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jniehof
03-12-2009, 08:27 AM
(Split from the stimulus bill thread (http://vftt.org/forums/showpost.php?p=267927&postcount=9))

Funny that you should suggest this idea, as before the 1964 Wilderness Act and the designation of the Pemi Wilderness later in the 1960s, there was a strong lobbying effort to build a road right through the Pemi, on top of the Wilderness, Shoal Pond, and Ethan Pond Trails, through Zealand Notch, to join the Zealand Road. These were some of the same lobbyists who succeeded in getting the Kancamagus Highway built a few years earlier.
Pemi was designated in '84 (NH WA). Just sayin' :) Great Gulf was under the original WA, and Presi/Dry River under the original Eastern WA.

The scope of the mountain highways "planned" (or at least pipe-dreamed) is staggering. Blasting through the Castellated Ridge is a personal "favourite." Gene Daniell occasionally mentions this sort of thing in interviews...he probably knows as much about these plans as anyone.

I do imagine what it be like if the Kanc were closed, or never had happened. Would certainly be a very different experience, although I suppose few "standard" 4k approaches would be modified. Hancocks the most, and the Lincoln Slide route for Owl's Head would likely have stuck around.

I also wonder why the Kanc was put on the route it is (largely on top of a trail cut by the AMC to connect the Waterville Valley and Conway trail systems) while the Livermore Road slowly fizzled. Increased importance of 3 as a connection to the population centers of the south?

giggy
03-12-2009, 08:31 AM
dude - if they can blast a tunnel through Mont Blanc from Italy to France, pretty sure they could do one on the castellated ridge.

which is more impressive:

http://image06.webshots.com/6/6/64/74/79166474fGcJvU_ph.jpg

or

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1221/1387766449_896e1d6e64.jpg?v=0

Mattl
03-12-2009, 09:03 AM
The highways in some ways are sad, yes it makes it easy to get into the mountains and just jump out of the car and hike, but it also changes the feeling of the White Mountains. Looking off Franconia Ridge to the east and you see virtually no signs of man, and then below you to the west in 93, with cars busting though. Such a large roadless area as the pemi feels different because of the highway even though it could be the same size if say a road half as busy and major was there, in the same location. For instance up in northern Maine many consider it the only true semi wilderness in New England, yet besides the area around Katahdin, most of the roadless areas in the Whites are far bigger then anything in Maine, because of all the logging roads everywhere, but does it feel like it? You can be on a major highway one minute in Lincoln, going through a tour trap ski town, then in a huge unbroken forest where one can walk 15 miles without hitting a driveable road. I think that the feeling of the forest is drastically changed by its surroundings, like the Pemi. Say we took out 93, the Kanc, 302, and 16, and replaced them with either trails, or small roads with a speed limit of 35, some dirt. What would the Whites feel like then?

-Mattl

ferrisjrf
03-12-2009, 09:09 AM
Say we took out 93, the Kanc, 302, and 16, and replaced them with either trails, or small roads with a speed limit of 35, some dirt. What would the Whites feel like then?

The Adirondacks?

peakbagger
03-12-2009, 09:11 AM
A more recent proposal is Interstate 92 from Waterville Maine to New York roughly following the RT 2 alignment for the majority of the route. NH and VT are opposed and prefer to just upgrade RT 2 with passing lanes as needed, but the topic comes up every few years driven by construction interests and economic development folks on the Maine and Canadian end as this route would be the shortest route between the Maritimes and Southern Ontario.

One of the possible routes through the whites discussed was to route the new interstate through the Pond of Safety area in Jefferson and North of Berlin then across Success Township and eventually tie back into the RT 2 corridor in the Rumford area.

TDawg
03-12-2009, 10:11 AM
Or how about if I-93, instead went the other proposed route when it was being built? Following (roughly) the path of the present day power line, past Bog Pond and through a low point in Kinsman Ridge north of Mt. Wolf over into Easton. Leaving Franconia Notch how it was...

Franconia maybe would of had the same feel of Evans Notch, just a winding country road. (if that's how it was, I'm too young to know from experience :o) Or maybe like Crawford? But, I can't complain because the present day Franconia Notch is all I've ever known.

