985.

- Some of the newer BGSes along here have dotted i's, but still the
Georgia Series D lowercase.

- I-85's median in SC is mostly that wire-barrier stuff along the
4-lane sections. The 6+ lane sections are separated by high jersey
barriers (the standard barrier plus another couple of feet).

- I-85 widening from exit 19 to US 29 (exit 34?) in SC is done.

- I-85 has a bizarre mix of speed limits; the only 70 mph section is
the newish Spartanburg section, while the rest is a mix of 60 and 65.
I think the 60 zones are posted because of intermittent construction,
rather than actually being the permanent speed limit, though.

- SC 192 is being widened and relocated between I-85 and the US 29/SC
5 intersection in Blacksburg.

- SC 5 is a bit of a slog, and could really do with either some
passing lanes or selected 4-laning.

Trip back:

- BR 85 through Spartanburg isn't really worth the detour. There is a
roundabout (signed "Traffic Circle" on a diamond sign) on the "west"
frontage road at exit 4.

The "Memphis-Huntsville-Atlanta freeway" (giggle-snort):

- The Northern Arc would have been nice for this trip. Maybe in 30
years when Georgia has its collective head out of its ass...

- In the meantime, Cartersville desperately needs a freeway link from
I-75 to US 411/GA 20; the US 41/411 multiplex was heavily congested
(as in gridlock) for 2+ miles.

- In retrospect, GA 1 Loop might have saved some time through Rome.

- GA 20 is four lanes + center turn lane from Rome to GA 100 south; it
appears to be being widened as far as GA 100 north.

- GA 20 west becomes AL 9 south at the state line, for those who care
about direction changes.

- AL 35 from AL 9 to Fort Payne was a slog; I got stuck behind a horse
trailer that was in no hurry to go anywhere fast. Plus, the downgrade
into Fort Payne was fun due to the idiot in front of me who was riding
his/her brakes the whole way down. (DOWNSHIFT YOU IDIOT!!!)

- AL 35 from Fort Payne to Scottboro was nicer; mostly four-lane,
though a few towns on the way. Twinning is underway for a few miles
south of AL 71. New parallel span over the Tennessee River.

- US 72 (with icky Corridor V shield) is actually a nice drive from
Scottboro to Huntsville. A couple of signals in Scottboro and just
two signals before it becomes Alt 72 in Huntsville.

- The section of Alt 72 from US 72 to I-565 Exit 20 is signed "To
I-565" but has an West Alt US 72 reassurance marker. The "Begin
I-565" overhead sign is at the Exit 20 ramp, for those keeping score
at home.

- I-565 ends a few hundred feet west of I-65.

- Not much new to say about AL 24. They finally increased the speed
limit along the "old" part of Corridor V west of Moulton to 65, to
match the "new" part. The old route is apparently Franklin CR 724,
but I couldn't find what it was called in the other county (that I'm
too lazy to look up the name of); AL 101 now has a mile stub end
before ending at the old route, rather than being truncated.

- AL 24 between CR 724 and US 43 is now signed at 55. It was 35(!)
during construction.

- Some repaving is underway west of Russelville but no evidence of
twinning yet. It has been alleged that this part will be built to
Interstate standards but I'm not holding my breath.

- The mystery highway from MS 25 to AL 24 in Red Bay is apparently
unsigned MS 767 (except the few hundred feet in Alabama). This is the
road you end up on if you don't turn left to stay on AL 24 to MS 23.

- Not sure how MDOT is going to four-lane MS 25 between MS 767 and the
existing four-lane; there are a lot of houses close to the existing
road, and it is quite curvy. Perhaps Corridor V will be used for part
of it. (MDOT spent $80k on engineering work and $18k on right-of-way
in 2002; the ROW was for the part from SR 23 to the state line, which
is probably well under a mile total.)

Chris Lawrence <> -

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