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wolverine

Worst on/off Ramps

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The other day, I got to experience just how fast my car goes from 0 to 70 mph. I had visited my friends in Ann Arbor and was on my way back to the M-14 freeway. Because Ann Arbor is situated in a very hilly region, the ramps have very tight turns, and not a lot of room for merging back onto the freeway. Because of construction, I had the unfortunate situation of using the Barton Drive Ramp, just directly North of the downtown exit. This ramp is rather interesting. It is nothing like your typical on-off ramp setup. In fact, I doubt it would have a name in the traffic systems dictionary if one tried to search for it. On the southbound side, the ramp is not too difficult. It kind of forms a T with the freeway, as the ends of the ramps meet with Barton Drive, when it is parallel with the freeway. Barton drive then winds around goes beneath the bridge where there is the entrance to the Northbound side of the freeway. But this entrance is interesting. It's actally a two way road that first runs parallel to the freeway and then bends at the end meeting up to it. The oncoming traffic on this road is actually the traffic getting off, making the other side for traffic getting on, obviously. But the problem is where it actually meets with the freeway...at a 90 degree angle. I'm not exactly sure why the ramp was constructed this way. The only interfering factor is a large hill which the freeway cuts straight through. I'm sure they could have made extra room for a smooth merge, but apparently they wanted to challenge us Ann Arbornites. So here I am, sitting at the wheel ready to turn right into 70 mph traffic. To my right is a stop sign with two other signs beneath it: "Cross traffic does not stop" (Well duh!), and "no left turn." On the concrete median divider is also a sign with a red slash over an arrow pointing left. As if they couldn't warn us more, the paint on the cement below my car has an "Only" Right arrow. Well, I waited and waited, and traffic did not let up, and the people behind me were getting impatient. So, I did my best to point my car towards the right and when I saw a brief opening, I hit the gas all the way to the floor. Reguardlesss of my efforts, traffic behind me still had to slam on the breaks, not to mention that suddenly the traffic in front of me stopped due to a back up at the US-23/M-14 interchange. I also have pity for the people getting off the freeway at the Barton Drive ramp. The sign above the merging lane is yellow with a perfect upside-down U, and "15 mph eixt" warning. So the ramp is dangerous, and I think it should be scrapped, or redone.

Anyone else have some good examples or close encounters?

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Wow! I can't believe some engineer somewhere thought this was a good idea at some point. And I thought NCDOT had it bad, WOW! I can't believe this! What fool would design something as bad as that? Makes no sense. My condolences in having to put up with that!

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The Parkway East (I-376) in Pittsburgh has a ridiculous interchange (Squirrel Hill/Homestead). Headed eastbound, exiting traffic has an EXIT ONLY lane. The problem is, the on-ramp occurs BEFORE the off-ramp instead of after it. Making matters worse is that the on-ramp terraces down the side of a hill, and you have to STOP at the bottom before merging because there is no acceleration lane. When you get to the end of the lane and make your stop, you have to find an opening in traffic that's moving at highway speeds, and when you do, you have to floor the accelerator to avoid being rear-ended by someone as you pull into the EXIT ONLY lane that ends in 500 feet. So once you pull into traffic, you immediately have to slow back down in order to move into the next lane without being forced to exit. Basically, what you have to do if you want to head eastbound from this interchange is MAKE A DOUBLE-LANE CHANGE FROM A DEAD STOP ACROSS TRAFFIC MOVING AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS. Whoever designed this interchange ought to have his civil engineering degree revoked. :angry:

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In Miami there's the westbound Palmetto Expressway exit to I-95 north. It's a part of the Golden Glades exchange. These are two of the busiest roads in Miami which makes it even worse. You took an exit ramp off the Palmetto go around a tight circle to a surface road, that leads to a light. You turn onto another 2 lane road that goes over and under and around with exits for various other roads till your dumped onto a 95 merge lane.

goldenglades1.jpeg

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Sounds like a hectic interchange, wolverine.

I know plenty in Nashville which are dangerous - Briley Parkway east, which is currently getting reconstructed north of I-40, requires a 270 degree turn to get onto it from the interstate, with only one lane - and it merges immediately with traffic going 60mph to 80mph on average.

Ironically they might not be fixing the dangerous semi-cloverleaf that it is to get on. Odd why they'd spend all that money to expand lanes and not fix the other stuff.