RoySwkr
03-12-2009, 10:17 AM
According to one of Paul Doherty's books, the Kanc was pushed by Forest Supervisor G.L.Graham who wanted a similar road built up the Wild River valley. I can remember when the Kanc was gated during snowstorms and only plowed as time permitted, after some years of not being plowed at all. Wilderness philosopher Phil Levin suggested that if all trailheads on the Kanc were closed it would make the Pemi area seem much wilder.

According to one of the logging railroad books, the Zealand RR was chartered as an ordinary RR not a logging RR with the thought that it might become a mainline to Concord - surely it nearly connected to the Pemi lines. During the debate about I-93 in Franconia Notch various alternates were studied including Zealand Notch and even 13 Falls, but the powerline corridor N of Mt Wolf was probably the most serious.

TDawg
03-12-2009, 10:24 AM
...and even 13 Falls, but the powerline corridor N of Mt Wolf was probably the most serious.

13 Falls?!? Would they have tunneled under Garfield?

--M.
03-12-2009, 10:50 AM
According to one of the logging railroad books, the Zealand RR was chartered as an ordinary RR not a logging RR with the thought that it might become a mainline to Concord - surely it nearly connected to the Pemi lines. During the debate about I-93 in Franconia Notch various alternates were studied including Zealand Notch and even 13 Falls, but the powerline corridor N of Mt Wolf was probably the most serious.

Just finishing that book up now; you beat me to it (http://vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=28463).

Apparently, the quality of the construction of the East Branch & Lincoln and other later roadbeds was so high that ignoring them was impossible when it came time for the Kanc to be put in. It follows EB&L lines past the hairpin and the Swift River Railroad down to Conway.

The Wild River lines were the earliest and least durable (it is indeed a wild river); maybe their roads wouldn't have stood up like Henry's.

It's funny how these roads evolved. Can anyone comment on the drivers behind getting the Kanc done? The logging RRs came specifically because of the NH legislature's decision to divest itself of "all the state's public lands for the benefit of a 'literary fund' for common school maintenance" (Belcher, p. 4). What drives the debate? Clearly, it was in neither case a literary fund.

David Metsky
03-12-2009, 10:57 AM
Franconia maybe would of had the same feel of Evans Notch, just a winding country road. (if that's how it was, I'm too young to know from experience :o) Or maybe like Crawford?
Rt 3 through Franconia Notch was the major thoroughfare, so it got a lot of traffic. There were/are 18-wheelers going through there at all hours so it never was a quiet winding country road. Frankly, what they did with the parkway isn't really a major change, IMO.

Tom Rankin
03-12-2009, 11:42 AM
Rt 3 through Franconia Notch was the major thoroughfare, so it got a lot of traffic. There were/are 18-wheelers going through there at all hours so it never was a quiet winding country road. Frankly, what they did with the parkway isn't really a major change, IMO.Good point, how often do you see an Interstate highway slow down to 45 and become one lane?

rocket21
03-12-2009, 11:48 AM
how often do you see an Interstate highway slow down to 45 and become one lane?

Pretty much everytime I use 495 or 93 during construction season :)

DougPaul
03-12-2009, 01:06 PM
Franconia maybe would of had the same feel of Evans Notch, just a winding country road. (if that's how it was, I'm too young to know from experience :o) Or maybe like Crawford? But, I can't complain because the present day Franconia Notch is all I've ever known.
When I started hiking in the Whites (1971), Rte 3 ran through Franconia Notch. Whitehouse Bridge parking lot was just a dirt lot off Rte 3 (located near where the bike path passes under 93).

Rte 3 was just 2 lanes, paved. (You can sample a bit from Woodstock to the new Whitehouse trailhead (just N of the Flume). There is another section on the east side the junction of Rte 18 and Rte 93 (exit 34C) heading N for a mile or so before it dead ends. It has some nice views and is part of the bike path.)

So 93 mostly means more traffic plus heavy trucks and parking lots set back from the road. Current Evans Notch is much wilder than Franconia Notch was back then.

Doug

rocket21
03-12-2009, 01:20 PM
Current Evans Notch is much wilder than Franconia Notch was back then.


Wha?

http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s37/willowt1/2006/IMG_6354.jpg

wardsgirl
03-12-2009, 01:44 PM
Yup! Back in the day, young wardsgirl's parents would head for the mountains and visit places like Clark's Trading Post and the Old Man of the Mountains. That was in the late 60s. The road was definitely a narrow one! Does anyone remember when the present 'parkway' was built? I seem to remember driving on a gravel surface for awhile.

