Why Is This Stretch Of Highway Near Prospect Mountain So Infuriating?
When I say "Kamikaze Curve" or "Prospect Mountain", what comes to your mind? One of the things that come to my mind is the two ponds that are in (what I call) the "Kamikaze Triangle."
The only real way to see these two ponds is when you travel 81 South and get on 17 W at the split. You could get a glimpse if you stay on 81 South at the curve but you are better off letting your passenger get a gander.
This leads me to another split at Kamikaze Curve that has me wondering. It's at the Brandywine on-ramp (NY-7) at 81 heading north. If you are getting on the highway at the Brandywine, you better be paying attention or you'll be heading in the wrong direction.
Brandywine Highway On-Ramp
As you get on the highway, you would naturally assume the left lane will take you on to Route 17W and the right lane will be going on I-81N heading toward I-88 -- as Route 17W takes you off the to left of Prospect Mountain, and I-81N takes you to the right of it... YOU WOULD BE WRONG!
When the Prospect Mountain Construction Project got underway in 1912...I mean 2012, there was a flyover bridge built going on 17 East and a westbound flyover bridge by the I-81N and Route 17W split.
The reason for the flyover bridges was to eliminate the challenges of traffic merging in the area. When they were building the westbound flyover bridge, they closed the on-ramp at the Brandywine Highway for a few years before reopening it.
I figured when they reopened that location, the merging traffic problem would be fixed also. Instead, we get to have a couple of anxiety-filled moments as we negotiate through the area as we head to our destination.
Almost once a week, I'll see someone suddenly swerve into the other lane because they realized at the last moment, that they weren't headed to Syracuse but towards Johnson City.
I travel that road almost every day and I've taken the wrong direction more than once. One time I was driving on auto-pilot because I was talking my daughter, Tara, and one of her best friends that had never ridden in a convertible before.
We wanted to head to the Sterling Renaissance Festival (on the other side of Syracuse) and the next thing I know, I'm driving by the Mygatt Street exit. WHOOPS! We needed to make time and the only time I was made was "wasting time."
The Orange Cones At The 81N/17W Split
The biggest thing that I have for that area is "What happened to the plastic circular orange cones that would "prevent" you from crossing at the split from I-81N over to Route 17 When it was first opened up, the cones would discourage you from making that sharp left to try and get on Route17W.
After a while, I noticed that they were gone and I thought about trying an experiment to see how easy I could cross over to Route 17W. I was informed (by my passenger) that trying that in the car on the highway at the split would be the absolute worst time to experiment...and they were right. So what happened to the cones?
It looks like that pattern is here to stay, so I might as well get used to it. Although I have to admit, that if I was in engineering school and I submitted that as a blueprint, I think I would fail the class.