Interstate 79 or I -79 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of West Virginia. The highway forms a north-south route through the center of the state, from the state capital Charleston on Interstate 77 to the Pennsylvania border at Morgantown. The route is 258 kilometers long.
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I-79 at Flatwoods.
I-79 at Morgantown.
A few miles north of the capital, Charleston, I-79 begins its route north, initially east. The highway begins at an interchange with Interstate 77, which runs from Charlotte toward Cleveland. Like almost all highway routes in the state, I-79 also passes through sparsely populated and highly hilly areas. There are relatively few turns or places on the route. The hills are not high, but they are steep and close together. The road sometimes winds a lot. The route is quite lonely. After about 90 kilometers, US 19 merges into a fairly important multi-lane road from Beckley, intended for through traffic from I-77 to avoid the detour north through Charleston.
US 19 then parallels I-79. At Weston, it intersects with US 33, which runs to the isolated east of the state. Only after about 190 kilometers do you reach a slightly larger town, Clarksburg, where you cross US 50, a major east-west route to Parkersburg in the west. The highway usually runs between 300 and 350 meters altitude. One then reaches the town of Morgantown, where Interstate 68 turns east toward Cumberland and Baltimore. It is also the fastest, but certainly not shortest, connection between Washington and Charleston. Shortly after, they cross the border into Pennsylvania. Interstate 79 in Pennsylvania then continues towards Pittsburgh.
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I-79 at Pleasant Valley.
Before I-79 was built, US 19 was the primary north-south route in this part of West Virginia. However, US 19 did not go through Charleston, but eastwards through Beckley. US 119 was the thoroughfare on the western part of the route of the later I-79.
Interstate 79 was not one of the original Interstate Highways of 1956, but was developed shortly afterwards in Pennsylvania as a branch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, numbered I-79 from 1958. The stretch from Charleston, West Virginia to Washington, Pennsylvania was completed in 1961 officially approved and added to the planned network of Interstate Highways.
The highway was mainly opened during the 1970s. the first section opened in 1967 north of Clarksburg, and an extension opened in 1968, providing a 20-mile ride. The remainder of the route was opened between 1970 and 1979, with the road laid out more or less from north to south, the last section opening to traffic in 1979 immediately north of I-77 at Charleston.
|Exit 125||Exit 132||12 km||21-12-1967|
|Exit 132||Exit 137||8 km||00-07-1968|
|Exit 137||Exit 146||14 km||15-10-1970|
|Exit 51||exit 62||18 km||22-12-1971|
|Exit 105||Exit 115||16 km||22-12-1971|
|Exit 146||Exit 148 (I-68)||3 km||29-06-1973|
|Exit 148||Exit 155||12 km||30-08-1973|
|Exit 99||Exit 105||10 km||19-09-1973|
|Exit 67||Exit 91||39 km||28-11-1973|
|Exit 115||Exit 117||3 km||28-11-1973|
|exit 46||Exit 51||8 km||01-02-1974|
|Exit 155||Exit 161||10 km||01-02-1974|
|Exit 117||Exit 125||13 km||16-10-1974|
|Exit 25||exit 46||34 km||2x-11-1974|
|Exit 19||Exit 25||10 km||13-11-1975|
|Exit 9||Exit 19||16 km||18-11-1977|
|exit 0||Exit 9||14 km||00-00-1979|
At the start at Charleston there are 34,900 vehicles, dropping to 11,400 vehicles northwards. After the connection with US 19, this rises to 22,800 vehicles, with 50,200 vehicles running at Clarksburg. At Morgantown, 36,900 vehicles and 24,900 vehicles cross the Pennsylvania border daily.
Interstate 81 in West Virginia
Interstate 81 or I -81 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of West Virginia. The highway runs through the far east of the state, through the so-called “West Virginia Panhandle”. The only place of interest on the route is Martinsburg. The highway is 42 kilometers long.
I-81 in West Virginia.
At the hamlet of Ridgeway, Interstate 81 in Virginia enters the state of West Virginia from Roanoke. You pass through a fairly flat area, with mainly meadows. To the west lie the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. One soon reaches Martinsburg, one of the larger towns in this relatively eccentric part of West Virginia. The area is therefore more focused on Maryland and Virginia than the rest of West Virginia, which can only be reached via mountain roads. At Marlowe, I-81 crosses the Potomac River, also the border with Maryland, via a 370-meter bridge. Interstate 81 in Maryland continues to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.
I-81 replaces US 11 in West Virginia. Construction began in 1959, and in 1963 the first 10 miles north of the Virginia border opened. The route was completed in 1966, the first Interstate Highway in West Virginia to be completed, but the route was short. I-81 is of little importance to the state of West Virginia, it does not connect to other Interstate Highways in the state, nor does it provide access to other major cities, except for the Martinsburg bypass. The highway is primarily used for transit traffic from Virginia to Pennsylvania.
Until September 2013, I-81 was widened to 2×3 lanes from Martinsburg to Marlowe, just before the Maryland border. This ties in with the existing 2×3 around Martinsburg. In February 2021, 2×3 lanes were completed from US 11 at Marlowe to the Maryland border.
The I-81 is the only fast route here, and therefore handles quite a bit of traffic, about 55,000 vehicles per day.