David Metsky
03-12-2009, 02:33 PM
Does anyone remember when the present 'parkway' was built? I seem to remember driving on a gravel surface for awhile.
Construction started in 1982 and finished in June 1988.

Hillwalker
03-12-2009, 03:20 PM
I remember when my dad took us all up to see the landslide that closed Franconia Notch in 1948. Now whenever I take the Greenleaf trail I have memories of that scene. The trail crosses the slide path and you can still tell.

My dad also was on the crew that cut the right of way for the Kancamagus back around 1946 or so. My grandfather and I would go fly fishing up in there while he cut trees for 12 hours. Then we would all ride home together and eat native Brookies for dinner.

It's getting so that if it weren't for flashbacks I wouldn't have any memories at all:p

Mattl
03-12-2009, 04:01 PM
Hillwalker did you fish the streams or ponds? Lily Pond used to be a very good trout pond before the Kanc ruined it. They let the dam out and it filled with sediments.

Trail Bandit
03-12-2009, 04:08 PM
I remember my father taking me fishing in the Swift River along the Kanc. back in the early 1950s. We had an old Model A Ford (I think), with a rumble seat (I am sure). It was a dirt road and it ended, going up the east side of the hill, at a logging camp. The trout fishing was great. I still have a few memories where there was film in the camera. I think life was better then. There were no people to speak of.

Hillwalker
03-12-2009, 06:46 PM
Hillwalker did you fish the streams or ponds? Lily Pond used to be a very good trout pond before the Kanc ruined it. They let the dam out and it filled with sediments.


I remember my father taking me fishing in the Swift River along the Kanc. back in the early 1950s. We had an old Model A Ford (I think), with a rumble seat (I am sure). It was a dirt road and it ended, going up the east side of the hill, at a logging camp. The trout fishing was great. I still have a few memories where there was film in the camera. I think life was better then. There were no people to speak of.

Matt: I was only eight or nine years old, I have no idea now, where we fished then. It was all woods to me. You know, I don't remember being bothered by Black Flies then. I do remember not being to have lights on at night much because the no-see-ums would come into the house and make you feel like you were on fire. No window screens in those days.

Bandit: I agree that life was better then and I still rarely speak to people;) We lived in Conway in the White Farm House beside the Saco River covered bridge until 1949.

Waumbek
03-12-2009, 07:46 PM
Or how about if I-93, instead went the other proposed route when it was being built? Following (roughly) the path of the present day power line, past Bog Pond and through a low point in Kinsman Ridge north of Mt. Wolf over into Easton. Leaving Franconia Notch how it was...

Franconia maybe would of had the same feel of Evans Notch, just a winding country road. (if that's how it was, I'm too young to know from experience :o) Or maybe like Crawford? But, I can't complain because the present day Franconia Notch is all I've ever known.

Franconia Notch was no longer "pristine" in the sense that the Evans Notch and, to a lesser degree, Grafton Notch still are. As long as Cannon ski was there, the traffic would be there as well. It made no sense to disperse the traffic pattern so that both the Notch and the Easton Valley were able to carry high volumes. 116 residents waged a major and effective campaign against such nonsense. But, in turn, there was resistance to a full-scale interstate upgrade in the Notch, and you see the compromise today--no cloverleaf exit at Lafayette Place, two lanes not four, and the center barrier. All that kind of interstate nonsense would have wrecked some important and historic features of the Notch. As one who used to white-knuckle through winter storms in the Notch with a rear wheel drive car with no snow tires, the center barrier was a relief, but it has not been good for wildlife. Franconia Notch has always (at least since 1805) been a compromise between nature and culture, including hordes of hikers, and the configuration of I-93 fits within that pattern.

Dr. Dasypodidae
03-12-2009, 10:51 PM
I remember when my dad took us all up to see the landslide that closed Franconia Notch in 1948. Now whenever I take the Greenleaf trail I have memories of that scene. The trail crosses the slide path and you can still tell.


