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HOV Lanes Inaugural Trip

OK, so it has taken a little over 20 years to drive the only HOV lanes in Pennsylvania, but who’s counting?  There are many reasons why I’ve never driven them to this point. The biggest reason being is I’ve only lived east or south of Pittsburgh. So it didn’t make sense to utilize them when taking the Parkway North.  That was until today. After a quick stop in Shadyside, I continued on my journey north to Ross Park Mall.

The lanes comprise the third Port Authority of Allegheny County busway, built as part of Interstate 279 and Interstate 579. However, personal vehicles are permitted to use this busway unlike the other three.  They are HOV+2 and inbound one-way for the morning rush and outbound one-way for the evening rush and weekends.

Crossing over PA 380/Bigelow Boulevard just after entering the HOV lanes at Bedford Avenue.
The entrance at Bedford Street near the Mellon Arena leads down a long ramp that is initially two lanes as it crosses PA 380/Bigelow Boulevard but narrows to one to cross the Veterans Bridge. Of course when reversed, it’s one lane that widens into two.
Crossing the Veterans Bridge and approaching the Interstate 279 and PA 28 interchange.
Crossing the Allegheny River on Veterans Bridge on State Route 6579 which is the PennDOT inventory designation for the HOV lane on Interstate 579.
Passing through the East Street Valley of Pittsburgh.
In the East Street Valley where the other lone HOV lane from the North Shore joins the one from Interstate 579 to create a two-lane roadway designated by PennDOT as State Route 6279.  It’s like the First Class section of the Parkway North!
Approaching the McKnight Road interchange.
Approaching the McKnight Road interchange in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. Just as at the I-279/PA 28 interchange south on the North Side, the lanes split here as well. One exits to McKnight Road and one continues north to Perrysville Avenue and eventually to merge into the mainline.

For more on the lanes, check our the North Hills Busway/North Hills Expressway HOV Lanes page over at Pittsburgh Highways.

 
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News

We’re Number One! Yet Again!

It is that time of the year commonly referred to as the holiday let down.  That period in the calendar when we go from ushering in a new year to hiding eggs.  People start looking forward to the Summer and vacation time it will bring. It is also that time of the year when the trucking industry magazine, Overdrive, releases the results of their latest “Worst Roads” survey. Sadly to say, we’re number one again.

For most of the 1990s, Pennsylvania held the dubious distinction of “Worst Roads” in the United States.  The state’s fortunes began to change in the late 1990s when Pennsylvania slid down to second place.

For the past decade, the number one slot has bounced between newcomers such as Arkansas and Louisiana. Pennsylvania has taken top, or bottom, billing 13 out of 19 years Overdrive has been conducting the survey. It takes the title back in 2009.  I find this distinction particularly amusing this year. The reason being the replacement or rehabilitation of all of the structurally deficient bridges thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  In fact, a Congressional committee named Pennsylvania as the top-ranked large state, third overall, for starting and completing projects funded by the ARRA.

States are not just judged by the conditions of their highway systems, but other things related to trucking.  Interstate 80 still retains the title of “Most Improved Road” from last year. However, in 2008 it was second under “Best Highway Segment” and forth under “Worst Highway Segment.”

Pennsylvania is number one once again in Overdrive's "Worst Roads" ranking even though Interstate 80 is still the "Most Improved Road."
Interstate 80 through Stroudsburg

Pennsylvania still retains third place for “Toughest on Truck Inspections and Law Enforcement.” A distinction it shares with Maryland this year. The strangest change is our truck stops. They went from third best to a tie with California and New York for third worst.  Now that’s some swing!

You’re probably wondering how something like that, or the aforementioned Interstate 80 ranking can happen. I learned from an editor with Overdrive the process of tallying the votes. Instead of averaging the good and bad scores, the good and bad are separated then averaged. That explains how Pennsylvania was second under “Worst Roads” and five under “Best Roads” one year.

Unfortunately no shout out this year for me or the website. It is just as well since Pennsylvania highways (the ones made of concrete and asphalt) are back on top, or bottom.

The Good, The Bad, The Better – Overdrive

 
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