Tag Archives: highway

360 NB to MoPac NB

360 to MoPac On-ramp

360 to MoPac On-ramp

When heading north on 360 and connecting to MoPac northbound, you head downhill and hit the bottom near the MoPac overpass. Then you have to drive uphill to get onto MoPac. This hill isn’t a challenge. If I can get up to highway speed in a 22-year-old sedan with a 114 HP 4-cylinder, then your V8 pickups and POS Corollas are more than capable of getting there (maybe if you have one of those 70 HP Smart cars, then you have an excuse). I mean, seriously, you need to be AT highway speed at the end of the on-ramp! It does give me a good excuse to blow out the carbon though. It is quite satisfying to floor it up the hill in third gear while flying past them while still way under the speed limit once we’re all on MoPac (because these idiots are going 40 MPH once they get on the highway). These slowpokes have no business driving.

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US290 to RM2222

Sign 1: RM2222, Airport Blvd, and I-35 NB

Sign 1: RM2222, Airport Blvd, and I-35 NB

US 290 becomes RM2222 at I-35. The first sign you’ll see tells you what lane you want to be in. This is far more descriptive than most of the road signs in Austin already, but the logic is still flawed. Go up a little and the I-35 northbound ramp branches off, but that particular lane continues. The next sign comes up.

Sign 2: Airport Blvd

Sign 2: Airport Blvd

Oh snap! If you were in the middle lane and you weren’t paying attention, you would have missed your exit. The middle lane was clearly not an “Exit Only” lane. The left two lanes actually continue to RM2222 which after the interchange becomes a 4-lane city street called Koenig (pronounced KAY-nig) Lane. If you missed the Airport Blvd exit, you will have a helluva time getting back unless you pull a U-Turn when the road becomes undivided. An overhead view shows that there is a rail line that runs parallel to Airport Blvd and there’s no way to cross it until you get to a major street. Good job, guys!


Why must you slow down?

MoPac between 360 and 71

MoPac between 360 and 71

The section of MoPac between TX360 and TX71 has to be a mini Bermuda Triangle. For some reason traffic just slows the hell down to 55 or 60 MPH from 65 MPH. The speed limit is still 65 MPH, but everyone just slows down. It’s just incredible every time I drive down this stretch of MoPac that the slowness happens. It’s not a very confusing area except for a left-hand exit, which is clearly marked way in advance (unlike other interchanges). It’s quite the mystery.


This sign big enough for you?

Left lane US183

Left lane US183

You’d think something as important as trying to get on the highway would require a large sign to get your attention. Nope! Why waste something like that on an overhead sign when a 3 foot sign in the median would work just fine like this one at US183 and Braker Lane? That’s a nice big FU from the transportation department.


The left lane is not a breakdown lane

The left lane is known as the “fast lane”. It’s a generally accepted rule here in America. You should at least go the speed limit in the left lane. This one moron I encountered today must have missed the memo. This person obviously knew they were having car troubles because the hazards were on. The car was moving at 55 MPH, which isn’t too terribly slow for a disabled vehicle, but it’s still 10 MPH under the speed limit. Now I don’t know why the driver thought the left lane was the appropriate place to be driving because I wished a cop would issue a ticket for an unauthorized parade on a highway because of the backup. Now common sense would dictate that you don’t drive a disabled vehicle on the highway and if you do, stay in the right-hand lane! I don’t even comprehend how driving a disabled vehicle in the fast lane is a good idea.


Unmarked exit on MoPac

Unmarked exit on MoPac

Unmarked exit on MoPac

Every time I drive north on MoPac I pass this unmarked exit just south of US183. The exit only puts traffic on the frontage road, but the frontage road doesn’t intersect any other road until it passes US183 and gets to Loop 360. Both US183 and Loop 360 have dedicated marked exits so I’m not sure what this exit is for. The exit lane from MoPac becomes the left-most lane on the frontage road, which then becomes an on-ramp for US183 (for northbound traffic coming from Steck Avenue/Anderson Lane/Spicewood Springs Drive). Once on the on-ramp and flyover, the two left lanes are for US183 northbound and a single right lane (the on-ramp lane) becomes the US183 southbound exit lane.

I believe it would be in good intentions if this unmarked exit was marked as the US183 southbound exit from MoPac since it pretty much puts traffic into the US183 southbound exit lane on the flyover anyways. That way there isn’t a giant kerfuffle at the actual US183 exit (people just don’t understand how to maintain their speeds at that point).


I-35 On-Ramps

Downtown Austin has the shortest on-ramps.

Downtown Austin has the shortest on-ramps.

The on-ramps on I-35 through downtown Austin are relics of a time past when interstate travel was sparse and leisurely. Today, it’s a total fustercluck. The short on and off ramps are antiquated with so much traffic. Even with sparse traffic you just hope some inattentive moron isn’t going to block you from getting on the highway.

So short!

So short!

The above view is another shot from Google Street View showing the on-ramp at Cesar Chavez. Google Street View usually have a wide angle which makes things look farther away than they actually are. The on-ramp lane in the image shows it being really short. If it looks short in an image that’s suppose to make it look longer, then it must be short in real-life!

It’s so short that if you go up to highway speed, you need to get off the damn freeway immediately! And if someone doesn’t move over for you, then you’re getting off the highway and getting back on again at the next on-ramp (after a couple traffic lights). You could be one of those entitled weenies who just stop on the on-ramp and wait it out. At that point I hope some truck passes you while on the upper deck and the wake causes your stupid car to fly off. No, I’m not bitter at all.

There has been plans of burying I-35 through downtown and having a wide boulevard run on top of it with just one set of on and off ramps at both ends of the zone. What would be cheaper is to just build these endzone on and off ramps with a long lead and close off all the exits between Cesar Chavez and MLK. Six access ramps within a mile is overkill. It would totally be a lot cheaper to accomplish these end-zone access ramps as well. But what do I know, I’m not a civil engineer.