Attached are a few pics from one of my geology talks that include a shot of Donald H. Chapman (deceased), my undergrad geo professor at UNH, standing on the toe of the 1959 slide across Rt. 3. I am working on a paper with two colleagues summarizing a 12,000-yr sediment record from Profile Lake documenting historic and pre-historic landslides off Walker Ridge and Eagle Cliff onto the floor of Franconia Notch. One of the pics is from Cannon Cliff before the Parkway was constructed, the only section of the Inter-state highway system that is not four lanes, I believe. A number of the local climbing guides feel that increased truck traffic after the highway reconstruction loosened up rock on the cliff even more than previously, and I think that this change may have hastened the collapse of the Old Man. There are also many who disagree with me on this idea.

andrewb
03-12-2009, 11:24 PM
One of the pics is from Cannon Cliff before the Parkway was constructed, the only section of the Inter-state highway system that is not four lanes, I believe. A

I am relatively sure that the term "parkway" was not a typo on all the signs put up in the 1980s for the new road through Franconia Notch, but rather to differentiate it from the "highway". This would be done specifically to circumvent the federal requirements for what an interstate highway is supposed to be (minimum design speed, curve radius, two or more lanes, etc). Otherwise they would have had to raze the entire rich geological area.

Then again I am not certain, for while the exits start over at 1 on the parkway, the mile posts do not reset to zero. I was under the impression that the while on state park land, the interstate stopped, making 93 non-contiguous.

If anybody knows for sure about this status of the parkway a section of interstate (not that it really matters in the grand scheme) I'd like to know.

rocket21
03-13-2009, 05:17 AM
If anybody knows for sure about this status of the parkway a section of interstate (not that it really matters in the grand scheme) I'd like to know.

According to Wikipedia (so it must be fact, right? :) ), I-93 becomes a "super-2" parkway through Franconia, but is still nonetheless I-93. I believe most, if not all (with the exception of three digits) Interstates are continuous (whereas US designated routes, such as US-2, are not).

David Metsky
03-13-2009, 06:59 AM
IIRC when the parkway first opened the mile markets did indeed reset and the exits were numbered 1, 2, and 3. Only later did it become truly part of I-93. There was a section of I-90 in Idaho that did a similar thing, it even had a traffic light. But I think that section of road has been upgraded.

carole
03-13-2009, 07:02 AM
I am relatively sure that the term "parkway" was not a typo on all the signs put up in the 1980s for the new road through Franconia Notch, but rather to differentiate it from the "highway".

Intermission: Why is it we drive on a 'parkway' and park on a 'driveway'?:confused::D:D

Back to your regularly scheduled discussion. (Which is great by the way.)

Trail Bandit
03-13-2009, 07:36 AM
[QUOTE= Why is it we drive on a 'parkway' and park on a 'driveway'?:confused::D:D

That is a very interesting point. It probably has it's roots in the fact that we use one of the most confusing language in the world. There is a great book "The Giant Panda Eats Shoots and Leaves". With a little punctuation added, it can be "The Giant Panda Eats, Shoots, and Leaves."
Sorry for the digression.

jniehof
03-13-2009, 09:05 AM
If anybody knows for sure about this status of the parkway a section of interstate (not that it really matters in the grand scheme) I'd like to know.
Somewhere in one of the Wikipedia pages I linked out to the FHWA regulation that specifically exempts FNP from Interstate requirements, allowing I-93 to be continuous. John Allen's page on the bike path (http://john-s-allen.com/galleries/franconia/index.htm) has some comments on the history, including pictures from Yours Truly (with captions taken straight out of my email to him, thus a little chattier than I'd normally put on the web). Cramming an awful lot through a narrow, environmentally sensitive space...my favourite quote is "20-year campaign of the State of NH to complete I-93, more or less over the dead body of the Appalachian Mountain Club."

RoySwkr
03-13-2009, 09:07 AM
IIRC when the parkway first opened the mile markets did indeed reset and the exits were numbered 1, 2, and 3. Only later did it become truly part of I-93.
I agree with this statement although I can't prove it, the I-93 markers in the notch were relatively recent.

When first built there was no divider in the center at the request of the environmental groups, but there were plastic wands to discourage U-turns. The center guardrail came later, perhaps when it became I-93?

I think there could have been more improvements such as parking at the A.T. crossing, and an overpass at Lafayette Place that would ultimately save a lot of gas.

RoySwkr
03-13-2009, 09:16 AM
So 93 mostly means more traffic plus heavy trucks and parking lots set back from the road.
Not only are there defined parking lots rather than random roadside picnic tables, they are fewer and bigger.

