Hooniverse Asks- What's Your Favorite Highway or Road-Related Nickname?

See that? It’s what we in LA call the Four Level, and it was one of the greatest engineering achievements in all of highwaydom, connecting the Pasadena Freeway with the Harbor and Hollywood Freeways. Here in the City of Angels we have a lot of nicknames for roads and road features, even preferring names to numbers when talking about the freeways.

Much like Laguna Seca’s storied Corkscrew many of our roads and highways have been anointed over the years with fitting appellations. There’s Sunset Boulevard’s Dead Man’s Curve, the West Side’s Miracle Mile, and a secret road bridging Pasadena and San Marino known to a select few as ‘Frankenstein’ for obvious reasons when revealed.

But not everybody is fortunate enough to reside in LA and experience both this metropolis’s many driving denominates and the horrific traffic that plies them. What then of your neighborhood, town, county or state? What road features in your neck of the woods have earned an honorific, and which of those is your favorite?


Image source: [patabel.com]

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  1. kvhnik Avatar

    While the first one that came to mind for me was the intersection of I-25 and I-70 Denver which is called The Mousetrap. But my favorite actually comes from my cycling activities where a small rise on the outskirts of Boulder went right past a mini golf/go kart track and was affectionately known the Col d' Fun 'n Stuff.

  2. chrystlubitshi Avatar

    dude-uncalled for but hilarious (okay.. completely called for… and it'll probably slide under the radar…. i'll click the button but i wouldn't put my thumb up.)

  3. P161911 Avatar

    Atlanta has Spaghetti Junction, the intersection of I-285 and I-85 and a couple of side street exits thrown in for good measure.
    <img src="http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dlovaas/media/SpaghettiJunctionGA.jpg"width=500&gt;
    In my neighborhood, there is also the Alpharetta Autobahn, GA 400. It gets that name for two reasons, the number of BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche on it and in off peak hours the average cruising speed is usually 80+ mph.

    1. James Avatar

      There is also a "Spaghetti Junction" in Louisville, KY where I-71 terminates/intersects with I-65 and I-64 – as well as some surface access ramps.
      <img src="http://i450.photobucket.com/albums/qq228/JamesISpalding/kennedy2.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
      The dastardly thing about Louisville's SJ, is that there are some potential connections that cannot be made – like from I-64 to I-71. If you're on either you can't get to the other. And God help you if you don't know your way around and have to get off on the surface streets to get headed back in the right direction. It's either downtown congested one-ways, or cutting through old neighborhoods and over hills and valleys to get back to the freeway.

  4. Maxichamp Avatar

    Orange County's Orange Crush!

  5. muthalovin Avatar

    There was a highway in western New Mexico and eastern Arizona called Highway 666. Back in the 70's (I think), they changed the name of the road. My still calls it Triple Six, and usually does a Memorial Day ride on bikes with his friend from Gallup every year. That is by far my favorite nickname for a road.

    1. Patrick Avatar

      Actually, I think it still had that designation until about 2006!. Gallup New Mexico was at the intersection of route 66 and route 666 at one time.

  6. vwminispeedster Avatar

    The Oakland Maze (that we call corn. Thank you former traffic reporter Larry "Bubbles" Brown on Live 105)

    1. Armand4 Avatar

      The Maze is a pain to navigate (at least for me, a country bumpkin from the northwestern part of the Bay Area) but it has an undeniably awesome name.

  7. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    Does "That goddamn I-70" count?

  8. Feds_II Avatar

    "The Basketweave" in Toronto.

  9. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    I always enjoyed the S-curve built into the freeway just north of Providence, RI.

    1. alex Avatar

      There is a story about the Pawtucket S curves. When they were laying out the highway originally, they wanted to make it straighter. But, depending on the route, one of two "Men's Clubs" (not strip joints, real clubs) would have to be sacrificed. The old line Yankees were members of one club, and French-Canadians members of the other. Each group had political hookups. The result was that the road was snaked around the two clubs creating the mess that is the Pawtucket S curves.