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The interchange outside of Miami is really cool though because of the huge ramp. You can get an amazing view at the tallest point. From the ground, it looks nasty but from the ramp it is really neat!

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In Providence, Route 195 merges with Route 95 just yards before the main exit off 95 to the city's west side and downtown. Traffic on 95 has to swing across two lanes of 195 entering at high speed to make the downtown exit. The 195-95 interchange is being moved south as part of the Route 195 relocation project.

95-195.jpg

North of Boston Route 1 has a number of ramps with stops signs at the head of them much like wolverine describes. All the ramps in this photo end with stop signs on the expressway with no acceleration lanes.

Route1.jpg

Further up Route 1, there are numerous business and malls with curb cuts directly on to the highway.

Route1-002.jpg

Route 1 was supposed to have been upgraded to Interstate standards and become I-95 through Boston. When I-95 through Boston was cancelled, Route 1 was left half completed. From the Tobin Bridge through Chelsea and Revere it is interstate standard. North of Revere there was to be a bypass of the current Route 1. This was never constructed, but Route 1 remains the primary route for traffic between Boston and the New Hampshire Seacoast and Maine, so it sees a lot of traffic. Near where Route 1 meets Route 128 and I-95 north of Boston, there is actually a traffic light on it.

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Guest donaltopablo

They may have recently corrected it, but one of the deadliest on ramps in the Atlanta area was GA 400 South to 285 east.

Here is why. GA 400 ramp came onto 285 (and let me tell you, Atlanta drivers drive fast) in the middle of two other exits within a mile. Due to the high number of people exiting at the same area GA 400 ramp comes onto the freeway, there heavy right lane traffic on this section of the freeway as you are entering in the Dunwoody commerical district.

The lane is only a few hundred feet long and there is a concrete wall running along it, no shoulder. This means if you can't merge and are moving too fast, you choice is to hit another car or slam into the concrete wall.

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I suppose you could add the sharp turn when going from I-85 South to I-77 South in Charlotte to the list.

interchange_85_77_south.jpg

Coming from the right side of the map (I-85) and curving around to head due south (I-77) is a nightmare for truckers. It's much sharper than this map leads you to believe though. Lots of overturned trucks occur because of this turn and it sort of pops out of nowhere with not a lot of warning.

This is an Interchange done right, allowing plenty of room for truckers to safely move to another Interstate. This is the I-485 and I-77 Interchange in South Charlotte.

interchange_485_77_south.jpg

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The worst around here is the I-75/I-69 interchange. It is by far the most dangerous, most confusing interchange in Flint. There is a railroad switching yard right next to the interchange, so there is next to nothing in the way of merging lanes. Also, the ramp off Miller Road is dangerous, because you have to enter I-69, then cross three lanes of heavy traffic moving 75+ mph to get over to the I-75 southbound ramp in about 150 feet. I've seen several accidents there, and have almost gotten run into a few times myself. I wish I had photos to illustrate the problem, but I can't seem to find any.

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Yep heckles, that is the one!

EDIT:

For some odd reason, the ramp seems to merge more smoothly in that photo! I wonder why it is worse now <_< I know there was a bit of extra pavement, but the lines were sure directing me onto the freeway at a tighter angle. That really ticks me off!

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In Charlotte, the merge lane from La Salle St onto I77 northbound is absurd... There really isn't a merge lane to speak of, just a subtle fade into traffic. This happens about 1/4 mile from the I77/I85 interchange, so while you are trying to merge off of La Salle, everyone is flooding over to the right lane to get on I85 north.

In Raleigh, I have seen many accidents occur on the Western Blvd to I440 west merge (aka "the outer loop"). They have westbound traffic merging onto I440 into the left lane, which occurs at the bottom of a hill. So while freeway traffic is hauling ass in the left lane, merge traffic is proceeding slowly because of the sharp left hand curve they just took.

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Try getting merging into Interstate speed traffic while they're trying to merge into your lane with only a few feet to work with! Welcome the I-485N/74W Interchange in East Charlotte:

interchange_485_74_east.jpg

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There is another bad place in Monroe, the town I live in. This Interchange is not far from where I live, everyone tries to avoid it because it's so dangerous. It's where 601 merges onto 74 West towards Charlotte. The exit ramp (highlighted in yellow) merges onto 74 with traffic speeds of 60-65mph without adding an additional lane. Where the exit meets 74 is it, there is no time to wait, it's either floor it and hope there isn't traffic coming in that lane or nothing, there is no alternative short of stopping and waiting but that's not a very safe thing to do here, not even sure you'd get a clearing enough to go from 0 to 60 anyways.

interchange_601_74_west.jpg

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East-West Expressway beats all the stories above.

