Interstate 79

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Interstate 79 marker

Interstate 79
Route information
Length: 343.24 mi[1] (552.39 km)
Major junctions
South end: I‑77 in Charleston, WV
  I‑68 near Morgantown, WV
I-70 near Washington, PA
I-76 / Penna. Tpk. near Pittsburgh, PA
I-80 near Mercer, PA
I-90 near Erie, PA
North end: PA 5 / PA 290 east in Erie, PA
Highway system

Interstate 79 (abbreviated I-79) is an Interstate Highway in the eastern United States, designated from Interstate 77 in Charleston, West Virginia to Pennsylvania Route 5 and Pennsylvania Route 290 in Erie, Pennsylvania. It is a primary thoroughfare through western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as an important corridor to Buffalo, New York, and the Canadian border.

In West Virginia, Interstate 79 is known as the Jennings Randolph Expressway. In the three most northern counties it is signed as part of the High Tech Corridor. For most of its Pennsylvania stretch, it is known as the Raymond P. Shafer Highway.

Route description[edit]

Neville Island Bridge in PA carrying I-79
Lengths
  mi[1] km
WV 160.52 258.49
PA 182.72 294.24
Total 343.24 552.39

Except at its northern end, I-79 is located on the Allegheny Plateau. Despite the somewhat rugged terrain, the road is relatively flat. Most of the highway is at an elevation of about 1000 to 1200 feet (300 to 360 m) above sea level, with some lower areas near both ends and higher areas near Sutton, West Virginia. In the hillier areas, this flatness is achieved by curving around hills, along ridges, and in or partway up river valleys.[2] From Sutton, West Virginia north, Interstate 79 generally parallels the path of U.S. Route 19.

West Virginia[edit]

I-79 terminates in Charleston, WV, shown in map.

I-79 begins at a three-way directional Y interchange with Interstate 77 along the northwest bank of the Elk River just northeast of Charleston. For its first 67 miles (108 km), to a point just south of Flatwoods, I-79 is located in the watershed of the Elk River, which drains into the Kanawha River. It crosses the Elk River twice — at Frametown and Sutton - and never strays more than about 15 to 20 miles (25 to 30 km) from it.[2][3]

Pennsylvania[edit]

Exit signs for US 20, PA 5, PA 290 and the terminus for I-79 in Erie, PA.

I-79 enters Pennsylvania after leaving West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. South of Washington, PA, I-79 traverses the mostly rural Greene County area.

Between mile markers 34 and 38, I-79 is multiplexed with I-70 in the Washington, PA area before heading north towards Pittsburgh.

The freeway into Pittsburgh requires drivers to use I-376 while I-79 completely bypasses the city. Beyond the Pittsburgh area, I-79 traverses more rural areas in Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford, and Erie counties before arriving at its termination point in Erie.

The ghost ramps around the 100 mile marker near Moraine State Park.

Around the 100 mile marker on the northbound side are two ghost ramps that were specifically built for the Boy Scouts of America in order to have access to Moraine State Park without having to get on U.S. Route 422 for the 1973 and 1977 National Scout Jamborees, which were held at Moraine. The ramps were permanently closed after the 1977 event, but remain in place as of 2013.[4][5]

History[edit]

The Pennsylvania State Legislature authorized the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to build two extensions in the 1950s. The Northwestern Extension, authorized in 1953, was to stretch from the main Pennsylvania Turnpike north to Erie, and would have included a lateral connection between Ohio and New York (later built as Interstate 90).[6] The Southwestern Extension, authorized in 1955, was to run south from the main line near Pittsburgh to West Virginia, connecting there with an extension of the West Virginia Turnpike.[7] Except for the section between Washington and the Pittsburgh area, which was included as part of Interstate 70,[8] the first portion of I-79 to be added to the plans was north from Pittsburgh to Erie, along the U.S. Route 19 corridor.

In September 1955, two short urban portions were designated:[9]

  • I-179: A spur from I-90 north to Erie, currently absorbed into I-79[10]
  • I-279: A western bypass of Pittsburgh, connecting I-70 with I-80S; it and I-79 later swapped designations

The number 79 was assigned in 1958,[11] and an extension south along I-70 to Washington and beyond to Charleston was approved on October 18, 1961.[12] This extension also paralleled US 19 to near Sutton, where it turned westerly to reach Charleston. (The part of US 19 from Sutton south to Interstate 77 at Beckley, WV has since been four-laned as Corridor L of the Appalachian Development Highway System.)

