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Thread: A Unique Road

  1. #1
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    Default A Unique Road

    Normally when we suggest routes and state "Use (say) MO/AR-5", we mean use MO-5 until you cross into Arkansas and then use AR-5 (or vice-versa). But if I tell you to use DE/MD-54, I am telling you to use exactly the same road. Since this road follows the state line, the centerline of the road demarcates the state boundary (also known as the 'Transpeninsular Line'), so that if you pass somebody along this highway, you have changed states twice, once when crossing the centerline to pass and once when re-crossing it back into your travel lane. If you are in the west-bound lane, it is marked as DE-54. If you are in the east-bound lane, it is marked as MD-54. BTW, this is not Delaware's only boundary quirk.

    AZBuck

  2. #2
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    Default That is some very cool road trip trivia!

    That is some very cool road trip trivia!

    How does the state patrol work along this stretch? Is it patrolled by both state police departments?

    Mark

  3. #3
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    Default Just a Guess

    I don't know for sure, but since the road is marked as two different state highways, I would assume that the appropriate state police patrol their respective sides of it. If you think about it, most patrols just sit by the side of the road with a radar gun (Delaware also used lidar the last I knew) and only chase down violators using a single lane, that would work. But they'd have to return to their patrol point by driving through the other state.

    Just a teaser on my other point. Most people would say that Delaware's western boundary with Maryland is a straight north/south (more or less) line. In fact, it's three separate lines: a more or less north/south line, an arc segment, and a true north/south line. Since it was surveyed by Mason and Dixon as part of the boundary between lands belonging to the Calverts (Maryland) and land owned by the Penns (Pennsylvania, of which Delaware was the 'lower three counties' at the time) Delaware is the only state that can claim to be neither north nor south, but east of the Mason-Dixon line.

    AzBuck

  4. #4
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    Default

    I know you don't like Wikipedia, but this article discusses the road in detail with maintenance responsibilities:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Route_54_(Maryland–Delaware)

    I don't know if patrol is the same, but I suspect it may be.

    Another border anomaly is there are actually parts of Delaware on the NJ side of the river. Within the 12 Mile Circle (search for it) the boundary was officially established as the mean low water line on the eastern shore of the river instead of down the middle of the river, which is customary elsewhere. Some of it is actually dry land now. You can see this on maps.

  5. #5
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    Default The Arc and Its Consequences

    Yes, one of the things William Penn insisted on in his land grant from the King of England was that there be a circle with a 12 mile radius centered on the New Castle town hall's cupola as part of the boundary. This was to insure that Philadelphia had unhindered access to the Atlantic. So, between Pennsylvania and New Jersey (outside the 12 mile circle) the state line is defined (as is normal) by the thalweg (or deepest part of the channel) of the river.

    Within the 12 mile circle, the boundary is defined as the mean low tide mark on the New Jersey side. Then south of the 12 mile circle, the boundary reverts to the thalweg. The two pieces of Delaware on the New Jersey side are both the result of lands built up from dredging the river after the boundary had been determined. The boundary remains the same even if the river or lands change. There are numerous examples of this along the lower Mississippi River where bits of states on either side get cut off from their 'home' when the river changes course.

    And finally, there's the infamous 'Wedge' in Delaware's northeastern corner. Well it's infamous if, like me, you grew up in northern Delaware. Delaware has actually had to go to the Supreme Court several times, and with each of its neighboring states, to have their boundaries adjudicated. Delaware has won every time.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
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    Default Another one

    My favorite little road numbering oddity like that is for MN-23.

    A small section of the road actually goes through Wisconsin, but it is still considered MN-23. It's just south of Duluth, as the highway leaves Jay Cooke State Park, it crosses into WI for 1/2 a mile or so, before crossing the St. Louis river back into MN.

    If you look on google, there are even a couple businesses on that stretch, whose addresses are MN-23, Superior Wi

  7. #7
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    Default I bet the common carriers love that stretch,

    I bet the common carriers love that stretch, since the dispatch offices are state based for both UPS/FedEx and the USPS

  8. #8
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    Default

    We all know how Interstate highways are numbered - there are 2 of them that are out of place. One is I-99. Unlike most Interstate Highway numbers, which were assigned by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to fit into a grid, I-99's number was written into Section 332 of the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 by Bud Shuster, then-chair of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the bill's sponsor, and the representative of the district through which the highway runs. I-99 violates the AASHTO numbering convention associated with Interstate Highways, as it should lie to the east of I-97 but instead lies east of I-79 and west of I-81. The other one is I-238 in the SF Bay area, it's only a couple miles long and connects I-880 to I-580. There is no parent I-38. The numbering of I-238 does not fit within the usual conventions of existing three-digit auxiliary Interstate Highways, where a single digit is prefixed to the two-digit number of its parent Interstate Highway. The I-238 number was specifically requested by the State of California so it could match the California Streets and Highways Code, and because at the time of the numbering all three-digit combinations of I-80 (the primary two-digit Interstate in the Bay Area) were being used in the state.

  9. #9
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    Default One More

    There's also a short segment of TN/VA-1 in Bristol, which straddles the state line. But it's only a couple of dozen city blocks long which I don't think of as a 'highway' or 'road', but rather a 'street'.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-14-2020 at 04:39 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Road Geeks Abide

    I used to be e in touch with these guys -- but they have taken being a road geek to a whole new level.

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