      1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
        Jeff Glucker

        Driving back to school one rainy day, I hit the curves a little too fast… the rear end of my Z31 started to step out, I was terrified by still in control, and managed to bring it around for the next half of the turn. It stepped out the other way but I held it and kept going… to anyone watching, it must have looked fucking awesome. Inside the car, I nearly ruined my pants.

        1. ChuckyShamrok Avatar

          Hitting those S-Turns in a E-350 is horrifying at the speed limit,

  10. STeve Avatar

    the magic roundabouts in swindon about 20min from where i live in the uk

    1. discontinuuity Avatar

      That thing scares me every time I look at it. I think I would just have to plow through it while laying on the horn, and hope for the best.

    2. highmileage_v1 Avatar

      Ah, the devils pentagram. I drove it in a (left drive) Crown Victoria. You could get lost in those circles for hours!

  11. chrystlubitshi Avatar

    anyone who has driven on Indianapolis' I-465– speed limit 50-55– knows that it's "the bigger Speedway".. as most traffic drives 80+ (indianapolis + giant ring of pavement= high speeds)

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      Oh jeez, ain't that the truth. Especially out by the airport where the construction barrels make for convenient movable chicanes.

      1. chrystlubitshi Avatar

        i drive 40 minutes each way (80 min round trip) 5 days a week from east to west side. i stay off of 465 as a rule. there is no exception. I-70 with its north/south merge/splits are preferable to the potentially faster "speedring" if sh*t has gone to hell on 70, i take streets.
        oh.. and yeah.I drive on airport property 5 days a week… mainly by the old terminal (high school road/N perimeter drive) to get to work… but yeah… that sh*t is easy compared to the ClusterFUCHs that are the interstate exchanges at the new terminal.

  12. Dave Avatar

    We used to call the LBJ Freeway in Dallas El Blow Job.

    1. JayP Avatar

      I drive it every day and it still sucks.

      1. texlenin Avatar

        Hell, if anything, it seems to have gotten worse. I used to drive it regularly in the early
        90's and it moved ok (with occasional lock-ups). Now it just seems like a free-for-all
        at any speed, and God help ya if you crash.

  13. Lo-Lo Avatar

    Two separate three-lane interstates on Chicago's west side, I-88 and I-290, merge together to form a single, beautiful, harmonious piece of infrastructure called "The Hillside Strangler". There's also that bit of hell on the north side where the Edens and the Kennedy combine to become 20 lanes of pure, stagnant, glory.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      The Strangler used to be worse, now you can go around it to the right going to the city and then merge back in later. It's still bad though.

  14. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Kansas City has the Grandview Triangle. It's a great name because 1) It's not a triangle. 2) It's not in Grandview. That last bit caused the Grandview Chamber of Commerce so much consternation they got it "officially" named the Three Trails Memorial Crossing, but everyone still refers to it as "the Triangle." One local morning radio jock thought that if they really wanted a more accurate name they should call it "the South Kansas City Cluster–––k." (To be fair, MODOT has made some massive improvements to it in the last 15 years, and traffic now flows through it pretty smoothly most of the time.)
    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/grandview-triangle.jpg"&gt;

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Around here there is the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway, which fails to connect Elgin with O'Hare.

    2. Thrashy Avatar

      The way it was explained to me was that the Triangle got its name by comparison with the Bermuda Triangle, i.e. cars went in, but they didn't come out. They finished improving it right about the time my family moved back to Kansas City, so I never experienced it in its original form; other than a few left exits it's pretty easily navigated these days. However, part of it did try to do its best California impression about a year ago:
      <img src="http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/34848_845156637329_16821006_45984915_6772455_n.jpg"&gt;

  15. scroggzilla Avatar

    I used to work in the Edison/Woodbridge NJ area, generally to the immediate north of where US Route 9, US Route 1, Route 440, I-287, the NJ Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway met. Good taste and common decency prevents me from sharing the various names I called that particulary patch of roads.

