Randomness (r_ness) wrote,

I-84 in Western Connecticut is really impressive, in its way.

You can really engage more directly with a highway when there's no one else on it. So it is with I-84 between the Connecticut-New York border and the I-384 split east of Hartford.

I always knew it was a piece of work as freeways go, but driving on it at 3AM on a Sunday night really allowed me to concentrate on the parts of it which are bad because of design, not traffic. Usually, the thing has enough traffic on it that your attention is diverted from the inherent lousiness of the layout. This time there was hardly any other traffic on the road, so I got to interact with it without distractions.

Twisty curves, ups and downs, left-hand exits and entrances, lanes appearing and disappearing from both sides: really, this bit of I-84 has it all. Not so bad compared to many urban interstates, particularly within big cities like New York and Boston, but pretty impressive for one which can only claim to go through Hartford and Danbury.*

I think it really struck me because of the contrast with the highways I'd been driving on farther south. From North Carolina to New Jersey, as long as you're not actually driving on an urban freeway, you're by and large spared this kind of chaos.

It's actually kind of fun to drive on when no one's on it and you can just marvel at the complexity of the route. You'd never build an interstate like this today; it's really a relic of an earlier time. Many of its exits and entrances were built for a freeway system that was never completed.

I'm told truckers hate I-84, though they're pretty much forced to use it through Connecticut as the alternative is the usually-congested I-95 along the coast. I can see why. I can zip along in my crossover with the curves and hills simply providing a bit of spice. Not so for a fully-laden rig.

When it's full of traffic it just becomes another clogged interstate, where most of your attention is on all the other drivers. But when it's empty you can appreciate its particular challenges.

All this and road work, too!

ETA: *And Waterbury! How could I have forgotten...oh, never mind.
Tags: travel
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