Winston-Salem's East-West Expressway (Business 40) downtown beats anything you have ever driven on. Short ramps, narrow ramps, no acceleration ramps (merge areas), sharp turns, steep grades, no shoulder or half shoulders. If you thought the NC DOT is bad now, just look how bad they were on their first attempt. That was North Carolina's first stretch of Interstate highway in 1955. I try to avoid using it unless it's off hours. Since there are no acceleration lanes at the end of the ramps to merge into traffic, it's common to see cars stopped and waiting for an opening at the end of the ramp. I can also feel one side of my car lifting up off the ground if I go down the ramps at more than 15 mph. :blink: There are flip and no truck signs on many of those ramps. At least the NC DOT is improving. :D This is also the same highway that had the most dangerous curve in the nation a few years ago. :blink: They did fix that problem about four years ago.

Sometimes I think this highway should be a ride at a theme park. :blink:

Your face will literally look like this :o and that's just merging into traffic.

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I know this isn't an on/off ramp but this is hilariously screwed up engineering at it's best!

26_new.jpg

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^ lol, I've seen pics of that one before.

In Ontario pretty much all of our highways are easy to navigate (in fact too boring) - even the 401 system is pretty simple. The most complex I can think off is in Waterloo-Kitchener where the labelling of signs - well, shows that the Civils @ UWaterloo aren't that great. ;) There's a case in which a cloverleaf that branches off into an east/west path doesn't have it labelled for example.

The Autoroute (don't dare just call them highways! ;) ) system in Quebec is, well - don't get me started on my sexual fantasies with them :D - but has a couple of tough, though interesting interchanges. Including cloverleafs like the one Neo posted, but in addition without guide signs until you're pretty close to them - I swear if I hadn't guesstimated the length of text on an A-30 sign to be "Sorel" and "Chateauguay" (sp?) - the direction text is too small to see - I (or my dad rather) would've missed that interchange.

This reminds me of PEI too, where the Trans-Canada out of all highways doesn't label itself in parts. Had I not memorized where Wood Islands is on the map I would've gotten lost on this one intersection.

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In Austin, Texas, Interstate 35 through downtown past the University of TExas campus has some of the worst on and off ramps in the city. On the lower/upper deck split, on ramps on the lower deck had to be permanently closed because of a lack of auxilirary lane space to speed up, roughly against the upper deck support pillars. In downtown, the ramps were too sharp and short with poor aesthetics.

Southbound I-35 Downtown Exit. See the ramp on your right? That's how sharp and short i'm talking about.

i35_chavez_looking_s_hres_2_25-mar-01.jpg

The notorious double decker. The lower level was built in the 1950s, then the upper level came in the 1970s. The on-ramps were closed some time before this picture was taken. Dangerously narrow: the upper level pillars and the narrow space in the center divider.

i35_deck_1.jpg

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i-376_eb_exit_005.jpg

Not sure if this is a good enough picture, but this is a picture of the approach to the Squirrel Hill/Homestead exit on the Parkway East headed eastbound. If you look closely, you'll see a yellow diamond "merge" sign in the distance. The car you see under it is entering the highway from the on-ramp I described. (Remember that you have to stop at the end of the on-ramp before entering the highway.) The off-ramp comes immediately after the overpass you see in this picture. The car you see entering the highway will need to move into the center lane in order to proceed eastbound, and he has roughly 500 feet in which to do so.

(Also note how close the left-most lane is to the concrete median barrier. Now you know some of the reasons why I'm an ardent proponent of overhauling Pittsburgh's highway infrastructure.)

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Try getting merging into Interstate speed traffic while they're trying to merge into your lane with only a few feet to work with!  Welcome the I-485N/74W Interchange in East Charlotte:

interchange_485_74_east.jpg

That's nothing, just about every interchange up here in the northeast is a cloverleaf. That one's not even a full cloverleaf, it's cheating with that ramp that slides across the interchange.

(Also note how close the left-most lane is to the concrete median barrier. Now you know some of the reasons why I'm an ardent proponent of overhauling Pittsburgh's highway infrastructure.)

Also note the pedestrians!! WTF!? :o:blink:

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