  16. P161911 Avatar

    You live in Attica, KS? http://maps.google.com/maps/place?ftid=0x87a56ecb

  17. SSurfer321 Avatar

    <img src="http://2wheeltuesday.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/dragon-at-deals-gap.jpg"&gt;
    IMG from 2wheeltuesday.com

    1. rocketrodeo Avatar

      That's the one. You have to be a relative old-timer to remember the Biker in the Bank. But I've been riding there since the mid-1980s, long before it was "discovered."
      Now it's spawning a number of imitators, with "The Wolf" (Wolfpen Rd., GA180, near Suches, GA), "The Snake" (US421 near Shady Valley, TN), "Hellbender" (NC80 in western NC), and now the "Back of the Dragon," VA16 in southwestern Virginia.
      What they all have in common is that reckless squids flock to the road, fling themselves off it, piss off the residents, and then the enforcement gets heavy and the speed limits drop. I am not at all in favor of publicizing my favorite roads. My all-time favorite is the Road That Shall Not Be Named.

      1. JayP Avatar

        421 is close to my old homestead… Pick any long road at random in the hills and it'll give a thrill.
        I accidentally discovered Buchanan Hwy / VA16 between Tazewell and Marion VA by Hungry Mother. 30 miles of ribbon. Google has streetview for it… but it really doesn't show how winding it is though.

    2. P161911 Avatar

      I MUST drive that before I sell my Z3. It is less than 2 hours away.

  18. B72 Avatar

    In Massachusetts there is a road that runs between the towns of Athol and Belchertown. Residents with a juvenile sense of humor call it the intestinal tract.

    1. topdeadcentre Avatar

      <img src="http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/small/27968244.jpg&quot; alt="Entering Athol" title="Entering Athol" >
      "Entering Marion" by John Forster (also available on YouTubes)
      Every year I drive out to Cape Cod for the last part of June
      Leave the city by 10, then you're there in the late afternoon
      On the way, there's a village called Marion that you pass through
      The first time I approached it,
      I'll always remember the sign that came into view
      It said: "Entering Marion"
      And I thought, "What a fun little sign!"
      But the feeling of entering Marion had a kick that was hard to define
      A rapturous rush, a physical flush, chills up and down the spine
      For the few minutes I was in Marion, all Massachusetts was mine
      Well, it got to be kind of an annual thing;
      The event that would start each vacation off with a bang!
      Then one year, who knows why, I decided to try a new route
      So I got out my map and I traced one I thought was a beaut
      After driving all morning I came to the top of a hill
      Where a sign stood before me that promised a new kind of thrill
      It said: "Entering Beverly"
      Which was lovely and not overbuilt
      And the pleasure of entering Beverly far outweighed any feelings of guilt
      I could say I'm contrite, but it wouldn't be right
      For the truth is that later that day,I found myself entering Sharon
      It was there, so was I, we enjoyed it; hey, what can I say?
      By the next year I'd try any route just for novelty's sake
      I was cursed with a thirst that no single township could slake
      Oh, at the wheel I looked calm, but inside I was running amok
      When a sign in the road dead ahead sent me straight into shock
      "Entering Lawrence"
      My God! I was out of control!
      And I'd no sooner finished with Lawrence,
      Then boom; I was entering Lowell
      Then I backtracked and reentered Lawrence
      Then Quincy and Norton as well
      Around midnight I pulled into Athol and flopped in a fleabag motel
      I slept fitfully in my clothing
      And awoke in a pool of sweat and self-loathing
      Lying there, feeling lower than carrion,
      A name came clear as a clarion
      I jumped in my car, and before very far
      I was entering Marion
      How totally, wonderfully great!
      How grand to be entering Marion after tramping all over the state
      Every sleazebucket 'burb, every tryst by the curb, had really just helped me to find
      I'm happiest entering Marion
      I guess I'm the Marion kind
      Oh yes, I'm the Marion kind

      1. joshuman Avatar

        There is an Athol, ID as well. I laugh every time I pass it. Every single time.

