I-99 Is An Abomination

Interstate 99 is an expressway in two parts between Bedford, Pennsylvania and Corning, New York, but there are a few things that make it an abomination in roadway design. It's been a sore spot since its creation around 1995 because of its quirks, the first being the most glaring.

  1. The road number is out of place.

The interstate system is numbered such that north/south interstates are odd numbers starting at 1 in the west to 99 in the east. There's the problem there already. I-99 is between I-79 and I-81, so there's no appropriate 2 digit number for it. However if you are a senior congressman who wants this road built, fuck 40 years of convention and just write this number into law! Hence the mocking name "The Bud Shuster Porkway" (referring to pork barrel politics).

This can be fixed by making it a 3 digit road with the last two digits based on an interstate it is spawned from. So turn this into I-#70 or I-#86 and it'll fit into the pattern. I suppose I-#76 would work but I-376 is in Pittsburgh, most of the others are in Philadelphia, and you can't repeat numbers in the same state.

  1. It ends in the middle of nowhere.

Weirdly enough, the longest part of the interstate doesn't end at either interstate it's close to. The southern end finishes at an interchange with US 220 Alternate, while the rest continues as US 220. US 220 Alternate is used to connect I-99 with the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-70 and I-76). The northern end stops about a quarter mile from I-80. Did they just put some new signs up and call it a day? There's no proper intersections with either interstate which is just wrong.

The northern section springs out of nowhere (well not nowhere as it's also US 15) at the New York-Pennsylvania border and ends at a proper interchange with I-86. Finally someone did something right!

  1. There's no reason for it to exist.

The southern section is US 220 for the whole length. The northern section is US 15 for the whole length. The bits in between are US 220 or US 15. The roads can be upgraded without having to designate it an interstate. Making it I-99 is just designation for its own sake.

I imagine none of these will be fixed but it's good to rage about these things if for no reason than to get it out of my system.

Day 42 of #100DaysToOffload

Tags: Transportation Rant