Virginia Roads - VA 161

A long SB run of Richmond-style signage from the James River down to the end of the route on Commerce Rd. at I-95 Exit 69.

VA 161 NB, Bells Rd WB.

Forest Hill Ave. WB and Westover Hills Blvd. NB at the intersection of the eponymous neighborhoods.

Which is prettier, the sunrise along the James River or the railroad viaduct to the west, lit by the rising sun?

The Boulevard Bridge, crossed by none other than Boulevard, VA 161 SB about to get the views I just showed you. It's oddly tolled (which led to its nickname, "Nickel Bridge," for its original cost), even though it's just a residential two-lane and all of the major crossings to the east are now free (I-95 once having been the Richmond-Petersburg Tpk.). Yes, the nearest crossing is also tolled (Powhite Pkwy., VA 76), but there's very little realistic demand that would try to shunpike this way. On the other hand, there's very little realistic demand to use VA 161 at all, leaving it to locals on either side and curious visitors like me.

Looking south at the Carillon Tower, a 240-foot tall monument to World War I in a neighborhood named for and built around it. The tower houses 53 bells.

VA 161 takes a few turns to get around Byrd Park (Carillon Tower's home).

Doing the same in the opposite direction. The Richmond Metropolitan Authority is unique in making its own name much bigger than that of the road it's trying to trailblaze you to. In fact, that's not even the right name - it's Downtown Expressway, not Richmond Expwy.

EB and WB Richmond-style signs on VA 147.

Both SB, and no typo - left turns are prohibited onto W. Cary St., so traffic has to turn right at W. Main St. and U-turn via Sheppard St.

Meanwhile, between those photos at Grove Ave. is a rarity - an old building that has always served as a synagogue, Tikvat Israel. It's a sign that Richmond has long been home to a thriving Jewish community - in fact, the Hebrew Confederate Cemetery claims to be the only Jewish military cemetery outside of Israel, due to the CSA refusing to bury Jews next to Christians. (Really, you'd still fight for an army that didn't want you? Not that the Union was any more tolerant.)

The good side of Stonewall Jackson, or at least the Union wanted to see more of this side of him and less of the gun side. It's at the appropriately named Monument Ave. in downtown Richmond. That street has a number of other monuments and historic buildings, something I wish I knew when I was there. The best view is just to the right of the statue, though: the cutout shield atop this page.

The second, southbound side of Stonewall.

Continuing north from there. This proves that black-background one-piece signs are nothing new in these parts.

Sometime between 2009 and 2013, those jokers in Richmond replaced the classic old shields with this error. US 33 does sorta become VA 33, but not while it's along US 250. That only happens around Hancock St. where 33 jogs north.

Actually, they are something quite old when heading SB. The NB sign was for a direct left, but this one points to Robin Hood Rd. for the corresponding interchange ramp to the east.

So of course, here's an old, if not as old, black unisign on Robin Hood Rd. EB.

VA 161 SB leaves Hermitage Rd. at Westwood Ave. and bears right onto Boulevard, just before getting to I-64/95.

Continuing north, nothing you wouldn't expect. But who is that silhouetto of a man in the middle of VA 197? Find out when I head SB:

Scaramouche, scaramouche, A.P. Hill does the fandango! Ambrose Powell Hill was a US and Confederate Army officer, killed in the Third Battle of Petersburg. The James River may be the dividing line between Northern and Southern Virginia, but the entire state is decidedly below the Macie-Dixie.

SB from the beginning of the route, which also crosses I-95 north of its I-64 junction for a total of three meetings.

Onto I-95
Onto US 1/301
Onto VA 10
Onto US 60
To (Downtown) Richmond Expwy. (VA 195)
Onto VA 6
Onto Monument Avenue
Onto US 33
Onto US 250
Onto I-64
Onto VA 197
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