        1. ptschett Avatar

          SD has an Athol also, along 281 between Redfield and Aberdeen. We'd go past it on the way to Aberdeen for various events and puns like "you're an athol", "these darn athol drivers", etc. would inevitably ensue.

      2. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        Lawrence is a cesspool, but there's nothing wrong with Quincy or Dennis.
        I've made my share of Athol jokes, though, all of them accurate.

  19. topdeadcentre Avatar

    The "Double Donuts of Doom" in Cambridge, MA. These two rotaries are about 300 feet apart. There's a traffic-light controlled crosswalk halfway between the rotaries. What could possibly go wrong?
    Route 2 is Massachusetts' older east-west cross-state highway. Two lanes per side for most of the state, it's four lanes per side headed down into Cambridge, northwest of this section of map. US Route 3 is a north-south, passing through from NH on down to Boston's Southeast Expressway, but in around Boston it's a minor road. State Route 16 is a heavily travelled east-west city main street. They all come together for this part of the trip.
    This road totally locks up for two hours in the morning rush time, and two hours in the evening rush time. That is, if there aren't any accidents, snow, ice, or other stupidity (like a pair of red-tailed hawks that set up a nest on a building about 500 feet north of the left-hand rotary; bird watchers slowed traffic down for weeks when the chicks were hatching).
    <img src="http://tinyurl.com/5vtup2k&quot; />

  20. Jim-Bob Avatar

    Malfunction Junction in Tampa, Florida. It's the intersection of I-275 and I-4.

    1. chrystlubitshi Avatar

      malfunction junction what's your function… I recall an educational cartoon about this….

  21. LTDScott Avatar

    I had an online conversation with Jonny Lieberman about this not so long ago. In L.A., many people refer to the freeways by their nicknames rather than their numerical designations. Yet in San Diego, only 100 miles south, it's hardly every used. Most of the freeways here do have names – I-5 is the Montgomery Freeway, I-805 is the Dekema Freeway, I-15 is the Avocado Freeway, etc., but I bet I'm one of only a handful of people who know or care.

  22. buzzboy7 Avatar

    We only have "The Stretch". It's boring and….well yeah that's about it. Not too unsafe, pretty boring and you have to drive on it to come onto and to leave the island.
    <img src="http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/733/screenshotlq.png"&gt;

    1. pj134 Avatar

      You live on the Outer Banks?
      That must be fun.

    2. BGW Avatar

      I'll be in your 'hood in about 72 hours. Love the road. Hate many of those on it this time of year.

  23. hwyengr Avatar

    I've always been quite fond of CA-18's nickname, Rim of the World Drive.

  24. dukeisduke Avatar

    Don't forget the Zang curve on South R.L. Thornton (I-35E). The original "Turnpike" is I-30 between Dallas and Fort Worth (also called the Tom Landry Highway), and was opened in 1957 as the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike, a toll road. The road was paid for in 1977, the tollbooths were then removed, and it became a freeway. Some vestiges still remain, like the looping ramps as Loop 12 in Dallas, and SH360 in Arlington, by Six Flags Over Texas. The freeway has recently gone through a rebuilding and widening project, also adding carpool lanes. Here's a photo of one of the tollbooths being removed (they were for years stored in a holding area visible from the freeway):
    <img src="IMAGE%20URL" width="600">
    <img src="http://texasfreeway.com/Dallas/historic/photos/images/tp_toll_booth_removal_1978.jpg"&gt;

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      BTW, I first got my drivers license in 1977, so I got to make a few trips on the old Turnpike before the booths came down. It cost a whopping 30 cents to go the whole length from Dallas to Fort Worth.

    2. OA5599 Avatar

      Arlington also has the Nolan Ryan Expressway, which isn't really an expressway. Brazoria county has a section of highway 288 that is officially designated as the Nolan Ryan Expressway, though.