On December 21, 1967, the first piece of I-79 in West Virginia, between Exits 125 (Saltwell Road) and 132 (South Fairmont), opened to traffic.[13] This five-mile (8 km) section bypassed part of WV 73 between Bridgeport and Fairmont. Another five miles (8 km) opened in July 1968, extending the highway on a bypass of downtown Fairmont to Exit 137 (East Park Avenue).[14] It was further extended 9.5 miles (15 km) towards Morgantown on October 15, 1970, bypassing more of WV 73 to Exit 146 (Goshen Road) south of that city.[15][16][17]

On June 29, 1970 the swap of I-79 and I-279 was approved. At the same time, I-76 was extended west from downtown Pittsburgh over former I-79 to the new location of I-79 west of Pittsburgh, so I-279 only ran north from downtown Pittsburgh. On December 3, 1971, I-76 was rerouted to bypass Pittsburgh, and I-279 was extended to I-79 utilizing the former section of I-76.[18]

On June 29, 1973, I-79 was extended from West Virginia Exit 146 to Exit 148 (I-68), where at one point, traffic was forced onto the newly opened west end of Corridor E (now I-68) to Exit 1.[19] A further extension of six miles (10 km), including the Uffington Bridge over the Monongahela River southwest of Morgantown, was opened on August 30, 1973, leading north to Exit 155 (Star City).[20][21] This completed I-79 from north of Bridgeport to north of Morgantown.

To the south of Bridgeport, the first two sections were both opened on December 22, 1971. One of these ran ten miles (16 km) from Exit 51 (Frametown) to Exit 62 (Sutton), and the other from Exit 105 (Jane Lew) to Exit 115 (Nutter Fort).[22][23][24][25] On September 19, 1973, another 7.5-mile (12.1 km) stretch was opened, from Exit 105 (Jane Lew) south to Exit 99 (Weston).[26]

In 1973, significant portions of the interstate were completed.[17] Interstate 79 opened from Exit 62 to Exit 99. Another 23.9 miles (38.5 km), from Exit 67 (Flatwoods) north to Exit 91 (Roanoke), opened on November 28, 1973, along with the section from exit 115 north to exit 117 (Anmoore), completing the route between Frametown and Morgantown except in the Bridgeport area.[27][28]

A 5.5-mile (8.9 km) extension from exit 51 south to exit 46 (Servia) opened on February 1, 1974,[29] and County Route 11 to WV 4 near Duck was widened to handle the increased load.[30] On the same day, two lanes opened from exit 155 (Osage) north to the state line.[citation needed]

On October 16, 1974, two pieces of I-79 were opened: the other two lanes[citation needed] of the 6.6 miles (10.6 km) from exit 155 to the state line, and 7.1 miles (11.4 km) between exits 117 (Anmoore) and 125 (north of Bridgeport). On the same day, the eastern end of Corridor D and the western end of Corridor E, both connecting to I-79 (at exits 119 and 148), were opened. This completed I-79 in West Virginia north of exit 46 (Servia);[31][32][33] it was extended south to exit 25 (Amma) in late November[34] and to U.S. Route 119 north of Clendenin (exit 19) on November 13, 1975.[35] It was opened from exit 19 to exit 9 (Elkview) on November 18, 1977,[36] and finally completed to Interstate 77 in 1979.[17]

Interstate 79 merges with Interstate 70 through Washington, Pennsylvania.

On July 25, 1975 I-79 was opened between exits 1 and 14 in Pennsylvania.[37] The last piece of I-79 between West Virginia and Erie — the Neville Island Bridge over the Ohio River - opened on September 3, 1976.[38]

(In June 2009, I-376 was extended west and north of downtown Pittsburgh, and I-279 was truncated back to the section only running from downtown Pittsburgh north to I-79.)


Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile[39] km Old exit[40] New exit Destinations Notes
Kanawha Charleston 0.000 0.000 I‑77 to I‑64 – Parkersburg, Charleston
1.845 2.969 1 US 119 – Mink Shoals
5.047 8.122 5 WV 114 – Big Chimney
Pinch 9.469 15.239 1 9 CR 43 (Frame Road) – Elkview
Clendenin 19.091 30.724 3 19 US 119 (CR 53) – Clendenin
Roane Amma 6 25 CR 29 – Amma
  11 34 WV 36 – Wallback, Clay
Clay   39.899 64.211 14 40 WV 16 – Big Otter
Braxton   20 46 CR 11 (Servia Road)
Frametown 51.569 82.992 25 51 WV 4 – Frametown
  57.607 92.709 31 57 US 19 south – Beckley, Summersville South end of US 19 overlap; access to New River Gorge
Sutton 61.465 98.918 36 62 WV 4 – Sutton, Gassaway
Flatwoods 41 67 US 19 north (WV 4) / WV 15 – Flatwoods North end of US 19 overlap; WV 15 ends at WV 4 south of the interchange; access to Sutton Lake
Burnsville 78.909 126.992 79 WV 5 – Burnsville, Glenville Access to Glenville State College and Burnsville Dam
Gilmer
No major junctions
Lewis   90.988 146.431 91 US 19 – Roanoke Access to Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park
Weston 96 CR 30 – Weston Access to Stonewall Jackson Lake and Jackson's Mill
98.608 158.694 99 US 33 / US 119 – Weston, Buckhannon Access to West Virginia Wesleyan College and Davis and Elkins College; future western terminus of US 48
Jane Lew 105 CR 7 – Jane Lew Access to Jackson's Mill
Harrison Lost Creek 110 WV 270 – Lost Creek
Stonewood 115.75 186.28 115 WV 20 – Stonewood, Nutter Fort Access to Alderson-Broaddus College
Clarksburg 117 WV 58 – Anmoore
119 US 50 (Corridor D) – Clarksburg, Bridgeport Access to Salem International University
121 CR 24 (Meadowbrook Road)
  124 WV 279 to US 50 east Access to Harrison/Marion Regional Airport, Tygart Lake State Park, and United Hospital Center
  125 WV 131 (Saltwell Road) – Shinnston
Marion Whitehall 132.086 212.572 132 US 250 – Fairmont, Whitehall
Fairmont 133 CR 641 (Kingmont Road)
135 CR 64 (Pleasant Valley Road)
136 WV 273 – Downtown Fairmont Exit fully opened on December 22, 2010.[41]
136.660 219.933 137 WV 310 (East Park Avenue) Access to Valley Falls State Park
139 CR 33 (Pricketts Creek Road) – East Fairmont Access to Prickett's Fort State Park
Monongalia   146 CR 77 (Goshen Road)
Morgantown 148.766 239.416 148 I‑68 east - Cumberland, MD Access to Mountaineer Field and Tygart Lake State Park
  152.502 245.428 152 US 19 – Westover, Morgantown Access to Granville
  154.836 249.184 155 WV 7 – West Virginia University Access to Star City, Osage, and Mountaineer Field
Mason–Dixon Line
0.0