As to trucks, I'm not sure that 93 increased traffic (how else do you get to North Country which is mostly in decline rather than growth mode) but it did improve traffic flow via more climbing lanes and less entering/turning traffic.



Current Evans Notch is much wilder than Franconia Notch was back then.

There is a story that the Crawford Notch RR would have gone through Evans Notch except for a surveyor who didn't want to disturb his favorite place, but I disbelieve it because it's too far out of the way. Basically Evens Notch is not on a major traffic corridor hence will tend to be less developed.

DrewKnight
03-13-2009, 09:37 AM
The road was definitely a narrow one! Does anyone remember when the present 'parkway' was built? I seem to remember driving on a gravel surface for awhile.

Definitely, Wardsgirl... I was in college at PSC then, and was (in my young/dumb way) more or less against the whole idea of the parkway... partially because I liked it the way it was, and partially because I had heard some abstract discussion that the vibration from construction or more truck traffic could hasten the demise of the Old Man (OK, so that happened, but probably not hastened by the parkway).

In the fullness of time, it seems to me that the parkway was a very good thing both from a safety perspective and from an aesthetic perspective. It just works. As Dave says, not much different than the Old Route 3, but IMHO, an improvement none the less.

rocket21
03-13-2009, 09:41 AM
Of course this discussion makes me think about Interstate 92 and Interstate 94, had they happened...

rocket21
03-13-2009, 09:43 AM
In regard to I-93 through Franconia Notch, according to interstate-guide.com:


The section of Interstate 93 that runs along the two-lane Franconia Notch Parkway is technically not a part of Interstate 93, as it does not meet current Interstate standards. It was constructed as a compromise between the park service and highway department, and as such it is mostly signed as U.S. 3 and "TO" Interstate 93 (with some exceptions). When originally constructed, the Franconia Notch Parkway carried its own exit numbers (1, 2, and 3) separate from mainline Interstate 93. However, this was changed in 2002; according to Jeffrey Moss, the exit numbers are now continuous with mainline Interstate 93. This change was made because the transition from the freeway to the parkway is nearly invisible to the motoring public (aside from brown guide signs and the narrowing of the freeway to two lanes), so it made more sense to keep the exit numbers consistent.

RollingRock
03-13-2009, 10:48 AM
The road was definitely a narrow one! Does anyone remember when the present 'parkway' was built? I seem to remember driving on a gravel surface for awhile.

I recall building the highway through Franconia Notch was highly controversial and it took quite a few years to get it off the ground. The AMC was quite involved with this process. It was a horror show :eek: driving through while it was being built. I was very concerned how the end product would be since I really liked the narrow road. Lafayette Campground actually had a wilderness feel to it until I-93 came through!

Kevin Rooney
03-13-2009, 11:07 AM
I think that, despite all the wrangling that went into the design process, and all the traffic pressures, that the end result was a good compromise. Yes, nobody wants a highway thru their favorite playground, but unless/until we change our preferred mode of transportation, roads have to be built somewhere and this one was done which preserved, as much as possible, the nature and character of the notch. Of those trails which had to be re-routed, perhaps Greenleaf is the one which suffered most, as the lower sections seems to slab along the contour for a rather long time until it begins to climb away from the highway.

DougPaul
03-13-2009, 11:47 AM
Not only are there defined parking lots rather than random roadside picnic tables, they are fewer and bigger.
And farther from where some of the trails come out... (eg Liberty Spring)


As to trucks, I'm not sure that 93 increased traffic (how else do you get to North Country which is mostly in decline rather than growth mode) but it did improve traffic flow via more climbing lanes and less entering/turning traffic.
My recollection is that one of the arguments for running 93 through the notch was that it was better for heavy trucking than the prior arrangement (which I thought required them to go around the notch).

The new road itself is certainly better for traffic than the old road.

Doug

MichaelJ
03-13-2009, 11:52 AM
My recollection is that one of the arguments for running 93 through the notch was that it was better for heavy trucking than the prior arrangement (which I thought required them to go around the notch)

I seem to recall reading something that said it was either going to be Franconia Notch or Kinsman Notch; that to bank off early enough to go around the far side of Moosilauke and up to Franconia would have been far more unwieldy, and would have left Woodstock/Lincoln too isolated as well as being too close to I-91 to be worth it.