      1. texlenin Avatar

        Sherman has the Buck Owens Parkway! And they used to have what locals called
        "the Invisible Bridge" in a development east of town. The road crossed a creek, and the
        culvert doubled as the drive. Very steep.

  25. joshuman Avatar

    We have the Mercer Mess, and the S-curves, but my favorite nicknamed stretches of roadway in the Seattle area are simply the floating bridges. There are less than 20 permanent floating bridges in the world and we have three spans. They float on the water (unless parts of them sink, which is uncommon but has happened). The image below is of the smallest span (520) and is typical of fall storms. The south side gets a lot of waves while the north side is flat calm. I used to commute over it but not any more.
    <img src="http://www.allamericanpatriots.com/files/images/2008-04-wind-sr-520-floating-bridge.jpg"&gt;

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Those waves are decidedly fetching.

    2. jeremy![™] Avatar

      if that was what i saw on my way to work, i would be looking for alternate employment.

  26. PFG Avatar

    Because somebody has to be that guy: Deadman's is on Mulholland Drive, and not Sunset as Jan and Dean would have you believe. Deadman's is part of the old "Mulholland Raceway," which actually would be my answer to today's "Hooniverse Asks."

  27. Z71 Avatar

    The "Goat Trail". Route 6 / 202 in New York between the Bear Mtn. bridge and Peekskill. It's pretty terrifying during rush hour with its blind curves and giant trucks going 40 around them. It's on the edge of a cliff about 200-400 feet above the Hudson river. I thought it was a nickname my dad had come up with, but about a year ago, I saw an electric road work sign that said "Goat Trail closed tomorrow for construction 7-10am". It didn't even say the actual route name for the road, which probably confused out of towners. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&am

  28. ruckus racing Avatar
    ruckus racing

    the simple clover leaf…and F the Jersey Turnpike, the whole damn thing!!

  29. CptSevere Avatar

    After Salt Lake city was awarded the Winter Olympics, the aging freeways were torn up and rebuilt, all at once. It was a real mess. At one point, I-15 was down to two narrow lanes going each direction, with Jersey barriers on each side, like a foot away from your side mirror. It was a real adventure, running alongside a double bottom semi wagging its tail. At this point, the freeway was know as the Luge Run. After the construction, the freeway turned out to be worth the wait. They did a good job, especially where I-80, I-15, 21st South and State Street intersect, known as the Spaghetti Bowl.

  30. pj134 Avatar

    Well… I've got Hershey Park Drive, Hershey Road and Chocolate Ave, but sadly no Hershey Highway…
    (the link is google maps.)

  31. Maymar Avatar

    The Don Valley Parkway makes for a pretty great drive when it's not clogged up. It happens every now and then, I swear!

    1. Feds_II Avatar

      Back in the day Mrs. Feds_II (back when she was just my room mate) used to commute across the Gardiner and up the DVP (Oakville to Scarborough) in my 323. She kept complaining that the car would "skip" sideways on the downhill ramp from Gardiner to DVP.
      One day I was in the car with her, and to try and prove her wrong, I took the posted 60 ramp at 90. Lo and behold, no skipping… I turned to her, said something about her gender and her driving, to which she responded: "Of course it doesn't skip if you take it that slow!"

  32. guest Avatar

    how about the damn (dan) ryan in chicago?

  33. Hopman Avatar

    There's a strech of I-84 in Oregon known to truckers as Cabbage Patch. It's scary as heck the first time you drive it, but fun.
    It's about a dozen switchbacks. It'd be fun with something with less momentum than a 40=-ton semi!

  34. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    I-630, running east-west through the heart of Little Rock, Arkansas, is officially named the Wilbur D. Mills Expressway, after the late congressman from Arkansas. However, many Arkansans, especially those over a certain age, like to refer to it as the "Fanne Foxe Strip." If that doesn't ring a bell, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/longte… for your history lesson. Yep, congressmen were quite able to disgrace themselves spectacularly long before there was Twitter.