0.0
West Virginia–Pennsylvania
state line
Greene Perry Township 1 1 Mount Morris
Whiteley Township 2 7 Kirby, Garards Fort
13.971 22.484 3 14 PA 21 – Waynesburg Access to Waynesburg University
Washington Township 19.4 31.2 4 19 US 19 / PA 221 – Ruff Creek, Jefferson
Washington West Bethlehem Township 23.4 37.7 5 23 Marianna, Prosperity
Amwell Township 30.6 49.2 6 30 US 19 – Amity, Lone Pine
32.9 52.9 7 33 US 40 – Laboratory
South Strabane Township 34.4 55.4 34 I-70 east – New Stanton South end of I-70 overlap
35.4 57.0 8 20 PA 136 (Beau Street) Access to Washington & Jefferson College
36.4 58.6 7 19 US 19 – Murtland Avenue Signed as exits 19A (south) and 19B (north)
37.9 61.0 38 I-70 west – Wheeling, WV North end of I-70 overlap
40.3 64.9 8A 40 Meadow Lands Northbound exit and southbound entrance
41.1 66.1 8 41 Race Track Road – Meadow Lands
Canonsburg 43.4 69.8 9 43 PA 519 – Eighty Four, Houston
45.5 73.2 10 45 To PA 980 – Canonsburg
North Strabane Township 48.2 77.6 10A 48 Southpointe, Hendersonville Access to California University of Pennsylvania's Southpointe Campus and to the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies
50.2 80.8 52 Toll PA 576 (Southern Beltway) Proposed; westbound entrances & eastbound exits are expected to open by 2019.[42]
Allegheny Bridgeville 54.6 87.9 11 54 PA 50 – Bridgeville
South Fayette Township 55.2 88.8 12 55 Heidelberg, Collier Formerly designated as "Heidelberg/Kirwan Heights"
Scott Township 57.4 92.4 13 57 Carnegie
Pennsbury Village 59.3 95.4 14 59 I-376 (US 22, US 30) – Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh International Airport Signed as exits 59A (east) and 59B (west)
Robinson Township 60.4 97.2 16 60 PA 60 – Crafton, Moon Run, Pittsburgh International Airport Signed as exit 60A northbound and exits 60A (south) and 60B (north) southbound
Coraopolis 64.1 103.2 17 64 PA 51 – Coraopolis, McKees Rocks No southbound exit
Ohio River Neville Island Bridge
Neville Township 64.8 104.3 18 65 To PA 51 – Neville Island
Ohio River Neville Island Bridge
Glenfield 66.5 107.0 19 66 PA 65 – Emsworth, Sewickley
Sewickley Hills 68.0 109.4 20 68 Mount Nebo Road
Franklin Park 72.1 116.0 21 72 I-279 south – Pittsburgh Southbound exit and northbound entrance
73.3 118.0 22 73 PA 910 east – Wexford
Marshall Township 75.7 121.8 23 75 To US 19 south – Warrendale Northbound exit and southbound entrance
75.9 122.1 25 76 US 19 north – Cranberry Northbound left exit and southbound entrance
Butler Cranberry Township 77.2 124.2 77 I-76 / Penna. Tpk. – Harrisburg, Youngstown OH
78.7 126.7 25 78 PA 228 – Seven Fields, Mars, Cranberry
Jackson Township 83.1 133.7 26 83 PA 528 – Evans City Northbound exit and southbound entrance
85.5 137.6 26 85 To PA 528 (US 19) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
87.3 140.5 27 87 PA 68 – Zelienople Northbound exit and southbound entrance
88.7 142.7 27 88 To US 19 to PA 68 – Zelienople Signed as Little Creek Rd. northbound; promoted as access to Seneca Valley School District.
Muddy Creek Township 95.8 154.2 28 96 PA 488 – Portersville, Prospect
Muddy Creek Township 99.6 160.3 29 99 US 422 – New Castle, Butler Access to Moraine State Park, McConnells Mill State Park, and Cooper's Lake Campground for the annual Pennsic War.
Worth Township 105.4 169.6 30 105 PA 108 – Slippery Rock Access to Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Lawrence
No major junctions
Mercer Springfield Township 113.7 183.0 31 113 PA 208 / PA 258 – Grove City Access to Grove City College and Westminster College
Findley Township 116.5 187.5 116 I-80 – Clarion, Sharon Signed as exits 116A (east) and 116B (west)
Jackson Township 121.1 194.9 33 121 US 62 – Mercer, Franklin
New Vernon Township 130.6 210.2 34 130 PA 358 – Greenville, Sandy Lake Access to Thiel College
Crawford Greenwood Township 141.5 227.7 35 141 PA 285 – Geneva, Cochranton
Crawford Township 147.4 237.2 36 147 US 6 / US 19 / US 322 – Meadville, Conneaut Lake Signed as exits 147A (north/east) and 147B (south/west); access to Conneaut Lake Park and Allegheny College
Hayfield Township 153.9 247.7 37 154 PA 198 – Conneautville, Saegertown
Erie Washington Township 166.5 268.0 38 166 US 6N – Albion, Edinboro Access to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
McKean Township 174.7 281.2 39 174 McKean
178.6 287.4 178 I-90 – Buffalo, Cleveland Signed as exits 178A (east) and 178B (west)
Millcreek Township 180.5 290.5 41 180 To US 19 – Kearsarge Access to Millcreek Mall
Erie 182.7 294.0 43 182 US 20 (26th Street) Access to Erie International Airport
