Saturday, April 28, 2007

Of Highways, Tolls, and Another Sign Goof

Denver, Colorado skyline from I-25 southbound - Click for larger view

Denver is the largest city for many miles around. Go east on I-70, and you have to get to Kansas City, Missouri before you encounter a city of any size. Go south on I-25, and its over 400 miles to Albuquerque, New Mexico. West, not much at all. Go to the end of I-70 and the take I-15 north to Salt Lake City, Utah or south to Las Vegas, Nevada. Head north, well, no cities of any significance. Cheyenne is 100 miles north, but it is not very large. Beyond that lies the Great White North.

So the Mile High City stands alone as the major metropolis of the Rocky Mountain West. Even so, it is not an enormous city. It does have an impressive skyline, and its freeways have undergone some badly needed renovations lately, most notably the Transportation Expansion Project, or TREX along I-25 south of town. TREX not only widened the freeway, but ran light rail service along the side of the highway.

From downtown north, I-25 lacks light rail, but instead has High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes. These lanes were formerly only for vehicles with 2 or more occupants. This resulted in the case where a man was caught with a blow up doll in the passenger seat, and auctioned it off on eBay for charity, as part of his punishment. Now the powers that be have figured out a different plan. Instead of prohibiting cars with only a driver, one may now buy their way into the HOV lanes. You can't pay with cash, but if you have a toll transponder(Express Toll), you can zip on into the HOV lanes and be on your way, no worries about a ticket. The Westpark Tollway in Houston uses a similar system; one must have a transponder (EZ-Tag). The difference is that even carpoolers have to pay on Westpark.

HOV Toll Signage in Downtown Denver

In my last post, I showed a sign goof on I-45 in Houston. Here is one on I-25 in Denver. I saw a similar sign on R-Dub's website, and as I zipped along today I saw this one near Invesco Field at Mile High, home of the Denver Broncos NFL football team:

Interstate "I-25"

What the heck is Interstate I-25. It should be just the numerals 25 in the shield. Hawaii has H prefixes, and I-35 has 35E and 35W in Dallas/Ft. Worth and in Minneapolis/St. Paul. But there is no such thing as Interstate I-25. Actually, I don't think CDOT put this one up. I think it was the Department of Redundancy Department.

A few posts down, I wrote about ghost ramps on the highway. There was one on the ramp from eastbound US 36 to southbound I-25. This is the opposing ramp, I-25 NB to US 36 WB. This is notable for a couple of reasons. First, the little green sign is a bit unusual. I have not seen signs like this in many places, showing the two highways and directions the ramp you are on connects. But also, look in the background. That is the main freeway where US 36 feeds into Interstate 270. There is a mast for a bank of big green signs, but no signs are mounted on it. I imagine that eventually, CDOT will get around to putting something up there. But for now, it stands, a naked mast with no signs.

As for the sign in the foreground, something appeals to me visually about the post. It is side mounted on the barrier (see the 4 bolts holding it on?), and curves upward in symmetry to the arrow on the yellow sign. I guess art and aesthetics are where ever you find them.

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