  35. MattC Avatar

    I295N Delaware into Pa = "the Delaware Autobahn"
    I95S into 495 = DC/NoVa mixing bowl

  36. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    K-10 between Lawrence and Lenexa, Kansas… the Kansas Autobahn. More or less unpatrolled and everyone starts at +10 on the speedlimit.

  37. Feds_II Avatar

    Didn't strike me until now, but Hamilton has The Linc, an east-west expressway across the whole city. Named for Lincoln Alexander, a local semi-famous dude.
    We also have The Jolley Cut, which, while being fun to drive, is named after long-dead businessman James Jolley.

  38. Paul E Avatar
    Paul E

    Battle Creek, MI's I-194 is locally known as "The Penetrator"… which isn't far off I-69, and is also just a few miles from the hamlet of Climax, MI.

  39. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

    Big Beaver is actually sort of an "Official" nickname, it's really 15 mile Rd. 8 Mile is known as Baseline Drive.

  40. Lotte Avatar

    One more for Toronto! "The Longest Street in the World": Yonge Street.
    From here (behind is a lake):
    <img src="http://bowjamesbow.ca/images/yonge02-01.jpg&quot; width="300/">
    to here
    <img src="http://www.boldts.net/photos/end-of-yonge-street.jpeg&quot; width="300/">
    56 Kilometers.
    I remember flipping through an atlas when I was young and following it all the way up. I remember it cocked slightly to the left and ended in a marsh. I never questioned the actual length (hell, I didn't question it right up until now when I was finding more background info on it…) but I remember a lot of page-flipping. It's actually a misnomer; it's long at 56km, but not world-record long; it is merely part of the 1896km-long "Highway 10". I don't completely understand it, but from what I've just read it was broken up into sections due to municipal control over the road. At any rate, I want to drive it bottom to top, all 56km of it like I did with my finger way back when.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Strictly speaking, the actual end of Yonge St is even further south – that section is about 100m west of the section that ends at Queensville Sideroad (and getting really pedantic, it probably ends just north of Newmarket, as the section that runs through Holland Landing requires a turn where Yonge turns into Bridge or whatever).
      I know I've driven all 56k of Yonge Street, although I don't believe I've ever done it in one run.

  41. Patrick Avatar

    I guess I should learn never to bother posting anything to this site because it always ALWAYS disappears. The responses to my post are there, but my harmless post, about road names in Dallas and Portland, has vanished. This is the fifth or sixth time that has happened when I post on this site.

    1. dead_elvis Avatar

      That happens all the time, even to the best of us. Reply to your own comment – just a simple "abracadabra!" will do it. You can even go back & delete your response post if you feel like it – your original post will remain visible.
      Don't take it personally – you're not being censored, it's just a glitch in the Hooniverse architecture.

  42. Rich C. Avatar
    Rich C.

    My favorite has got to be the “Mixing Bowl”. It even has it’s own Wikipedia mention:
    The Springfield Interchange, also known as the Mixing Bowl, is the interchange of Interstate 95, Interstate 395, and Interstate 495 in Springfield, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C. The interchange is located at exit 57 on the Capital Beltway and exit 170 on I-95.
    This interchange is nicknamed the “Mixing Bowl” because, prior to the reconstruction, local and long distance travelers shared the same lanes and travelers had to merge to the right or left to reach the correct lanes for their destination. The last of this weaving and merging was eliminated on April 21, 2007. The interchange is one of the busiest highway junctions in the U.S., serving about 430,000 cars per day.

  43. taufkleid baby Avatar

    Wow, superb weblog format! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you made running a blog look easy. The full glance of your website is fantastic, let alone the content material!

  44. sporty88au Avatar

    On the Great North Road, north of Sydney, Australia, a road that is popular with motorcyclists, is a location known as 'Lemming Corner'. On the outside of the corner is a steep drop off to a creek below. Looking over the Armco railing on the outside of the corner, it is common to find various motorcycle parts at the bottom of the hill.