183.6 295.5 44 183 PA 5 / PA 290 east (12th Street) / LECT Northbound exit and southbound entrance; signed as exits 183A (east) and 183B (west); access to Presque Isle State Park, Waldameer Park, and Gannon University
Bayfront Parkway
Lincoln Avenue
Roadway continues beyond Lincoln Avenue as Bayfront Parkway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Route Log and Finder List - Interstate System - table 1". Federal Highway Administration. 2002-10-31. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b United States Geological Survey topographic maps and aerial photos, accessed via Terraserver-USA
  3. ^ National Atlas of the United States, Hydrologic Units (Watersheds) GIS data
  4. ^ Ghost Ramps. Gribblenation.com (2005-06-05). Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
  5. ^ 40.972705,-80.132024 - Google Maps. Maps.google.com (1970-01-01). Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Turnpike Northwestern Extension Act, P.L. 706, No. 229, passed July 28, 1953
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Turnpike Southwestern Extension Act, P.L. 174, No. 52, passed June 14, 1955
  8. ^ Official Route Numbering for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, as adopted by the American Association of State Highway Officials, August 14, 1957
  9. ^ Bureau of Public Roads, General Location of National System of Interstate Highways, 1955: maps of Erie and Pittsburgh
  10. ^ 3-digit Interstates from I-79
  11. ^ Official Route Numbering for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, as adopted by the American Association of State Highway Officials, June 27, 1958
  12. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, Third Route Alters Interstate Picture, SRC Tells Mayors, October 20, 1961
  13. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, 5-Mile I-79 Link Will Open December 21, December 7, 1967
  14. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, 5 Miles of I-79 Opens in Marion, July 20, 1968
  15. ^ Charleston Gazette, Gov. Moore Will Open I-79 Segment, October 10, 1970
  16. ^ Charleston Gazette, Moore Opens I-79 Portion, Restates Vow, October 16, 1970
  17. ^ a b c Release Date Report. West Virginia Department of Transportation. August 2003.
  18. ^ Federal Highway Administration, Ask the Rambler: Was I-76 Numbered to Honor Philadelphia for Independence Day, 1776?
  19. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, 5 More Miles of I-79 Being Opened Today, June 29, 1973
  20. ^ Charleston Gazette, 6-Mile Stretch of I-79 Open, August 31, 1973
  21. ^ Charleston Gazette, September 5, 1973
  22. ^ Dominion News, Two I-79 Sections Opened, December 23, 1971
  23. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, 40 Miles More of I-79 Open, December 23, 1971
  24. ^ Charleston Gazette, I-79 Mileage Increased to 40, December 23, 1971
  25. ^ Dominion News, January 23, 1972
  26. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, I-79 Segment Opened by Governor Moore, September 20, 1973
  27. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, More of I-79 to Be Opened Tomorrow, November 27, 1973
  28. ^ Charleston Gazette, Open I-79 Increasing by 25.17 Miles, November 28, 1973
  29. ^ Charleston Gazette, Additional Interstates to Open, January 30, 1974
  30. ^ Charleston Gazette, Highway Project Bids to Be Opened, March 8, 1972
  31. ^ Charleston Gazette, Moore Will Open 22 New Miles, October 8, 1974
  32. ^ Charleston Gazette, 22 Miles of Roads Opened, October 17, 1974
  33. ^ Daily Courier, W. Va. to Open Over 22 Miles of Highways, October 10, 1974
  34. ^ Charleston Gazette, Holiday Travelers to Find I-79 Nonstop From Amma, November 28, 1974
  35. ^ Charleston Gazette, New I-79 Stretch Will Open Today, November 13, 1975
  36. ^ Charleston Daily Mail, November 18, 1977
  37. ^ Daily Courier, I-79 Opening Today in Greene County, July 25, 1975
  38. ^ Valley Independent, Interstate 79 opened to Erie, September 4, 1976
  39. ^ Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Planning Network GIS data version 2005.08
  40. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Mileage-Based Exit Numbering System, December 2000
  41. ^ Panuska, Mallory (December 22, 2010). "Gateway Connector opens today". Times West Virginian. Retrieved December 22, 2010. 
  42. ^ Construction on Southern Beltway set for spring Beaver County Times (01/14/2013)

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing

Browse numbered routes
WV 78 WV WV 80
PA 78 PA PA 79