The Hikers
03-13-2009, 04:50 PM
As one who remembers fishing on the Kanc when it was dirt, I also remember the amount of time it took us to GET to the pleasures of the lakes and mountains in those days.
I am happy that we are able to get to trailheads on good roads and get out there hiking all the sooner.

4Khiker
03-13-2009, 07:34 PM
The center lane guardrail on the FN Parkway went up in the mid-1990s after there were a couple of fatal head-on collisions in the Notch, one involving a large family from Mass. (?) and the other a local man from Lincoln. The effort to have the guardrail barrier installed was spearheaded by a Littleton area attorney who strongly felt the Parkway, as originally built with no center barrier, was a major hazard, especially in winter when the Notch becomes a treacherous place due to the frequent ice and snow storms. While working for the Littleton newspaper at the time, I wrote numerous stories about this issue and covered several public meetings held at Cannon Mountain. I may be mistaken, but I think I was the first reporter to write about the attorney's concerns about the Parkway and inadvertently helped him gather local support for the barrier and persuade the state to erect the guardrails. Interestingly, there have been no fatal head-on crashes in the Notch since the guardrail barrier went up. There may have been one or two fatal car-moose collisions, but certainly no head-ons.

RoySwkr
03-14-2009, 08:56 AM
Of those trails which had to be re-routed, perhaps Greenleaf is the one which suffered most, as the lower sections seems to slab along the contour for a rather long time until it begins to climb away from the highway.
Skookumchuck has an even longer parallel section, not to mention Liberty Spring/Cascade Brook where you have to walk to the former trailhead. And then there's the middle trail to Mount Pemigewasset which was cut off by the highway and never reconnected.

All in all, the new road was not convenient for trails in the Notch, one of the first indications that the AMC was becoming hiker-unfriendly when they encouraged this to happen.

Kevin Rooney
03-14-2009, 10:03 AM
Skookumchuck has an even longer parallel section, not to mention Liberty Spring/Cascade Brook where you have to walk to the former trailhead. And then there's the middle trail to Mount Pemigewasset which was cut off by the highway and never reconnected.

I don't mind the re-route of the Skookumchuck and Liberty Springs trails as they travel over relatively smooth ground. Greenleaf's re-route is over a jumble of rocks. Not much choice of terrrain, however. You get what you get in these situations.

David Metsky
03-14-2009, 05:37 PM
All in all, the new road was not convenient for trails in the Notch, one of the first indications that the AMC was becoming hiker-unfriendly when they encouraged this to happen.
I don't think that's a fair assessment of the AMC in this case or long term. The highway was going through - there was going to be an impact to the hiking trails and these changes weren't all that drastic. More people hike with the AMC now then ever have.

Waumbek
03-14-2009, 05:52 PM
I don't think that's a fair assessment of the AMC in this case or long term. The highway was going through - there was going to be an impact to the hiking trails and these changes weren't all that drastic. More people hike with the AMC now then ever have.

Agree. The configuration of the I-93 Parkway was a complicated but, I think, ultimately successful compromise. There's no simple delineation between "good guys" and "bad guys." Among other things, the deal left 116 in the Easton Valley the relatively quiet two-lane road that has become a cyclist's paradise in a valley largely unspoiled by starter castles and McMansions (although there are a handful of those). Other than a few lodgings, there's an 11-mile stretch with no commercial establishments. And when hiking becomes about shorter and "convenient" trails that aren't too rocky or whatever, it's time to head west to the pack trails.

RoySwkr
03-18-2009, 07:11 PM
I don't think that's a fair assessment of the AMC in this case or long term. The highway was going through - there was going to be an impact to the hiking trails and these changes weren't all that drastic. More people hike with the AMC now then ever have.

Obviously thousands of hikers think the AMC is beneficial and belong and other thousands think it isn't and don't, I will limit my response to particular issues in the Whites on which the AMC is/was hiker-unfriendly mostly for no apparent reason.

In the case of the Notch highway, surely spending an additional pittance for a wider bridge at Lafayette Place so cars wouldn't have to make 2 additional trips through the most sensitive part of the Notch would have been good for both hikers and the environment. Building a parking lot at the A.T. crossing (perhaps even with pay phone) so thru-hikers would have a place to be picked up would have been a great boon to hikers with little greater environmental impact than putting it by the Flume, but the A.T. has always been of minor concern to the AMC except as a source of trailwork grants.

