US 70, Day 13: Maryville, TN - Alma, AR


Okay, I'm not actually driving US 70 on the way back, but this keeps the topics together.

Monday night we went to see Knoxville's "Boomsday" Labor Day fireworks show. It's gigantic; certainly the biggest fireworks show I've ever seen. Its specialties are shaped fireworks (hearts, stars, smiley faces, and even rainbows), and a cascade of white fire off the Henley St. bridge into the river.

I suppose there won't be as much to talk about on the way back -- I'm driving the interstate, after all. I took US 129 to I-140 to I-40. I stopped briefly to get a picture of the end of US 321. As it heads south away from I-40, it's signed as "NORTH". At the east end of the state, it changes direction to SOUTH in Elizabethton. I think TennDOT should just call its section of US 321 EAST/WEST. It would make a lot more sense.

I made much better time on I-40 than I did in North Carolina. There were a few construction zones, but not much in the way of backups.

There's an awkward interchange on the east side of Memphis where I-40 has to exit on a one-lane ramp to go around the city. I-40 was originally planned to go through town on what is now Sam Cooper Blvd., but resident protests killed it. Given that, I really think the interchange should be rebuilt to favor the turn onto what was supposed to be I-240. On the other side of town, the ramp was widened to two lanes, but it's a rather awkward merge.

The I-40 bridge over the Mississippi is newer than the US 70/I-55 bridge, though I'm not sure of the year. The deck in the right hand is currently being rehabbed.

In Arkansas, I-40's pavement is in poor shape. It's mostly concrete, and the right lane is pretty bumpy from decades of truck traffic. A few areas are being rebuilt, though. Arkansas uses button copy signs (with little reflectors) like Arizona, but the newer signs seem to be just reflective sheeting.

I stopped for the night in Alma, AR, near Ft. Smith. I drove 681 miles today, for a total of 4380 (including 48 miles driven over the weekend).

Next day: 9/6
Previous day: 9/5
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