As to other hiker issues the AMC has ignored, instead of insisting of a 1-for-1 replacement of removed shelters with new ones in less sensitive locations the AMC has been glad to get rid of this free competition to the huts. The AMC has not objected to the summit sign removal in the WMNF in spite of good evidence that hikers prefer them - what percentage of group shots on Katahdin show the sign? And when the WMNF decides to enforce their guideline of no groups over 4 to Isolation and Owls Head, both AMC trip leaders and families of 5 will choke.

smitty77
03-19-2009, 10:50 AM
My earliest recollections of the construction was back in 1982 when it began. At the start of my first overnight backpack up Liberty, it was a small ordeal just finding the beginning of the trail. I don't know if it was the original liberty parking area, or if it was temporarily relocated due to construction, but the parking area was very close to the northbound Parkway bridge across Cascade Brook (the bridge was only abutments and girders at the time) and the trail crossed Cascade Brook right out of the parking area, but there were no rocks to hop on or any bridge across, and the water was more than a foot deep at the time. We had to walk to the newer southbound side of the Parkway, cross Cascade Brook via the road bridge, and whack back to the trail, trying to decide whether to turn right or left at the bike path as signage was non-existent during the early stages of construction. We eventually made, it, but what a start to a trip.

andrewb
03-20-2009, 12:08 AM
The effort to have the guardrail barrier installed was spearheaded by a Littleton area attorney who strongly felt the Parkway, as originally built with no center barrier, was a major hazard, especially in winter when the Notch becomes a treacherous place due to the frequent ice and snow storms.

Perhaps I am missing something here, but isn't the part of the parkway with the guardrail in the middle basically no different from any other 2-lane road with a speed limit of 45 ... except for the ugly guard rail down the middle? I know it's too late now, but I would be against the guard if it was proposed now because if you install one there, why not along all the other tens of thousands of miles of roads all across america that might be icy? Why not rt 16 thru Pinkham and all of 112 for starters?

We always seem to do such a great job of removing the outdoors from being outside, but within the boundary of our state parks and forests, there should not be a super highway. Lower the speed limit to 30 instead of putting in guard rails if it's truly a dangerous place. Thats my $0.02

Hillwalker
03-20-2009, 07:53 AM
One of the reasons the guardrail separator is there is to prevent u-turns and other direction changes by drivers traversing the notch. It also probably inhibits stopping to gawk other than at designated pull offs. When the thousands of old flexible white posts were there they showed evidence of lots of swiping by cars whose drivers were looking up rather than at the roadway. That tendency to gawk and wander over the road probably contributed to the head on collisions that took place before the ugly guard rails were installed. Possibly nicely painted "Jersey barriers might be more aesthetic than the rails.

RoySwkr
03-20-2009, 09:37 AM
isn't the part of the parkway with the guardrail in the middle basically no different from any other 2-lane road with a speed limit of 45 ... except for the ugly guard rail down the middle? ... Why not rt 16 thru Pinkham and all of 112 for starters?

Another part of the issue is that with divided highways at both ends, people tend to forget they're on a 2-lane and pass without looking, etc. This has been a severe problem on various roads in the state many of which have since been 4-laned. There is a center rumble strip on Rte.9/202 by Henniker for instance.

Stan
03-20-2009, 10:41 AM
... isn't the part of the parkway with the guardrail in the middle basically no different from any other 2-lane road with a speed limit of 45 ...

It is quite different and unique for both its beauty, which can be quite distracting, and the microclimate that, combined with a high traffic count and preceded in both directions by an interstate high speed highway, present a hazard that is above normal. That barrier has likely saved many lives or much injury from head on collisions.

Regulating speed wouldn't matter ... you can't create common sense where it doesn't exist. On our month long road trip through the southwest we saw but one accident, at an intersection in Chatanooga, until the last day and 250miles in comparatively light snow. That day we saw 12 accidents including 2 jackknifed 18 wheelers, 2 overturned 18 wheelers, and 8 nincompoops stuck in the ditch or median, all too stupid to drive for the conditions.

With respect to mountain roads, if you want to see what a ridge drive would look like, travel on the Blue Ridge or Shenendoah Parkways. They are certainly beautiful but I'd rather see Franconia Ridge on foot as I expect everyone else on this site would.